You can’t say An Inconvenient Truth wasn’t a monumental film. It did exactly what it was supposed to do — it terrified vast numbers of people into favoring irrational behavior. It is correct to compare the Al Gore eco-alarmism film with the most notorious propaganda movies ever made.
But … somewhere along the line, as Al Gore stood chuckling offstage like the Joker, expecting to profit hugely through his greentech venture-capital investments as panic ruled public life, some kind of rationality inexplicably prevailed. As in The Dark Knight ferry scene, neither side blew up the other. By the time West Virginia’s new Senator-elect Joe Manchin made the formidable case that the only way to deal with cap-and-trade regulation was to shoot it (and this was a Democrat talking), calm had already carried the day. The United States, it is now firmly established, will deal with global warming in a non-hysterical way. The Joker is looking uncharacteristically glum these days.
The spokesman for the new approach is Bjorn Lomborg, a blond, bike-loving, affable Danish academic and author whose op-eds frequently appear in the Wall Street Journal and whose pleasingly chill vibe provides the mood and the title for the exciting new global warming documentary Cool It. So sensible are Lomborg’s ideas for cooling the planet without destroying our economic competitiveness that even the Los Angeles Times dubbed it “enlightening,brain-nourishing stuff.”
It simply is not possible to decarbonize Western economies anytime soon, and cap-and-tax plans would have such a ridiculously small effect on global climate patterns, at such massive cost, that Lomborg, in his charming way, treats them as the childish ideas they are. (In one especially memorable scene, British kids are interviewed about the prospects for the planet: seemingly all of them have been coached to believe that a flame-broiled apocalypse is imminent. Another comic interlude, featuring bubble-headed celebrities delivering climate-science verdicts from red carpets, captures actors telling us we should all switch our light bulbs because “every little bit helps.” No it doesn’t, replies Lomborg. Such actions are meaningless against the size of the climate issues.)