Review: Cool It

Posted: November 26, 2010 in Film Reviews
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In 2006, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth painted a frightening picture of the Earth’s future. The gist was if everyone does not make significant efforts to curb global warming, the planet is doomed. Cool It presents a slightly different outlook based on the findings of environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg.

Cool It is based upon the book of the same name and lectures by Lomborg, the controversial author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. Acclaimed award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner travels the world with Lomborg exploring the real facts and true science of global warming and its impact. Lomborg is the founder of the economic think tank Copenhagen Consensus, which brings together the world’s leading economists to prioritize major global problems – among them malaria, the lack of potable water and HIV/AIDS – based upon a cost/benefit analysis of available solutions. Amidst the strong and polarized opinions within the global warming debate, Cool It follows Lomborg on his mission to bring the smartest solutions to our energy needs, carbon emissions and other major problems in the world.

The film begins by presenting all the negative impressions Lomborg has made amongst other environmentalists and politicians. After finding his facts are solid, the strongest case to be made against Lomborg is a question of whether he’s made it more difficult to garner political and financial support for environmental initiatives. That, of course, is a matter of opinion.

After outlining Lomborg’s childhood and environmental involvement, the following statement fills the screen: “The world is not coming to an end.” Fear has ruled the climate debate for so long, this statement is more eye-opening than it probably should be. But in the Western world, where fears of disease and malnutrition are minimal, we have built anxiety around global warming. Lomborg makes repeated references to Gore and his film, applauding it for its success in bringing the global warming issue to the forefront on a mass scale. However, he also takes a moment to address four key, misinformed arguments Gore makes in his film: sea level rising, hurricanes, malaria and saving polar bears.

Lomborg makes some very logical suggestions for dealing with global warming – he’s not a denier; he just has alternative solutions. He speaks about doing what feels good versus what does good. The facts and statistics he presents are definitely surprising and will be new to a lot of people – but so are his solutions. His main argument is that we should try to fix the issues we can make the biggest difference in first, such as poverty, health care and clean drinking water. In addition, he believes more funding should be allotted to the research and development of some very promising and cost efficient projects that could cool the Earth or produce green energy, such as cloud brightening and wave energy respectively.

Using animations, projections, scientific data and interviews, and demonstrations, Timoner and Lomborg present sound information, make solid arguments and offer realistic solutions to many of the problems facing the world’s population. Seemingly, the simplest answer involves a lot of white or pastel-coloured paint.

Where Gore instilled fear, Lomborg inspires hope. Cool It and its “Radically Practical Solution” is a valid and worthwhile entry into the environmental discussion.

To read my interview with Lomborg and Timoner at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival click here.

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