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LostInParadise's avatar

Have you heard about Michael Moore's new film?

Asked by LostInParadise (29640points) May 1st, 2020
18 responses
“Great Question” (6points)

This time it is different. He is going after the renewable energy movement, claiming that it is not what it claims to be. Link The film is available for free on YouTube. I have not seen it yet but plan to do so. If renewable energy is not a significant improvement then what, short of depopulation, is the solution?

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janbb's avatar

Well, we seem to be going for your Option 2. (Read details.)

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Michael Moore has always been an opportunistic sensationalist. His “documentaries” are filled with either half truths or outright lies. He has been sidestepped by other things in the last decade so this is a predictable move on his part. I will watch it and hope he has departed from his past behavior.

It’s true there are huge downsides to current “green” energy but we are working on it

SQUEEKY2's avatar

And what are the down sides^? It hurts the fossil fuel companies?

Patty_Melt's avatar

Squeeks, solar equipment is expensive and not space efficient.
Wind turbines are expensive, replacement parts just forget it, and I hear they cause cancer.
Algae can be used as fuel, but the conversion process costs astronomical amounts.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

And I hear they cause cancer??? LINK PLEASE!

JLeslie's avatar

I hadn’t heard. Thank you! I’m going to try to watch it tomorrow.

I think COVID19 shows us part of the solution. More work from home. We are using much less fossil fuels and energy in general.

Also, I’ve seen using grass on rooftops to keep the interior cooler. More thought to window placement. Maybe more partial subterranean dwellings.

I wonder if they looked at generating electricity with exercise equipment, I wish I could charge my cell phone while on a treadmill.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I forgot the ~ to indicate humor. It is a rather old reference.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Oh OK for a second I thought you were serious.ha ha.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Haven’t watched it, have no interest in it. Moore has, or at least did have at one point, a knack for comedy (see Canadian Bacon), but as a documentarian he’s about as credible as James O’Keefe.

Darth_Algar's avatar

As for renewable energy – I’m a proponent of the big, scary N word.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Me too, only card in the deck.

janbb's avatar

What’s wrong with wind and solar?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@janbb
I have not watched the film yet but I do work in the power industry

Solar: You don’t generate near enough power to run industry, it’s like trying to run a fire hose with a regular faucet. It just does not work. It’s expensive and without incentives or subsidy they never quite return the investment. They take minerals that must be mined, refined and then processed, they are hard or impossible to recycle and they have short lifecycles. All in all odds are they are a net negative. In addition to this the more solar farms get attached to the grid the more unstable the grid becomes. All it takes is a line of clouds to roll over and suddenly generation drops by 80% or clouds roll away and it increases by that much. It’s very hard to stabilize the grid with fluctuations like this.
In addition to this there is no intrinsic storage, power is during availability not on demand without massive battery banks which have their own environmental issues.

On the flip side for residential they will make sense in certain parts of the country. I have a workshed that runs on solar without issue. Upkeep is vastly more expensive than just running power out to it though. Requires a rather large battery bank and electronics to function. I’m liking what I see coming out of Tesla for residential though. Residential may one day be solar once we improve the technology.

Wind: Same basic issues, resource intensive, short lifecycle, power output is low and also on demand without storage.

janbb's avatar

^^ Thanks

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Even if he’s getting something right, I won’t watch it.

hmmmmmm's avatar

I watched the film when it came out.

Those who criticize this by saying that it’s not 100% accurate or that it’s a propaganda piece are missing the point. Of course it’s presenting a point of view. Of course it’s not accurate and attempting to present a particular view. “Documentaries” are just entertainment and designed to convince and persuade – not necessarily educate.

That said, I thought the film was crap. It was weak and could really have been better as a 10-minute summary called, “Look into the actual carbon and environmental costs of alternative energy.”

From what I understand, the film used some outdated stats on the carbon costs and technologies involved in alternative energy. And it apparently was misleading regarding some of the claims about electric vehicles and the need to have them pull their juice from coal plants. But the biomass criticisms were pretty valid.

However, they really should have just focused on what people do not see when they think of green energy. A healthy skepticism isn’t meant to dismiss the need for greener energy – it should drive us to find even more greener sources. But many people don’t understand the need for rare minerals, and the energy that goes into building green energy devices that have a limited life, etc. Scientist have models for understanding the energy trade-offs, and it may be better for the environment overall, but to gloss over these does nobody any good.

And what I wish they really went into was just how the need for rare minerals – whether it be the large batteries for electric cars or our phones – drives imperialism. A 90-minute documentary on global capital’s hunger for lithium and the 2019 Bolivian coup would have been good. The film did touch briefly on funding (Koch brothers, etc), but this is far more important, in my humble opinion, than some of the outdated scientific claims. A deep dive into how global capital works in consuming global resources is far more important.

I think the films worst weakness might have been its overall theme of inevitability. It seemed to provide a good reason to just shrug your shoulders and say “fuck it, we can’t do anything”. The blame seemed to be human species, and the solution seemed to be our demise. Instead of proposing that it is possible that we could combine far-better greener tech with economic systems that don’t depend on infinite growth and consumption, I get the feeling that the film was just an invitation to give up altogether.

JLeslie's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me What I like about solar is I could be off the grid if I wanted to be (I’m in Florida) and then I’m not obligated to pay whatever the utility company decides to charge me for my electricity. That’s my biggest problem with the grid. If it’s a net zero in harming the environment then at least we have independence.

Some private and public utility companies have very reasonable give and take money values so even though the home owner gets paid less for the electric they put into the grid then what they use, still most homeowners can pay nothing for electricity without needing batteries in the house. Of course you have to pay up front to be connected to the grid.

Demosthenes's avatar

I hadn’t heard of it, but I find it hilarious that climate change activists apparently wanted it removed from YouTube. Censorship really is the new debate.

I probably won’t see it as I’ve never been that interested in Michael Moore’s films, but I agree with @hmmmmmm that a documentary having an agenda is a given for many, if not most, documentaries. I think it’s worth looking into the downsides of green energy, because often they’re touted as a panacea but they have problems and environmental costs themselves. That said, I still support the search for the greenest possible sources. Eventually fossil fuels will run out so we’re going to have to face that reality some day whether we want to or not.

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