The new film, “Planet of the Humans” is exceedingly controversial with some calling for it to be taken down. I’ll begin with a disclaimer. I’m not an expert in climate science, population issues, or renewable or nuclear energy, so judge my comments accordingly.
The main thesis of the film is that various people and organizations in the USA who claim to promote Green energy are actually promoting biomass energy—burning trees instead of fossil fuels. This process, the filmmakers claim, is neither carbon-neutral, renewable, nor sustainable. The film also suggests that wind and solar power are both impractical and nearly as environmentally destructive as fossil fuels once construction and maintenance costs are taken into account. (The film is available free on Youtube for the next few weeks.)
Another thesis of the film is that big Oil and its corporate and banking representatives have rebranded themselves as green in order to use the green movement for their own ends—to make huge profits and grab some of the huge taxpayer subsidies available to anyone claiming to be developing renewable energy resources.
(I found this latter thesis compelling as it connected well with the PBS Frontline documentary “Plastic Wars.” In that film, a joint investigation by NPR and the PBS found that the oil and gas companies who make plastics, and who have encouraged people to recycle, have long known that recycling plastic on a large scale was unlikely to ever be economically viable, as their own records show. This implies that oil companies appease environmentalists while continuing to be profitable and ravage the environment.)
The basic solution to the energy problem proposed in the film is (roughly) to limit our consumption and engage in population control.
I found the film slow in the beginning as there are too many interviews with non-experts for my taste. I generally don’t care what ‘the man in the street’ thinks when he ignorantly opines. The film also had a conspiratorial feel when it suggested that many well-known climate change activists are in bed with environment-destroying corporations—perhaps these environmentalists are more ignorant than culpable. I was also disappointed that nuclear power wasn’t addressed. Despite being anathema to most environmentalists nuclear power is extraordinarily reliable and has strong arguments in its favor. But again I’m no expert on these matters. (You can find a detailed, impartial discussion of the nuclear power debate here.)
Overall, I think the film is thought-producing and it challenges the groupthink that can envelop us all when approaching controversial topics. Whatever the best course, I will state unequivocally that we are a part of the environment and cannot survive without it.