MCN Columnists
Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

TIFF Review: Cool It

Pssst. Have you heard about global warming? Sure you have. We’ve all heard about that, right? Especially since Al Gore told us a few years ago the inconvenient truth that the world as we know it is going to come to its catastrophic end if we don’t do something about it right now. The trouble is, who’s questioning whether we’re doing the right things?

One of the most controversial figures on the global warming scene is Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg, whose book, B, challenged the “conventional wisdom” assumptions about what to do about the threat of global warming.

Timoner’s documentary gives us a brief history of Lomborg and his work, which at one point found him challenged on questions of ethics by his own colleagues because of the questions he raised in his book. Lomborg is a fascinating subject for a documentary — a man of intelligence and passion who asked, simply that those leading the charge of the environmental movement pause to ask themselves not IF resources should be spent trying to solve the problem of global warming, but, from an economics point of view, which investments in solving the problem will ultimately lead to the greatest benefit.

What makes this subject so fascinating is that Lomborg, because he is a political scientist and not an environmental scientist, is approaching the global warming debate from a completely different perspective than the status quo. He doesn’t question that many of the issues around global warming are, in fact, real; what he does instead is question whether the sky is actually falling, and moreover, whether we are allocating resources to best solve the world’s problems. Because he takes this unusual approach to dissecting the issue, he comes up with some very different answers.

To begin with, he takes a step back to examine the greater issue of quality of life around the world. Lomborg makes the point that in roughly 2/3 of the world, basic issues like poverty, hunger, education, and disease are still very real problems affecting both lifespan and quality of life. If you wake up each morning wondering if you can feed your children, or they’re dying of a disease like malaria, which is directly related to poverty and clean water supply, you’re not very likely to be as concerned about shrinking polar ice caps.

From an economic and political standpoing, Lomborg also points out (likely quite correctly) that India, with its developing industrial economy, is unlikely to agree any time in the near future to limiting industrial concerns that the global scientific community agrees contribute to global warming. Therefore, he posits, it’s wiser to invest a large chunk of money into R&D to develop better solutions to clean energy that get the world off dependence on oil and coal; if solar as a technology, for instance, was developed to the point that it was actually a cheap source of energy for average people to use, they would by economic logic make use of it.

The European Union, we learn in the film, committed to spending $250 billion yearly over the next decade on global warming. Lomborg brought together a think tank of the world’s top economists to evaluate global warning from the standpoint of economic analysis, in determining whether the way we are currently spending on global warning is actually doing good and if not, how that money could be better spent.

Timoner is smart enough as a director to allow her charismatic subject to largely carry the weight of the film. There are some road bumps in the way the films is cut, a bit here and there that seems not to flow well with what came before or what comes after, and the overall effect of the film is more slick, less edgy that Timoner’s previous work. It lacks somewhat the stylishness of the political films of, say, Alex Gibney or Charles Ferguson, and at the same time it also lacks that artistic eschewal of stylistic same old-same old that’s tended to be a hallmark of Timoner as a filmmaker with an original vision. Still, the subject matter is timely and relevant, and Timoner’s direction and Lomborg himself present his position with such clarity, that it’s still very much worth watching.

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3 Responses to “TIFF Review: Cool It”

  1. Michael Jones says:

    What about overpopulation and overreach capacity?
    We humans just look at part of the problem and expect to solve the whole don’t work that way.

  2. mememine59 says:

    Ya Borey Bjorn here, the opportunistic fence walker that he is, is also one big crowd pleaser and likes to do shots with Charlie and Dave and Edna of the IPCC report writing group and all the lazy copy and paste so called journalists. They have an ongoing competition to see who skip the bar bill first. So far it’s Edna followed by Borey Bjorn. That Borey Bjorn, he’s a real crowd pleaser and crazy crazy carzy MAN! Or as old man Sedgwick says at the 5 Star Bar in the 10 Star Hotel Bulge; “He‘d on blonde buck-eyed crowd pleaser in the men’s sauna too . Party on Borey Bjorn, party on!

  3. mememine59 says:

    Ya old Borey Bjorn here, the opportunistic fence walker that he is, is also one big crowd pleaser at the 5 star hotel bars on the “CO2-CHOO2-CHOO2 gravy train” and likes to do shots with Charlie Mikes MBA and Dave Edmonds PhD and Edna Cook PhD of the IPCC report writing group and anyone from the lazy copy and paste so called journalists. Dave or Borey usually get a newspaper, PR firm or a politician’s pocket to cover the bar bill. Oh the fun they have man! They have another ongoing competition sometimes to see who can skip the bar bill first. So far it’s Edna followed by Borey Bjorn. That Borey Bjorn, he’s a real crowd pleaser and crazy crazy carzy MAN! Or as old man Sedgwick says at the 5 Star Bar in the 10 Star Hotel Bulge; “He‘d on blonde buck-eyed crowd pleaser in the men’s sauna too . Party on Borey Bjorn, party on!

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon