'Climate Hustle': The movie sneers at climate change concerns

The first "global warming comedy": Is it coming to a theater near you?

Evan Vucci/AP
Sarah Palin speaks during a panel discussion before a preview of the film "Climate Hustle" on Capitol Hill, on Thursday, April 14, 2016, in Washington.

"Climate Hustle" premieres in theaters for one night Monday, a film referred to as a "global warming comedy." 

"Are emissions from our cars, factories, and farms causing catastrophic climate change? Is there a genuine scientific consensus?" asks the film's website. "Or is man-made 'global warming' an overheated environmental con job being used to push for increased government regulations and a new 'Green' energy agenda?" 

It's clear where the film's producers come down on the answers to those questions. 

The two-hour long film is only showing on May 2 in 400 theaters across the United States, but the early reviews prove to be as polarizing as the topic of climate change. Whereas the environmental protection group Greenpeace says the film should be renamed "Get Rich or Lie Tryin," conservative Breitbart News says the movie is "dynamite." Thus, "Climate Hustle" may emerge as a new rally cry of climate change skeptics, validating their cause much like Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" did in 2006 for environmental advocates. 

Financed by the conservative group Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), the film was written and narrated by prominent climate change skeptic Marc Morano. A previous Republican aide to Rush Limbaugh and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma (who famously brought a snowball onto the Senate floor to insinuate that climate change doesn't exist), Mr. Morano also runs the CFACT-funded blog ClimateDepot.com.

Although 97 percent of scientists published in peer-reviewed scientific journals say that climate change is real and caused by human activities, Morano is a member of the small community of those who dispute this claim.

After the film's premiere on Capitol Hill last month, Morano's panel discussion included "some of the biggest names in the climate debate" such as Rep. Lamar Smith (R) of Texas, Chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee; former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin; and climatologist David Legates, who has authored numerous papers refuting climate change with funding from Koch Industries and other fossil fuel sponsors. 

"We go through the hard science, yes, but we actually use the climate activists' and the global warming establishment's own arguments to have a lot of fun with," Morano tells OneNewsNow. "We go after the fact that they're predicting that global warming causes more prostitution, barroom brawls, airline turbulence, [and] we go after the fact that they blame every bad weather event on global warming." 

But contrary to Morano's claims, climate change is not just a conspiracy created by scientists and politicians. It is also seen a real, imminent threat by average citizens both in the US and internationally. 

"Majorities in all 40 nations polled say climate change is a very serious problem, and a global median of 54% believe it is a very serious problem," Pew Research found in a 2015 poll. "A global median of 51% say climate change is already harming people around the world, while another 28% believe it will do so in the next few years." 

According to a Gallup poll from March, 64 percent of US adults say they are worried a "great deal" or "fair amount" about global warming – an eight-year high. And 65 percent of Americans perceive human activities as the main cause of global warming, the highest percentage in the 21st century. 

On the other hand, only 10 percent of Americans agree with Morano and believe the effects of human-induced global warming will never occur.

Regardless of the veracity of the film's content, it does not shine cinematically, say critics.

"As a result, I would say to everyone in the climate community who might be terrified of it sweeping the nation's box office, 'It ain't gonna happen' – any more than the kid down the block shooting hoops in the driveway is going to play in the NBA next year. Not impossible, but ain't gonna happen," Randy Olsen, a biologist-turned-filmmaker, writes in a review of the film. "Overall the editing is decent so the movie does move along – it’s not torture. But it’s also not amazing."

Mr. Olsen is one of the few people to see the film who says anthropogenic climate change is real, as Morano "has carefully controlled the list of people who have been able to see the film" says DeSmog, an environmental advocacy group, that was denied access to the film's April premiere in Washington, D.C.

About 94 percent of poll respondents on Morano's ClimateDepot website agreed that "Climate Hustle" is equivalent to the "Anti-Inconvenient Truth," likely a reassuring review for Morano. 

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