The NYT Hearts Lomborg Flick

The new movie “Cool It” is out today and just wait till people get wind of this thumbs up review in the NYT, especially this passage:

Debunking claims made by “An Inconvenient Truth” and presenting alternative strategies, “Cool It” finally blossoms into an engrossing, brain-tickling picture as many of Al Gore’s meticulously graphed assertions are systematically “” and persuasively “” refuted.

If a NYT film reviewer was going to be allowed to pass judgment on the accuracy of Lomborg’s movie, then the Times should have assigned Andrew Revkin to review it. Maybe he’ll take a shot at Dot Earth. Meanwhile, today’s wet kiss of a review in the NYT, as well as reactions to it and the movie, are sure to light up the blogosphere.

UPDATE: Revkin has a meaty post on the movie, which he calls “eminently watchable.” Here’s the thrust of his review:

Lomborg, as always, is charming and persuasive, frequently shown riding his bicycle through Copenhagen’s busy streets “” in what has to be seen as a dig at Gore, who in his film is often seen racing through airports.

But it suffers from the same simplification syndrome that weakened “An Inconvenient Truth.”

14 Responses to “The NYT Hearts Lomborg Flick”

  1. Hector M. says:

    The quoted passage seems sympathetic to the movie’s message, but in fact it does not assert the film’s claims are true: only “engrossing”, “brain-tickling”, “persuasive” and “systematic”. I surmise Gore’s movie may have merited the same qualifications.  Gore is said to have presented “meticulous graphs”, as possibly could be said of Lomborg’s charts as well. The movie reviewer was evidently talking about the movie as a movie, not about the truth of its contents.

  2. thingsbreak says:

    Considering that the reviewer seems to be impressed by Lomborg’s polar bear claims– which happen to be some of his most transparent instances of cherry picking and excising from context in order to make the science look like it’s saying the opposite of what it is- I don’t really have a lot of faith that this film is going to “debunk” much of anything. I wonder if Lomborg’s obvious sea level rise misrepresentation is included?
     
    I guess I’ll have to wait for a transcript of the movie to come out…

  3. Hector M. says:

    About polar bears the evidence seems to point to a general increase in the size of polar bear population, although some particular herd has  been declining because of local reasons, and it is precisely the one most frequently cherry-picked to sow alarm.

  4. Hector M. says:

    About sea level rise, no one can infer much from a few years’ evidence. The IPCC 2007 predicts ( across mid-point forecast of various scenarios) an average rise of 34 cm from 1980-99 to 2990-99 (105 years between midpoints), i.e. an average rise of about 3 cm per year. The speed had been nearly 20 cm during the 20th century. Besides, the average planetary rise would be larger near the Polar Circles and lower in temperate and tropical latitudes (+/- 15 cm according the IPCC 2007). It may cause problems in several low-lying locations, but one has to remain realistic and not run up the hills in panic as yet.
     

  5. Hector M. says:

    Correction: IPCC projects an average rise of 3 mm (not 3 cm) per year.

  6. thingsbreak says:

    Hector M.,
    Please follow the links in my comment. The claim that anthropogenic warming is an overhyped threat to polar bears based on claims of increasing population trends is a mishmash of cherry-picking and logical fallacies. The data on polar bear populations from several decades past is sketchy, and the figures cited by climate denialists and Lomborg are much lower than today’s best estimates. That polar bears enjoyed a recovery after hunting bans went into place does not mean that they aren’t in danger of greatly reduced Arctic sea ice in the next several decades. More importantly, Lomborg has been caught out citing sources for claims that say basically the opposite of what he says they do. For example, he claims that polar bears aren’t in danger because they can essentially evolve backwards to live like brown bears, writing:
    ‘The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment finds it likely that disappearing ice will make polar bears take up ‘a terrestrial summer lifestyle similar to that of brown bears, from which they evolved.’
     
    The source does not actually claim that polar bears aren’t threatened because they can live more like brown bears. It says that the only way they are probably screwed under sea ice decline, but they might be able to eke out existence by doing so- a scenario which brings its own risks:
    ‘It is difficult to envisage the survival of polar bears as a species given a zero summer sea-ice scenario. Their only option would be a terrestrial summer lifestyle similar to that of brown bears, from which they evolved. In such a case, competition, risk of hybridization with brown bears and grizzly bears, and increased interactions with people would then number among the threats to polar bears.’
     
    It’s blatant misrepresentation. This is precisely why Lomborg p!sses people like me off- not because he doesn’t support this or that mitigation strategy, but because he’s a shameless liar.

  7. thingsbreak says:

    And lest anyone think I’m creating a strawman by saying that Lomborg says polar bears will be okay because they can essentially evolve backwards:
     
    Q: Are you saying that polar bears will be OK, that the species will survive if they evolve backward?
     
    Lomborg: Yes, that’s certainly how I read it.

  8. Keith Kloor says:

    As I mention in an update up top, Revkin has just put up a good post on the movie.

  9. Jack Hughes says:

    Revkin’s piece uses the film as a start to rehearse his own thoughts.
     
    He writes “…carbon dioxide, much of which will stay in the atmosphere for many centuries.”
    Revkin is not a scientist. A scientists would not write that.
     

  10. DeNihilist says:

    Thingsbrake – re: polar bears.

    As Artic ice recedes quicker, and forms later, some things that will likely happen to our Coke loving bears. Their stature (as in size, not popularity) should start to decrease. The litters of 3-4 cubs per female should drop to 1-2. The summer hibernation period, should basically disappear, i.e. they will be looking for food all year round. And their main meal, the seal should start to calve on land more often, as the best ice flows will be over populated. I am sure that there are other survival techniques that nature has imbued to these caffeine seeking animals, but if we take even just one of the above mentioned, the continous seeking of food for 12 months, this may in fact give the Christmas icons a great advantage over their 7 month slumbering cousins.

  11. Huge Difference says:

    I think I have a witty, pithy, oh so insightful and enlightening comment stuck in the moderation queue or in the spam filter.
     
    We’ll all be so glad and rewarded when it comes out of moderation.
     
    Or maybe not.

  12. bigcitylib says:

    Also worth noting is that its at least as likely that, rather then backwardly evolving into them,  polar bears will be driven into decline by brown bears pushing Northward into their territory.

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Nunavut+Polar+bears+face+threat+Brown+bears/3797476/story.html

    And yes this claim by Lomborg is one where he was very clearly caught in a misrepresentation. It is unfortunately typical of him that he should simply repeat the misinformation this long after being called on it.

  13. JohnB says:

    So, since it was warmer during the Holocene Optimum than it is now and since the HO lasted for some 4,000 years, how come there are any polar bears left?

    If they are so at risk from a bit of warmth and brown bears, shouldn’t 4,000 years of warmth and brown bears have killed them all?

    Or maybe they aren’t as fragile as some people would like to think.

  14. Or maybe the climate didn’t change as *rapidly* in the lead up to and lead out from the Optimum as it’s changing *now*?
     
     
     

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