The highlight of the movie season for climate science has clearly been the release on Dec 24th 2021 of “Don’t Look Up”. While nominally about a different kind of disaster – the discovery of a comet heading to Earth on a collision course – the skewering of our current science-policy dysfunction transcends the specifics and makes a powerful metaphor for climate change, and even the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
There have been a number of good reviews and discussions (and some bad ones) about the movie, from the discussion of the excellent science advising from Amy Mainzer (Discover Magazine, the New Yorker, and a longer interview with Andy Revkin), to meta-discussions about the kind of criticism the movie has received, to articles on how effective it is as science communication (from Aaron Huertas).
The film producers are making the climate change connections explicit, directing viewers to a climate platform to promote activism on the issue (though it’s mostly focused on individual actions as opposed to tackling more systematic problems). Unsurprisingly, climate scientists have weighed in, including Peter Kalmus in the Guardian, Mike Mann in the Boston Globe, and on twitter (#DontLookUp):
I recommend diving in and seeing what folks (both climate professionals and civilians) are saying.
Some personal thoughts
Like Ayana, Mike, and Peter, I saw a number of elements that resonated clearly with my experience in climate #scicomm. The ‘deer in the headlights on live TV’ feeling you get when the interviewer starts to go in a totally bizarre direction is very familiar. I recall a situation like that with Lou Dobbs (when he was less insane, but still a massive egotist). The scene where Dr. Mindy indulges in some righteous twittering when arguing with idiots is very real. The lack of control that Dibiasky feels once their image/words get meme-ified also.
One thing that I thought was funny, but not real, was the implication that all climate science communicators are at all times just a moment away from screaming that “we’re all doomed!” and it’s only the niceties of polite society that prevent us from telling everyone what we ‘really’ think. Conceivably this could be true for some people, but I’d wager it isn’t true for most. The reason why is that the act of communication itself is an act of advocacy – people do it in order to create a change somewhere, and the “we’re all doomed” message accomplishes nothing. With all due respect to Jennifer Lawrence’s character, the message she wanted to convey was that the situation was imminent and serious but people could act to mitigate it (a deflection mission, perhaps the construction of underground shelters, and stockpiles, etc.). Because if there really was nothing to be done, why bother to communicate about it at all?
Is there really a difference between tornado politics and other science-policy issues?
In the BeforeTimes™️, the conventional wisdom was that science-based advice could be placed on a spectrum between two (somewhat idealized) end points: The first extreme is where the universality of the values at stake/immediacy of the problem mean that there was no dispute about what to do, and the only issue was making sure that people knew about it (e.g. what to do with a tornado bearing down). The second is a situation where the dispute is over basic values for which science discoveries don’t have much bearing (a classic example being abortion – at least in the US). In the first example, the science (of tornado warnings for instance) serves to guide action, while in the second, the science is often politicized and used as justification of previously held positions. In this second situation, the misuse of science, the rise of disinformation, conspiracy theories, and personal (and sometimes physical) attacks on scientists can all occur.
The ongoing pandemic, this movie and even the actions of some companies during the recent tornado outbreak in Kentucky, have all served to demonstrate that there are no circumstances where there are no values at play. Every decision we make (as individuals, employers, politicians, planners etc.) is informed by those values in the light of information from science (and other related sources). Given that values are far more embedded than devotion to rationality or logic, there is therefore always the potential for dispute. And when disputes occur, people can behave badly, especially when stakes might be high or even existential.
Just this week there were two articles, one from a public health professional (Dr. Devi Sridhar) and one from a health journalist (Helen Branswell), expressing surprise that this happens. The writers’ implicit defaults were that their science-policy issue was a pure ‘tornado politics’ case where the cause of action should be driven by the science, and the fact that it wasn’t has come as a shock.
But just because there are values embedded in all decisions, it does not mean every issue gets politicized. Differences in location, culture, governmental competence, basic levels of trust, depth of social ties etc. can make a huge difference in how fertile the cultural soil is for the kind of disinformation typical of the our most fraught science-policy disputes. But perhaps the most important factor is leadership. Opinion-formers (as opposed to opinion writers who don’t have as much of an influence) can powerfully signal to their bases what should be paid attention to or devalued. In jurisdictions where leaders choose to take science inputs seriously, much better outcomes have been seen over the length of this pandemic compared to those where science was treated as ‘politics by other means’.
“Don’t Look Up” gives as yet another clear example of leadership failing to rise to the occasion, despite the best (and worst) efforts of the scientists providing the needed information. It really doesn’t have to be that way but it’s rarely (if ever) the scientists’ fault.
166 Responses to "“Don’t Look Up”"
Steven Emmerson says
Victor Venema says
“it’s rarely (if ever) the scientists’ fault.”
Exactly. So fed up with the Twitter commentariat pretending to be neutral observers telling scientists they should not have worn such a short skirt.
Twitter did me a real favor by having their AI block my account.
Jim Newman aka The Dean of Green says
It truly was difficult for me to believe this film was being promoted as a “Comedy”.
While there were a few (very few) moments that provoked laughter, I would have said this film was a dark satire with numerous metaphors and analogies to what is going on in the U.S.A. and the world right now.
As a mechanical engineer specializing in energy conservation and indoor air quality, I have been helping people reduce the energy used and the GHG emissions of buildings of all types since the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973. Today, in addition, we are focusing on Sustainability and Resiliency.
Between COP26 not really doing much, similar to all the other COPs before, and the pandemic and its results, I often feel like those two PHDs who were trying to get their ideas across to the government (and others).
Using an asteroid about to hit the earth and destroy it as the base of the film rather than something as difficult for many people to believe as Climate Change was a wonderful concept. The film and its ending were indeed powerful, but watching it as a “comedy” made me and the people with whom we watched it on New Year’s Eve all very sad. And maybe that was a good thing.
We keep on trying.
Sorry. I thought it preachy and self-righteous.
In what way? Could you give a couple of examples? Remember its satire.
I have only watched the trailer but it looks rather good.
This wasn’t satire. For it to he satire there would need to be a certain element of subtlety to the messaging. There was none nor was there any humour. As usual completely US centric. The US appear to be more and more irrelevant by the minute. What are the worlds biggest polluters doing about climate change? Let’s look at emerging economies as well. This movie was so dull and obvious. Yawn.
Sam. I don’t think satire has to be subtle. In fact satire needs to be obvious, because if it is subtle it tends to be missed by many people, who take it literally (in my experience (reading satirical articles on websites and comments people post about it). I get subtle satire but many people dont.
Consider a typical dictionary definition of satire: “A poem or (in later use) a novel, film, or other work of art which uses humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize prevailing immorality or foolishness, esp. as a form of social or political commentary”. (Oxford dictionary). The movie fits that definition well enough. Its hard to exaggerate things in a subtle way and make it work.
I thought the trailer to the movie was funny, although in a sledgehammer way. Have just read some reviews and the consensus seems to be the movie had a good theme and hit the right targets, but was a bit clumsy, not as funny as it could be, and badly acted.
Barton Paul Levenson says
S: What are the worlds biggest polluters doing about climate change?
BPL: The US is the world’s 2nd biggest emitter of carbon dioxide.
(Uncle??? ;-) ) Sam: Jan 3 “As usual completely US centric. What are the worlds biggest polluters doing about climate change? Let’s look at emerging economies as well.”
OK, let’s look at emerging economies as well:
1. Sources of the current anthropogenic surplus CO2 in the atmosphere (and ocean):
USA 28.8%,. China: 9.0%., India: 2.4%.
So let’s go …. after China and India. Very subtle.
2. The wealth of the US has been built on massive burning of fossil fuels without paying anything for the GHG pollution. By pointing the finger away from USA and onto the developing nations you are, in effect, saying:
-Sorry, you can’t have what we have. So, do as we tell you, not as we have done to make ourselves rich. Smoooooth.
3. Per capita _Current_ (2018) emissions:
USA – 18.5 ton, China 8.9, India: 2.5
.So, would you say that 1 American is more deserving than 2 Chinese or 7 Indians?
4. A big portion of the GHG emissions from emerging economies are goods bought and used by the developed countries. GHGs emitted for goods use by the Americans show up in the above stats as the Chinese, not American emissions. Subtle!
Based on those 4 points – what an utter “lack of subtlety” by the film makers to criticize their own country instead of pointing fingers at poorer countries.
As for your: “ nor was there any humour“. – well, in a sarcastic narrative, amusing the reader is not really the goal. If it were, one would pan Swift’s “Modest proposal” as:
“This wasn’t satire. For this to be satire, there would need to be a certain element of subtlety to the messaging. There was none nor was there any humour in it, As usual completely English-centric, even though the English are more and more irrelevant to that problem. Let’s look at the responsibility of the Irish poor as well. This pamphlet was so dull and obvious. Yawn.
John Pollack says
As a one-time National Weather Service forecaster, I had to be aware that there was a real diversity in responses to tornadoes and other life-threatening weather hazards even in the “before times.” It ranged from a few people who pathologically fearful, and would be on the phone to us if there was any mention of thunderstorms in the forecast (thunderstorms were a frequent occurrence where I worked) to those who simply felt that they were not at high risk. The latter group included storm chasers, of course. There were also a large number of people (nearly all men) who submitted videos to the NWS or local agencies afterward. I think that we could have spliced together a full-length movie of the men who started the video with “Honey, take the kids to the basement.” Most kept on filming, and there were a few situations where the video survived, but the photographer didn’t. There was clearly a values conflict between protecting one’s family, and getting the video of a lifetime.
There were also people who simply didn’t realize that they were looking at a tornado up close until it was too late, warning or not. There were also frequent media reports that a tornado had “struck without warning” even if we had a 10-20 minute lead time on issuing the warning. On the other hand, there were also members of the public who didn’t want to hear any warnings unless we already had verified damage, so their lives wouldn’t be disrupted by a radar based warning.
Another category was people who simply thought that they were protected, for whatever reason. Some people felt that they had divine protection, an attitude more common in the “Bible Belt.” Finally, there were people who thought that some topographic feature, such as a river or hill, would stop or divert any tornadoes headed their way. These ideas often built up into stories about how some knowledgeable person of yore had promised that the feature would protect them, and that was why the town was sited where it was.
Mark Roest says
There are enough of us to cluster together to drive solutions into existence as demonstrations, then pilots, and then rollouts — paired with political action to bring people into valuing the world, each other, and the difference we can all make.
John Ransley says
Agree. For once, recommending it to Australian friends is made easy by Australian Cate Blanchett’s presence in a key role, as she is very popular here (yes we’re parochial). Leaving aside the real world, Jennifer Lawrence’s “we’re all doomed” message provided a powerful and shocking emotional charge that would have been missing in the movie otherwise. And the penultimate image of Lawrence wordlessly waiting for extinction conveyed a complex message that will stay with me for some time.
Kevin McKinney says
In “Superstition,” Stevie Wonder wrote “If you believe in things you don’t understand/Then you suffer./Superstition ain’t the way.”
Problem is–always, but now more than ever–life is one long process of dealing with things one doesn’t understand.
Sometimes I feel as if there’s a lot of climate denial congruent with a perverse reading of the great Stevie’s dictum: folks substitute out something they feel they can’t understand–the admittedly rather sprawling science of climate change–for something they feel they *can*: a nebulously motivated conspiracy of miraculously adept political schemers and astoundingly compliant ‘group-think’ scientists.
It’s irrational, of course, but it just feels better. In the short run.
Bill Hurley says
Well said. Never really paid attention to the words in Superstition until now
Paul Pukite (@whut) says
If Stevie is appropriate, might as well quote Smokey:
Tears of a Clown … not all of this is innocent ignorance of the denier .
Susan Anderson says
Sridhar – please fix spelling. And while we’re there, why not acknowledge that caregivers are being subjected not just to attacks but threats and violence? I don’t think people who are on the front lines trying to save the lives of antivaxxers and antimaskers should be dismissed as “surprised” that they encounter opposition from people who treat science as lies and political lies as truth that descends to actual danger. (Yes, I know climate scientists have also experienced this, but it should never be “normalized”.)
Thanks for the review. The choice of a metaphorical catastrophe since the slow burn of climate destruction is too hard for people to accept seems a good idea to me. I have yet to watch the movie, which I just signed up for Netflix to do. I was struck by their horrible awful suggestions as to what I might like to watch, which did not include “Don’t Look Up” or anything else remotely appealing to a thoughtful person not addicted to sensation and illusion and violence.
I note that in the US, 2000 deaths a day is acceptable (Covid) while a tornado that kills a few dozen is front page news. What to do with this is beyond me. But I think trying is admirable.
A friend sent me a link to this post, because I had said on FB that I thought this was a brilliant movie – funny, tragic, completely spot on – and was shocked to see that it had gotten a lot of negative reviews. To me, it captured our society perfectly, AND why we’re all doomed. Because yes, people are more interested in Adele’s weight or a Kardashian breakup or who knows what than the fact that the world is burning. I stopped using twitter some months ago when I was trying to get traction on the fact that the local school board in my town unilaterally destroyed an entire grove of old-growth white oak trees (46 of them), without permits, etc. And no one cared – but a post on “I hate pizza crust – prove me wrong” got hundreds of thousands of replies.
Re: the “We’re doomed!” part – I’m a logical person, rational, calm, but if I were trying to tell people about something dire and catastrophic and they were nattering on about aliens and such, I would completely lose it too. I could feel the Lawrence character’s horror and frustration, and the need to yell, basically, “Are you fucking kidding me???” I say that to myself often these days when I read the news.
And honestly – I was heading out for a hike in the woods with my pup when I got a news alert on my phone from COP26, along the lines of “countries can not agree on drastic changes over concern about economic impacts.” I read that and thought, yes, we’re doomed.
JB Northwest says
I think you can be worried about Adele’s love life and climate change both. Remember, there isn’t as far as we know, a literal comet crashing into the Earth anytime soon. We have decades to prepare and change. We need to keep pushing for that change, but I don’t think it helps the cause to belittle celebrity watchers and music fans.
no offense, but that sounds exactly like the ignorant characters in the film;
We have decades to prepare and change
thats funny, heard that for the last 50 years. so, no, we dont have decades, at least not anymore.
Richard Payne says
It is one of the most scray movies I’ve ever seen, more like horror than another kind.
Hank Roberts says
Yeah, it was a comedy — like Doctor Strangelove was a comedy.
Richard A Pauli says
These two movies are siblings in a rare category. Both seem perfectly crafted. Deeply memorable, Absurd, Hilarious and horrifying..
Similar endings define the genre.
John P. Reisman says
My journey in climate communications started when I met with Justin Lancaster at Roger Revelle’s office about 30 years ago, I think it was between `89 and `91.
This was when S. Fred Singer was full bore on mucking up the message in congressional testimony while being funded by Exxon.
My review of the film: ‘Don’t Look Up’ is a typical preaching to the choir movie. The climate community will praise it. The liberal democrats will praise it. It may even move the needle a bit towards recognition of the problem. It will of course stir more discussion. And it will likely inspire a large portion of the right wing to solidify their views that climate change is a hoax.
Fact Check: As a high end production, it’s a bad movie with a great message. The director broke up the storyline too much with fanciful interjection. The stereotypes are all recognizable but sometimes too obvious (comedy, drama, dramadie). On the plus side, they used some strong concepts. I think a recut and some new segue scenes would help the film but not save it.
The film won’t deeply penetrate the base views of those that are being used to prevent significant action. Not to mention that Russian propaganda machines are at work fomenting disinformation to keep countries around the world at war with each other by creating societal friction.
I have a movie I’ve been wanting to produce for 20 years that will help get the conservatives on board. But in 20 years I have not been able to get any interest in making that movie. So it just sits.
You can see the expressions and frustrations of climate scientists with the message of ‘Don’t Look Up’. They’ve all experienced the maddening frustration of communication penetration. Imagine sitting on a movie for 20 years that will get the conservatives on board, watch millions poured into communications that simply don’t work, and getting zero in support for a truly worthwhile project.
OSS Foundation needs support to make this movie. If anyone out there knows anyone that can fund a production that will actually get conservatives on board with the problems and the solution set, please contact me at https://ossfoundation.us/
And by the way we even need money to update the web site.
I started working in Hollywood back in 1979. I’ve done probably around 2000 projects in the trenches of production development. I’ve worked in radio, tv, record and concert production and feature film. When I was a kid I helped take care of the horses on Larry Butlers ranch near Fallbrook, where Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson would come visit. Larry was from old Hollywood. I’m not only experienced in production, I ran studios. One of which was one of the top 10 studios in Hollywood.
I did a short film for the National Academies of Science called ‘Climate Change: Lines of Evidence’. Which would have been much better if they understood production and communications better, and a proper budget would have helped. For that movie I was awarded the Distinguished Communications Award. I was told between the movie and brochure I helped them with I had done the best communications they had ever put out. I was also told I am the only person to receive the award that was not a member of the academy.
NAS asked me to make a second movie. I told them I can’t afford to make another movie for them. They said they will get me more money and better contracts and encouraged me to keep working.
You see, all told, they were paying me about five dollars an hour to do this work. I put in 3400 hours of production work on the projects they asked me to help with. My wife also put in a few hundred hours, and I was able to get others to volunteer in helping with the production. Funny thing is they brought me in on the tail end of having just spent 20 million on climate communications that did effectively nothing to slow the rise of CO2.
Side Note: I’ve watched the climate communications community sing the praises of all the progress being made now for 30 years. During that period I’ve watched CO2 continue to rise while climate scientists and UN representatives have told me what great progress is being made. Hope and wishes are not getting this job done. And atmospheric CO2 is still rising.
If they had asked Disney to do it, which NOAA did after my project, it would have cost a few million as they would have charged 1000 to 2500 per production hour (depending on the level of production). Even a low end budget would have come to around 1.6 million for the work. NOAA did give Disney, I think it was a 20 million budget. That also did nothing to stop CO2 rise.
Well they (NAS) promised more contracts and money and asked me to start on the next movie. But I could not finish it. After 2 and a half years, I was getting close to personal bankruptcy. I told them I had to stop working on the production. We scheduled a meeting to discuss this with Greg Symmes and Kevin Hale at NAS.
The contract they originally gave me (and all subsequent contracts) said they would provide me a script (apparently because this is required as the material must come from them). Nancy Huddleston was in charge of this and is the one I worked with through out the project. Mind you, Nancy, as soon as the fist contract was signed asked me to just make a movie. No script. She sent me a bunch of NAS publications and said go for it.
From day one, NAS was in breach of contract. The first thing Nancy asked me to do in each case, was for me to help her create the script. So we would bounce ideas, she would do a lot of write up, that was often wrong, I would correct. This happened over and over again. I estimate as many as 2000 times.
So, in the beginning, I roughed out a movie. Nancy, having now experience with movies and storyboarding, rejected it. Then we started attacking the project. After a year and a half we put out a move that was not too far off from the original idea I had presented. Just before the deadlines release date Nancy asked me to cut a certain sequence a certain way. The deadlines was set. NAS already announced the release presentation date.
I knew there was not even enough time to tell Nancy I can’t cut it that way because it would not communicate anything to anyone. So I cut it the correct way.
Just prior to release Nancy reviewed the movie and told me I did not do it her way, but that it was too late now so we released it with my final cut.
Side Note: When we finally released the first movie Nancy told me she knows I was mostly responsible for the script, but in the credits her name had to be first, because otherwise it won’t look right, and she would look bad.
This is only one example of the problem (there were hundreds of similar issues): On day one I told Nancy that NAS was doing this all wrong. This is a top priority communication that needed more budget and higher level involvement. Nancy was not a climate scientist.
The NAS Phone Call:
We scheduled a phone call with NAS to discuss the issues at hand. Ralph Keeling asked to be on the NAS call with Greg and Kevin, myself and my co-producer Monika (my wife, who had donated countless hours to the production).
Greg Symmes responded:
Because the purpose of this call, as we understand it, is to discuss a contract dispute between you and the Academy, Kevin and I need to speak to you directly without others on the call who are not parties to the dispute. It is therefore not appropriate for Dr. Keeling or your wife to join the call.
Kevin and I look forward to speaking with you later today.
Ralph asked me what I thought that meant. I said ‘they just want to fire me’.
On that call with NAS, after I outlined how they had been in breach of contract during the entire production and had already broken multiple additional promises. Greg informed me that NAS would not sue me for not completing the second movie that had brought me personally to the brink of bankruptcy. And there is more to this story, but I’ll no go there because it gets pretty wild.
The frustration level was so high I ended up having a Transient Ischemic Attack (mini stroke).
All in all, NAS treated me exactly like Donald Trump treats his contractors.
– Take the product
– Don’t pay for the product
– Make promises that won’t be kept
– Claim I broke the contract and did not deliver
– Threaten to sue me.
– And drive me toward bankruptcy so I could not afford to proceed.
The most ironic part was when Nancy Huddleston had the audacity to say to me “You know, it’s an honor to work for the NAS”.
Too that I say: ‘Spoken like a true Trump.’
So for all you frustrated climate scientists and communicators out there that are bummed they can’t get the right wing to listen, try to understanding my frustration when I can’t get the liberal left wing and the National Academies of Sciences on board with communications that will ACTUALLY WORK for the target audience in convincing the right wing.
I’ve even had others in the climate community actively try to prevent my work.
And if that wasn’t enough to be frustrated about. I have a measured IQ of 163. That’s higher than the estimated IQ’s of Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein. And I have not raised one single penny for my OSS Foundation work, which as successfully reached 1.8 million climate skeptics.
Having a high IQ is not the end all be all though. It only really means one is good a puzzles. But give a high IQ person enough relevant information is the scope of a problem and that is indeed a powerful tool.
So I say again. If anyone out there actually wants to see meaningful progress in climate communications help OSS find the money it needs to get the communications done that need to be done to get the right wing on board so we can all get the policies we need.
Will this ever happen? I don’t know. So, yeah, I feel the frustration.
Derek Tyburczyk says
The climate fear mongering, isn’t going to convince anyone. This reply isn’t directed toward you, personally. I may say I think humans are impacting the climate, is it the imminent catastrophe that is claimed? I cannot say with any degree of certainty. There is a lot of arrogance on this so called debate.
Where there is arrogance, there can be no humility. To exchange ideas for public policy, there needs to be less judgment, upon those whom we disagree with. Because you or I, believe, only satisfies our self interests, and soothes our ego. Public discourse, on this and any number of issues, seems binary, and reductive. No possibility for subtlety, or nuance. I will let you return to your polemical discussion, and be sure to prop up your righteous self, by denigrating others whom you disagree with, That should ease the terrible burden, of being so certain.
Barton Paul Levenson says
DT: The climate fear mongering, isn’t going to convince anyone.
BPL: There is something to fear.
DT: is it the imminent catastrophe that is claimed? I cannot say with any degree of certainty.
BPL: Those who are qualified can, and have.
DT: There is a lot of arrogance on this so called debate.
BPL: It’s not a debate. One side is right and the other is wrong.
DT: Where there is arrogance, there can be no humility. To exchange ideas for public policy, there needs to be less judgment, upon those whom we disagree with.
BPL: Public policy on this issue in no way depends on judging anybody. It’s all about incentives and investment.
DT: Because you or I, believe, only satisfies our self interests, and soothes our ego. Public discourse, on this and any number of issues, seems binary, and reductive. No possibility for subtlety, or nuance.
BPL: Concern trolling doesn’t help, either.
DT: I will let you return to your polemical discussion, and be sure to prop up your righteous self, by denigrating others whom you disagree with,
BPL: Who wants to bet he doesn’t see it?
DT: That should ease the terrible burden, of being so certain.
BPL: I’m certain that the Earth orbits the sun, and not the other way around. I don’t find that a terrible burden. Do you?
John P. Reisman says
Barton has a pretty solid understanding of what is going on. Think about this. Just because you think differently does not mean you are correct.
Truth is the facts don’t support your soft, even sophist, arguments. You need to look deeper and more carefully.
You also seem to lack humility in your argument. You are making assertions that are not supported by strong evidence.
Your assertion regarding ego is generally non sequitur. And it’s not about fear mongering, it’s about addressing validated risk factors. It’s also about developing policy that helps manage risk.
Keep in mind there are short and long term issues regarding global warming.
As for your polemic comment, that’s a great set up to say if someone responds to you in a negative manner to your comments you can then say ‘oh see they rely on polemics not science’. It’s a sophist straw-man.
My advice: study more, guess less.
I watched the movie with delight. It was overdue. As a consulting geomorphologist with geology and climatology background I give many public presentations, typically to warn people of pending disasters (in my case floods, debris floods, debris flows and other types of landslides), or forensically after disaster has struck. Lately (and increasingly), post-fire debris flow hazards keep me busy. Not an easy quest to tell people who were evacuated from fires and allowed back to their homes (that didn’t incinerate) that there is another looming disasters waiting. And greeted (sometimes) with incredulity, and sometimes with telling eye rolling when I narrate that the situation they are finding themselves in is indeed strongly enhanced by global climate change (the whole package: rampant beetle infestations [reduced periods of very cold weather], prolonged droughts, higher summer temperatures and an increases in both frequency and magnitude of high intensity rainfall). I have been called “incompetent” and other names because of the understandable aversion to believing such dire predictions (especially in cases where no funding mechanisms are in place to reduce risk). My counter is not to shoot the messenger. What has helped is the analogy that when one goes to see a doctor because of some symptoms, would one want the doctor to say some niceties one wishes to hear, or simply the truth (after appropriate diagnoses)?
Here is a lovely YouTube link that condenses the issue discussed herein and will hopefully make you all laugh.
Kevin McKinney says
Reboot in progress?
“Don’t Look Up” gives as yet another clear example of leadership failing to rise to the occasion”
I’m anxious to know what Gavin (and others too) think ‘leadership rising to the occasion’ would actually look like. How would we recognize that leadership if we saw it?
How would COP26, the media, climate science engagement and the world be different?
In the meantime, I believe we need more systems thinking – in government, in media, in business and in all of us – to better hold our leaders and decision-makers accountable.
Each of us is a complex system, living the entirety of our lives tangled up within countless other complex systems: our families, our organizations, our communities, our cultures and of course our Earth.
That most of us (in the dominant global north culture) are never taught the skills for participating elegantly and responsibly in that complexity is a tragedy whose consequences are going to keep slamming us harder and harder and harder until we learn to change or are no more.
We underestimate ourselves and each other as a result – both our ability to do good and be whole – and our potential for harm. Empires might crumble if a true and deep systems awareness swept the world.
The Power of Multisolving for People and Climate | TEDx 2019 | Dr. Elizabeth Sawin Co-Director of Climate Interactive, a think tank that applies systems analysis to climate change and related issues.
Ray Ladbury says
I think perhaps it would include a lot more sincere discussion of what each nation can accomplish and w whole lot less, “Nuh-uh. Not us. It’s not our problem.”
COP26 was an utter embarrassment where global leaders revealed themselves for the poseurs we already knew them to be.
RL. Yes the global leaders are poseurs, but they are only reflecting the views of the vast majority of people, who are equally poseurs on the climate issue. Political leaders wont do anything differently on climate until they sense that the public are getting really genuinely serious about the climate thing, and might not vote for them. Leaders obsess about political polls like we watch climate trends.
This is the real problem:
thx Ray, good points. There is long way to go.
Barton Paul Levenson says
The reviews on professional review sites seem to range from “mediocre” to “awful.” And this is by people who agree with the message. Check out IMDB.
Fascinating. You just did what they were mocking all the time in the movie. :-)
Barton Paul Levenson says
Some of us pay attention to reviewers, zebra. These are people who watch movies and comment on them for a living. Their opinion seems to be that the movie is well-intentioned but badly crafted. I don’t think the movie itself had anything to say about film reviewers.
Lighten up, dude. If you are interested in what the influencers are saying, have at it.
For me, the streaming service thing represents a kind of paradigm shift; I don’t need to get recommendations from friends or critics to give something a shot… I’ve already paid for it, and there’s that marvelous fast-forward button for overdone special effect scenes, and so on. Postmodern aesthetic interaction at its best.
Each to his/her own taste, eh.
Zebra: “Each to his/her own taste”
So … that.’s why you mocked BPL for his “taste” (his being interested in the opinion of the experts) ? And when he challenged the premise of your contempt, you dismissed it with … “, Lighten up, dude” ?
Zebra: Fascinating. You just did what they were mocking all the time in the movie. :-)
Wasn’t the movie also mocking “skeptics” – you know, a taxi driver who thinks he knows more about COVID than an epidemiologist, or a Victor who thinks he knows more about climate than climate modelers, and, in fact, who dismisses these experts by throwing them into the same category as the Kardashians. i.e.: “influencers”, while people interested in their opinion as the Internet sheep following the “influencers”.
Reminds you of anybody?
Attacks by a 50 Cent Army are fast, invisible and devastating. But they must be ignored for a while. Archives become valid over time.
Susan Anderson says
Since the professional “pushers” of entertainment are all about sensation, violence, s*x, and money, that’s rather a recommendation than otherwise. They may “agree with the message” but they aren’t ready to give up all their mod cons and the source of their income. Kind of like social media these days.
You may not remember it, but Leonardo diCaprio did a very serious movie that almost vanished without trace – probably the former guy and his collaborators did something disgusting that week that captured all the headlines.
Before the Flood – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbEnOYtsXHA
John P. Reisman says
Barton, as you know I also agree with the message and I ran one of the top 10 recording studios in Hollywood. From a directorial perspective this is a somewhat frivolous film. The director did this though because he wanted it and obviously thought it was a good idea to do all the intercuts out of the story flow to show what he wanted to show. I grant you that was not the worst idea but if I had done it I certainly would have used the concept differently.
To Zebra and others, I would say, non sequitur argument. That’s not what Barton is doing. He’s pointing out what Professional Hollywood critics are pointing out. It’s a bad movie. The production levels are very high, cinematography was adequate I certainly would have tried some more dramatic camera work in some instances combined with script adjustments to make scenes better.
Here’s an example fix on a problem that is in multiple scenes in the film:
Referencing an article about the scientist that made sure the film was scientifically accurate. It was not.
But the directer clearly made a conscious decision for dramatic effect to not be scientifically accurate, and in the process made the move less good, or worse. And I’m including the scientific context, the cut and the script in this assessment.
In the beginning of the movie we see an astrophysicist finding a comet tracking across the plane of view on a monitor. Dramatically so. Even though Earth is moving into the path of the comet, for the comet to hit Earth, it would not be traveling at such a perpendicular angle if it was going to hit Earth.
Around 1:35 our first glimpse of the comet. It has a tail slightly off to the right.
At 1:37 we see the tail with an even longer tail to the right
at 1:38 scientist character says: “it has a long streak coming off of it, that’s the comets tail.” At that point they are showing a much more dramatic tail.
At 1:47-48 the comet now has an extremely pronounced tail off to the right. But by this time it is a prominent NEO and you would have seen the tail decrease to zero deflection as it approached Earth.
In these multiple cases, the director wanted to show the pretty comet trail. The Science advisor may have told him that’s not what it would look like. But the director would have said but this is the way people see comets.
The most interesting thing here is that this was a chance for a teaching moment in the script.
All the directer had to do was have another character say, but I thought comets had tails.
Then the scientist along with angle change, or a zoom in, could have said, No, that’s only for comets that are passing by. You can’t see the tail because its coming straight at us.
With a music rise on a cello and cut to reaction shot of greater fear and realization. You could have improved the science and the dramatic impact of the communication.
I can pick apart other scenes that could have been made more realistic and more dramatic though. But hey, it’s not my movie.
John P. Reisman says
I did not context the first post properly. So here’s a bit more:
It depends on whether or not the comet is coming toward you from the front or the back. or from closer to the sun or further. If from the back you can see more of the gas and dust trail.
From the front you have a different speed of collision and a different optical view.
In the movie, when they show the scene of the comet with large a gas plume tail and a dust trail (from the Trumpian gathering, where they have a guy saying hey they lied to us.), it is as if the comet is practically parallel. to Earth. At that point the comet has to be going around the same speed to arc in and hit Earth with a glancing blow. A frontal direct impact would have, and no I’m not an expert on this, but for story a direct frontal blow would have been solidly convincing for an extinction level event as depicted..
If from the front, you could have had much better science drama. By cutting on the pretty animal pictures, you could have added more NASA drama (like they did in Armageddon). More scenes of officials calculating the trajectory could have added even more context. And added drama.
Just a few adjustments and cuts from screen time would have freed up space for additional science scenes that would have strengthened the film.
One thing is interesting, The Milgram ‘Argument From Authority’ still applies. More official scientist scenes can help the drama.
By adding new script to create additional lean in moments, your increase the communication capacity of the film as well.
The comet itself is one of the characters. I would have treated that differently. There are typical story devices that are used but I think could have been used more effectively.
I’m not sure the science advisor really was leading the director, or the director simply using the science advisor.
Had I been directing, I would have asked a lot of questions of the advisor and then written story around the comet and used that to solidify the importance of the science itself. While designing script around that as well.
I know they were doing farce here, but I do think it could have been integrated better.
I also know how difficult it is to see the whole thing in your head in a production.
There’s an old Hollywood line that applies: There are a million ways to do it, a hundred ways to do it right, and three really awesome ways. SO typically, there are better ways to do it.
BTW they production design and lighting was great, the acting followed the farcical manner of the script. With the material they had the actors did a good job. I just wish they tied more juicy science into the storyline.
Carl Ellström says
Shouldn’t the tail just point away from the sun? It doesn’t matter whether it points away from Earth or not. The comet will not go opposite to the direction of the tail.
Paul Pukite (@whut) says
I thought the same thing in regards to the comet’s tail — they typically have these highly elliptical orbits and spend most of the time at the outer reaches of the solar system, so the only way it could hit the earth from that perspective is if the earth traversed into its path. Yet I did appreciate the mention of ephemeris, which is exactly the data source (provided by NASA JPL) to estimate the path of all the solar system orbits.
John P. Reisman says
It was a disconnect in a few shots of the comet. The final shot shows a direct impact trajectory, which of course does not match the side view shots.
Kevin McKinney says
I like your idea.
John P. Reisman says
Thanks, I of course would have done quite a few scenes differently. They use what are called cheat shots in the beginning of the movie, but the angles and lenses they used actually detracted from the efficacy of the cheat shots. There was a lot of room for improvement in the production. Strange they did not catch that.
JB Northwest says
I watched the movie with my kids. I had assumed it was a TV show or miniseries and was shocked when it ended. I guess i should have been suspicious given production values and run time, but even my kids said “no more episodes??”
Mark A. York says
In the ’90s I was in both comet catastrophe movies: Deep Impact and Armageddon. Both were about direct missions to avert the disaster but the political intrigue stemmed for a lack of good scientific knowledge ar first and when they had it it had to kept secret for several months to avoid panic. We’ve seen this downplaying recently i regards to the pandemic. We don’t have the luxury of winning a lottery for shelter space as they people in Deep Impact did. Who lives or dies is decided by the stream of catastrophes we see every week. The climate problem comes from the inside.
Richard the Weaver says
“Because if there really was nothing to be done, why bother to communicate about it at all?”
Richard: Have you seen any Science Fiction lately where the odds of survival aren’t a rounding error at best?
You folks in white coats need to beat (as in gather more eyeballs more times) that movie. Both story and Story compete for attention.
Susan Anderson says
I liked this take:
I’m a climate scientist. Don’t Look Up captures the madness I see every day
A film about a comet hurtling towards Earth and no one is doing anything about it? Sounds exactly like the climate crisis
“The movie Don’t Look Up is satire. But speaking as a climate scientist doing everything I can to wake people up and avoid planetary destruction, it’s also the most accurate film about society’s terrifying non-response to climate breakdown I’ve seen.”
Bill Henderson says
How about the realization that almost everybody is in society-wide denial? Like it is still possible to cut emissions by half by 2030 by building more renewables; half the cars on the road will be EVs by 2030.
And that many if not most climate scientists in America are stuck in denial too.
Kari Norgaard’s implicatory denial : The climate science facts are not denied or re-interpreted, but instead “the psychological, political or moral implications that conventionally follow” from those facts are denied or ignored. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/living-denial
Rowson’s stealth denial: People accept that climate change will bring about an inevitable calamity but live as if this reality did not exist, by disavowing the obligations and consequences that such acceptance entails.
Hoexter’s soft climate denial: climate change isn’t denied but ignores that anthropogenic global warming is, in fact, a real existential emergency and catastrophic. [Esp good at explaining governmental reticence.]
Davos and enabler clusters and Build Back Better:
Thanks for the good refs. Inspiring and yet for little effect years later no matter how wise or true.
This caught my eye from 2014
We are living in an age where people feel that ethical appeals, more generally, are felt to be a hindrance to living one’s life unencumbered by obligations to others, that ethics competes with and impedes the light sense of freedom that is one of the sought-after states of mind in our time. Often this sense of freedom is defined by many throughout the developed and developing world as a choice of a variety of consumer goods for immediate or near-term consumption. The attachment to near-term pleasures can even turn into a form of climate nihilism, a philosophical rejection of ethics in favor of sensuous pleasure über alles. Nihilism’s formal severance from ethical considerations in turn leads ultimately to an acceptance or enactments of varying degrees of psychopathy/sociopathy and eventually to the collapse of civilization.
Nothing has changed in the Democrat party since 2014 either:
“While some of the defenders of the fossil fuel industries deny climate change, there are others like President Obama and those who support his energy policy, who simultaneously admit that climate change is a problem and continue encouraging the expansion of fossil fuel extraction and therefore its ongoing use. …. the stance of Obama and others, that they are against global warming but for the building of new pipelines, are the protestations of fossil fuel addicts, who haven’t yet confronted their addiction.
“soft climate denial” comes served with many helpings of hypocrisy.
Barton Paul Levenson says
BH: How about the realization that almost everybody is in society-wide denial? Like it is still possible to cut emissions by half by 2030 by building more renewables; half the cars on the road will be EVs by 2030.
BPL: What do you recommend instead?
Bill Henderson says
Read my Climate Mitigation ’21 into ’22 oped BPL
Mr. Know It All says
First thing that needs to happen to convince people to the AGW side is to present the math and physics on a website open to all. I think that would be a good start. Transparency of the science and math, starting out with the basics of heat transfer, radiation physics, etc.
I’ve started looking at BPL’s planetary temperature calculation from last month, but I’m a little busy so it may be awhile.
BPL, my first comment on paragraph 1 (that’s as far as I’ve gotten, HA) is that you might want to include the second graph down in this link showing the spectrum from earth and from the sun with the division near, I think you said 4 microns or 0.4 microns (from memory, so could be wrong):
Second graph down:
“First thing that needs to happen to convince people to the AGW side is to present the math and physics on a website open to all. ”
You go on repeating this request, endlessly. As you have been told before, endlessly, there are dozens of books available. The original paper written by Svante Arrhenius that is free to download. I showed you this before.
But I doubt that your plan would even work. 95% of people wouldn’t understand the maths and physics, and don’t have the time to study it.
Plenty of websites already explain the basic physics of climate change in laypersons terms. NASA’s website does a good job on this. There is no real half way house between this and the detailed maths and physics.
It comes down to who people believe. The 95% of climate scientists who say humans are altering the climate, or the cranks, contrarians and people funded by the fossil fuel lobby.
Stephen Berg says
KIA, your mindset would deny the existence of gravity. You don’t have to do any of these calculations. They’ve been done already and show a CLEAR AND PRESENT INCREASE IN GLOBAL TEMPERATURES SINCE THE DAWN OF INDUSTRIALIZATION! For Pete’s sake, just shut up!
“Don’t Look Up” mainly focused on the activities of elites – the politicians, public servants, scientists and their advisors. The nature of the film couldn’t look at the broader civil society, it’s social leadership and activist networks. eg Greta’s school strike, Friday’s for Future, XR, Insulate Britain, hunger strikes, Adani mine and fracking protest groups and those still to be created.
Today, we can see the emergence of climate solidarity all around us. We can see the emergence of new solidarities—self-preservation transformed to common preservation. But our solidarity is still blocked by a world order based on the war of all against all. One way to overcome our thrust to mutual destruction could be to transform the global climate movement into a global climate insurgency.
Maybe this is where it is all heading eventually? There is already talk of destroying / sabotaging fossil fuel infrastructure – ‘Fridays for sabotage’. Nothing else has made a difference.
I doubt “Don’t Look Up” will amount to anything more than a feel good moment of limited satisfaction. But it may be a catalyst for some to go further.
I quite like “Don’t Look Up” the movie. It’s a good piece of ‘art’ that says something true thru fiction. It seems to be triggering some self-reflection but it’s not going to significantly change anything and it doesn’t present practical solutions to anything. So I cannot see it changing people’s minds as to what they already think is the importance or truth of climate change and global warming. Let alone what to do about it.
If anything it will likely further harden the existing ideological ethical and moral dividing lines. I cannot see it changing anyone’s vote in the US in particular when there are bigger fish to fry.
A new NPR/Ipsos poll finds that 64% of Americans believe U.S. democracy is “in crisis and at risk of failing.”
“There is really a sort of dual reality through which partisans are approaching not only what happened a year ago on Jan. 6, but also generally with our presidential election and our democracy,” said Mallory Newall, a vice president at Ipsos, which conducted the poll.
Nearly two-thirds of poll respondents agree that U.S. democracy is “more at risk” now than it was a year ago. Among Republicans, that number climbs to 4 in 5.
Overall, 70% of poll respondents agree that the country is in crisis and at risk of failing.
With a likely insurgency Republican majority in Congress soon, a lame duck Biden presidency, an insurgency Republican majority of States, frankly it’s hard to see climate issues getting much traction for the rest of the decade. So careful, and #Don’t Look Sideways
Andy Revkin says
I’ve had a long day writing about the Colorado firestorm, so apologies if I’m misunderstanding. But your last line, Gavin, implies to me that you see global warming scientists in tornado-warning mode? I may have that muddled. If so, sorry. But David Grinspoon, in a section of his 2016 book on asteroid/comet threats as a bad proxy for climate change, really nails why that isn’t so – and why the climate crisis is far more the other category of science-informed, but not science-defined risk/response situation. Cited in my latest piece on the film here: Don’t Look Now, But an Asteroid or Comet Catastrophe is Not Like the Climate Crisis https://revkin.bulletin.com/don-t-look-up-but-an-asteroid-or-comet-catastrophe-is-not-like-the-climate-crisis
[Response: Sorry if it wasn’t clear. My point is that there are no pure ‘tornado politics’ issues. Not even tornado politics (see the comment up thread). All sci/pol issues involve values and where those are disputed, you have the potential for politicization and dysfunction. – gavin]
Andy’s bulletin article is worth reading as it covers a lot of important ground and perspectives
Including the twitter thread and insightful article by Stefan C. Aykut I covered here on Dec 31st
**It’s not enough to be right! The climate crisis, power, and the climate movement**
The starting point
must lie in the plurality of social realities, values and constella-
tions of interests. Acknowledging this plurality and the existence
and legitimacy of other perspectives regarding societal priori –
ties is key to the search for suitable allies in order to forge broad
societal alliances for change.
Only by generating broad societal support for change (Aykut et al.
2019) can those power structures that are entangled with the fos-
sil-fuel system be overcome. As long as these power structures
remain in place, it will not be enough to be right – no matter on
how much or conclusive scientific knowledge the claims of Fri-
days for Future or other protestors might be based.
It ties in with the research/analysis about “Power structures” in Isak Stoddard/Kevin Anderson et al recent paper – Three Decades of Climate Mitigation: Why Haven’t We Bent the Global Emissions Curve?
from the Summary Points
The failure of leadership, particularly from within high-emitting countries, sectors, corporations, and individuals, has locked in intra- and inter-generational suffering and long-term existential threats to livelihoods and ecosystems.
Entrenched geopolitical, industrial, and military power and associated mindsets are fundamental barriers to effective mitigation.
I believe the issue of ‘the people’ and the ‘the media’ being distracted by celebrity dramas and social media stuff is of little consequence and completely irrelevant to why nothing substantial has been or is being done.
Richard the Weaver says
Responding to Gavin’s response:
Good job, guy. I’m impressed at how much you, a mere genius has grown over the decade or so I’ve monitored this site. Apparently there is hope, assuming trickle down intellectual sanity is a thing.
Academic / University leadership?
You’ve seen #DontLookUp and now you’re wondering what your own role as researcher, scientist, educator, student is in the climate and ecological emergency? Come join us for this workshop at Lund and online, 25 Jan 2021 10-12 @ScientistRebel1
We’re excited that @CharlieJGardner is joining us for a talk Followed by a panel debate with scientists from + universities who have engaged in direct action and climate activism, reflecting on our experiences, and the possibilities and necessities for more activist science
From Publications to Public Actions: The Role of Universities in Facilitating Academic Advocacy and Activism in the Climate and Ecological Emergency
Charlie J. Gardner, Aaron Thierry, William Rowlandson and Julia K. Steinberger
The film, a U.S. centric dark comedy, exposes the possible extreme reaction of leadership that is heavily influenced by corporate ownership and political blindness. I agree with some here, it was difficult to watch as the “scientists” were treated with whimsical attention. The film could have shown more of an international reaction. Then again, it’s a U.S. production.
Avoiding cultural trauma: climate change and social inertia
2018 Robert J. Brulle a and Kari Marie Norgaardb
Climate change constitutes a potential cultural trauma. The
threat of cultural trauma is met with resistance and attempts to restore and
maintain the status quo. Thus, efforts to avoid large-scale social changes asso-
ciated with climate change constitute an effort to avoid cultural trauma, and
result in social inertia regarding climate change at individual, institutional, and
Social processes that maintain social order and thus avoid cultural
trauma create social inertia regarding climate change.
… we show that these same processes that create and maintain
social order also create the social inertia that inhibits rapid social change.
The movie is, in my view, a powerful demolition of the grotesque failures of public life.
As manufactured indifference ensures that we remain unheard, it becomes ever harder to know how to hold it together. I cry most days now. – George Monbiot
Bill Henderson says
Thanks for the Brulle Norgaard paper XRRC. Hadn’t seen it before but social inertia because climate MITIGATION is perceived as potential trauma is a very useful perspective.
BTW, you mention Thomas Homer-Dixon’s oped on American civil war but Tad also has a great powerpoint ‘Getting to enough’ as in getting to enough climate mitigation that should interest:
Thanks Bill. I will check out your ref, much appreciated.
I suspect the avoidance mechanism might be closely tied with individual cognitive dissonance predilections operating socially. Self correcting and self-censoring drivers across domains from families to board rooms to Party meetings to Editorial board meetings of what to print or say. Equally so in scientific circles, that’s obvious. It’s been spoken about a lot for decades.
“Don’t rock the boat people … lest I lose the plot completely” – kind of a thing. (Almost) everyone is heavily invested in their own world view. Some desperately so I believe.
Some related thoughts
and the notions around the “great replacement” and Jan 6 and so on. People truly believe these things as being unquestionably true to their bones. https://cpost.uchicago.edu/research/domestic_extremism/
None of them care two bits about global warming because of who is saying it’s an issue. The very same people who wouldn’t be seen dead inside a movie theater showing Don’t Look Up.
This i think a more thoughtful nuanced review of don’t look up and of the bigger picture from the new yorker.
Climate scientists have endorsed the film enthusiastically as an accurate representation of the obstacles they face in attempting to persuade politicians, the public, and even journalists of the urgency of the crisis. Dr. Michael E. Mann, a climatologist who is DiCaprio’s friend and adviser, calls it “serious sociopolitical commentary posing as comedy.” The climate futurist Alex Steffen tweets about negative reviews as “hot takes written by jaded culture workers from an alternate universe” where climate catastrophe isn’t happening.
Seems to me that, if the scientists don’t want film critics to quibble with the science, the scientists should stop meddling with the art. Yes, I’m joking; but, no, I’m not. The failure of topicality in “Don’t Look Up” is, not least, that the movie’s cynically apolitical view of politics contributes to the frivolous and self-regarding media environment that it decries—starting with the very celebrity power that the movie marshalls to score its points. Its blustery hectoring and colossally wide purview is most notable for its omissions and its blind spots. Its civic ambitions reflect, above all, the inside-Hollywood tunnel vision that it mocks.
I’m still curious about what a better standard of leadership would like if it appeared because I still cannot imagine what it would look like if it happened …. assuming it was to the general satisfaction of climate scientists the global warming activists and down to earth environmentalists and the average voters overall.
The other unanswered question I have been holding onto that the movie asks by default, is why not do a comedy / satire actually based on global warming and where we are today instead? Set it in a fictional future showing how it unfolded from here to there or from 1990 to there.
Is there really a need to make it all about a metaphor comet/asteroid disaster event, in order for it to work? Sounds weird to me. Is there really a logical / artistic need to do it that way versus how it actually is? Surely the reality of global warming intertwined with politics, the media, power and money and global geopolitics is scary enough of a future as it is.
Mr. Know It All says
No, AGW is not scary to a lot of people – many believe global warming is natural – it HAS occurred many times in the past. . An incoming asteroid is understood by almost everyone to be a serious and immediate threat.
If you are curious about what a better standard of leadership would look like, go look in the mirror – imagine that guy in the mirror suddenly stopping all FF use. If enough people did that it would make a difference.
Barton Paul Levenson says
KIA: many believe global warming is natural – it HAS occurred many times in the past.
BPL: And forest fires happened naturally for millions of years, so there’s no such thing as arson.
John P. Reisman says
Good point Barton. You know, I never believed in arson anyway ;)
Kevin Donald McKinney says
One word:. “Backdraft.”
Stephen Berg says
Ummm, no. Wrong, yet again, KIA. Also, no serious scientist considers the current period of global warming to be natural.
“Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a new report.”
Individual actions won’t make too much of a difference. There must be a major change at large scales to curb human-caused climate change.
Again, KIA, just shut up. You’re spewing nothing but drivel.
Ray Ladbury says
The astounding thing to me is that after many years on this site, you still have not managed to comprehend that we know exactly why the climate is warming–or rather why the troposphere is warming even while the stratosphere cools. Only greenhouse gasses do that. So the only question is where the greenhouse gasses are coming from–and science to the rescue again. We know the carbon is fossil because of the ratio of isotopes in it. And what is the only major source of fossil carbon entering the atmosphere? Fossil fuels.
Once again, you have revealed that your learning curve has a negative slope.
Mr. Know It All says
In the opinion of AGW scientists, will the net effect of the Tonga volcanic eruption be more, less, or no difference to AGW? Video doesn’t say, I’m just asking.
Stephen Berg says
KIA, just stop.
Paul Pukite (@whut) says
Since you don’t know anything Mr. Know It All, let me put in terms that you probably won’t understand anyways. What an event like the Tonga eruption gives climate scientists is a quantified forcing impulse which can be used to test atmosphere dynamics models. Since we can’t do controlled experiments in climate science like we can do in the lab with other scientific disciplines, these events are met with more excitement in terms of allowing for research advancement than with concern over possible long-term outcomes. You are welcome.
Ray Ladbury says
Short term, probably a slight cooling, but not a huge effect, as an underwater volcano doesn’t put as much sulfuric acid into the stratosphere.
Long term, no effect.
Thanks @ Bill Henderson for the “GETTING TO ENOUGH” reference
It’s really quite good. The intro is so very true – I have struggled with it for years.
The problem (continued):
“On one hand, changes that would be enough to make a real
difference—that would genuinely reduce the danger humanity faces if
they were implemented—don’t appear to be feasible, in the sense that
our societies aren’t likely to implement them, because of existing
political, economic, social, or technological roadblocks.
On the other hand, changes that do currently appear feasible won’t
be enough by themselves.”
Thomas Homer-Dixon, Commanding Hope: The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril
(Toronto: Knopf Canada, 2020), p. 35.
This was good, and got me intrigued:
These currently unrecognized interventions will become possible as societies—
their worldviews, institutions, and technologies—reconfigure themselves in response to
today’s converging environmental, economic, social, and technological stresses.
I like how Cascade explained things. It’s clever. Really made me think, so thanks very much.
Adam Lea says
All I have to do is find a venue near me that is showing this film.
Jim Eager says
I watched it on Netflix.
Susan Anderson says
A Netflix subscription costs $9.99 US/month. It comes with irritating popular “recommendations” that underline just how horrible media addiction and marketing’s encouragement of said addiction are, but you can gradually redirect them by choosing stuff you want to watch. You could also cancel the subscription. I had resisted rejoining Netflix but did so for this. For me, watching on my laptop is both convenient and irritating but it does solve the Covid problem.
Bill Henderson says
“Don’t Look Up” (part 2) – What I learned
By Bart Anderson, Resilence.org
The climate movie Don’t Look Up has a lot to teach activists, in fact anyone concerned about our future.
Bart has written a brilliant lesson on communications for activists based on the movie. Brilliant and so useful.
“… and the “we’re all doomed” message accomplishes nothing”
But that’s exactly the very core message of that movie, no matter what, lol, the asteroid hits planet earth and !BOOM!, despite what (movie) scientists say or do, there is NO positive message in that movie at all^^
You still do not understand that ordinary man is NOT acting according to science most of his ordinary day to day life- not even you do, do you?^^ It has been said many times on your forum that man is a “monkey”- I wouldn’t go that far at all as monkeys do not destroy the planet, but still:
Man is just man. Man got rational, even scientific mind, but that’s just not sufficient without ethics. In christian terms (no, I’m no christan, but antichrist, lol):
Man had bitten the apple of knowledge/consciesness, but he just can’t deal with the consequences, he just likes to gain knowledge for funnny power and funny money, while deliberately ignoring the consequences, while avoiding ethical behaviour at any cost. The world resp TPTB are ruled by greed and ignorance, not by science and THAT will never change, it’s all about preserving the Status Quo at any cost. As long as you don’t accept that you will never find peace- I say that as someone who dealt with that shit for roughly 35 years. Science without ethics, knowledge/science without wisdom is doomed indeed. There is a very true saying:
The home of human mind is within the (incalculable, too often errouneous) heart (NOT within cold, rational, scientific data).
You just staple data upon data while the funny caravan just keeps moving on until no more, !BOOM!.
Btw, does anyone think, Biontech/Pfizer, Klaus Schwab, the socalled “Great Reset” ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Reset ) ect is about “saving humanity”, about ethical behaviour?^^ Lol ! Think again. It’s just about saving the f* Status Quo once again. Neven, the admin of the arctic sea ice forum got it right 100%:
Neven lives in Austria, one of the most f* restrictive countries on earth now and he’s about to leave Austria because he just can’t stand that corona shit any longer.
Unnecessary correction of my 1st comment:
It’s not an asteroid, but comet Dibiasky, lol. Asteroids got no tail like comets have. Anyway, the final outcome will be exactly the same :)
Jeffrey Davis says
The film seems to me to be primarily a satire about the infantile nature of modern life. It would have been an entirely similar movie without the impending destruction from the comet. It follows the path of movies like Idiocracy back to Network and Being There — there’s even a ranting explosion by Leonardo DiCaprio that echoes the Peter Finch “Mad as Hell” speech in Network.
As for climate disaster, one of the elements holding us back is, of course, its glacial advance. It permits waves of regional calamities without focusing our attention the way the prospect of hanging is said to do. Those calamities produce wave after wave of refugees who become the face of the issue. Authoritarians, who don’t care about climate disaster — they’ll survive — are only too willing to treat the symptoms. That would make a much different movie. Much closer to Children of Men than Idiocracy.
Ric Merritt says
Since tornadoes are mentioned so prominently, I’ll indulge in a comment about that. Disclaimer: relevance to climate may be distant and complex.
I grew up in the US Northeast, and have lived for decades in southern Wisconsin, where tornadoes are fairly common in the hottest months, and are taken seriously. The worst ones can wipe out neighborhoods or devastate much of a small town. The county maintains warning sirens, which were new to me upon moving here.
There’s a wide range of tornado strengths. One can expect warning sirens several times a year, and warnings from the weather folks to be on the alert many more times per year. I don’t know the mean expected time between severe tornado strikes for any given point, but surely it is centuries at least. I mean, few homes built in the last century are gone or rebuilt because of tornado strikes.
These facts, combined with human nature, imply that a lot of people will not grab the kids and pets and decamp to the basement (if you have one) within 60 seconds of hearing a tornado siren, every time. Too many evacuations versus too few actual strikes, where you are.
Discussion of company policies and proposed revisions to those should at a minimum acknowledge the inevitable tradeoffs. You can be sure Jeff Bezos and others with power are already thinking about them. Close the business during a tornado watch, or allow employees to go home? Note that once the tornado is actually spotted, that’s too late for travel, and you’ll do better to shelter as best you can. A tornado watch (conditions are ripe, but nothing spotted yet) can last much of the day. (For all of you enraged corporate detractors, kindly read what I actually said, and do not attribute things I did not say to me. For example, I did not say that current corporate polices are fine and dandy.)
Yeah, climate situation is quite different, despite some common elements.
Susan Anderson says
They were forced to stay at work as a tornado bore down. Would a union have saved them? https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/dec/16/tornado-amazon-kentucky-candle-factory-workers-died
In fact, the tornado swarm was predicted well in advance (more than one day), and both factories could have closed. They lost anyway, but they condemned workers who needed their jobs. In earlier actions, Amazon cheapskated in building the warehouse, and deregulatory pushes had weakened building requirements as well.
One might say the “system” is rotten and getting worse. Billionaires gotta cheapskate.
Mr. Know It All says
Do you have a link showing how “deregulatory pushes had weakened building requirements”? Of particular interest would be information showing reduced building requirements that would have affected the facility in question. I’m betting you can’t find it. Please prove me wrong. I love being wrong as you all know, so no comments from the peanut gallery are needed.
Mr. Know It All says
Yup, I’ve been in hundreds of tornado warnings while growing up in the midwest in the 60s. You try to stay alert and only go to the basement if one might hit at any second. Only went to the basement once or twice and we didn’t get hit. To you MKIA haters: “sorry about that.” :)
If you spot a tornado, and it’s a long way away and you can tell which direction it’s moving, you could drive away if you don’t have a basement. Not a risk-free activity, since cars provide less protection if hit, but tornados move fairly slowly so getting away woulud not be hard IF roads are clear.
TYSON MCGUFFIN says
Pictures were made to entertain; if you want to send a message, call Western Union.
Samuel Goldwyn https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Goldwyn
Jim Eager says
That incredibly shallow quote is an insult to all film makers, to creative artists of all types.
Samuel Goldwyn was not a film maker or artist, he was a film producer, a businessman.
Barton Paul Levenson says
TYSON MCGUFFIN says
The film cost ~$74 million to make, of which $35 million went to the headliners DeCaprio and Lawrence; so, yes it is a business, the entertainment business.
Greta Thunberg has been more effective at sending the right message without the need to entertain, for the most part, on a much smaller budget.
TYSON MCGUFFIN says
The film cost ~$74 million to make, of which
$35$55 million went to the headliners DeCaprio and Lawrence;…
Jim Eager says
Art, or film, without a message is just vacuous eye candy.
– TYSON MCGUFFIN: “Pictures were made to entertain; if you want to send a message, call Western Union. Samuel Goldwyn”
Jim Eager; “Art, or film, without a message is just vacuous eye candy”
I agree with you Jim on that. But you realize that you were discussing with a joke. And a movie joke at that ;-)
“ Mc·Guf·fin /məˈɡəfin/ “an object or device in a movie or a book that serves merely as a trigger for the plot.”
Jim Eager says
It’s not about this film, Tyson, it’s about that stupid quote.
TYSON MCGUFFIN says
Here’s another quote for you: You know you’re over the target when you start catching flak.
“Mc·Guf·fin /məˈɡəfin/: “Here’s another quote for you: You know you’re over the target when you start catching flak.”
By this logic – Trump was right when he said on Feb.26, 2020 about his response to COVID: when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”
Here’s another quote for you: “Witty saying proves nothing”.
Richard the Weaver says
Piotr: So, would you say that 1 American is more deserving than 2 Chinese or 7 Indians?
RtW: LOL. One American’s fingernail clippings are more deserving than ALL other humans combined.*
Just ask any REAL American.
* This is stolen from the official Israel position about Israeli discarded deitrus v Palestinian life.
Richard the Weaver says
RL. Yes the global leaders are poseurs, but they are only reflecting the views of the vast majority of people
RtW: Bull Effin Shit. The vast majority of people parrot what their leaders tell them to parrot. The vast majority of the rest of the people parrot what the opposition tells them to parrot.
As if the masses could come up with an original thought.
Disagree? I dare you.
RTW. I agree with your suggestions. However I was trying to say the politicians rhetoric on the seriousness of climate change and their proposed solutions is not matched by their actions, ( eg passing laws) and the SAME apples to the general public, their rhetroic is not matched by their actions (eg buying electric cars or bicycles etc). The whole issuse is still probably percieved as too far into the future to be worth worrying about. Its how most peoples peoples brains are built – unfortunately.
Wake up time will require some seriously nasty and truly shocking weather events and a lot of people dying. We have had some examples getting towards this, but not enough or big enough to reach a tipping point. Yet.
The same might apply if a comet / asterioid was heading towards us, but impact was perhaps a century away. If impact was a year or so away I suspect most people would probably be happy enough to pay taxes to solve the problem. Maybe a comet tax to shoot it down or deflect it off course. The interersting questions is how many people would still not want to contribute to the solution?
The critical infrastructure is very vulnarable these days, the KRITIS (= kritische Infrastruktur) folks in Germany got very nervous these days, see here for example, the complete IT of a german hospital is completely DOWN:
And the recent Windows 10 security updates from january 2022 are dangerously flawed ( sorry, in german, see here for a very good translator: https://www.deepl.com/Translator )^^:
What’s next? Global cyber war? I mean, global information war is already happening for roughly 2 years now…
If Gavin hasn’t read Richard Hofstadter’s The Paranoid Style In American Politics , he should.
Iif he has, he should give it a closer rereading:
Doctor Strangelove was a satire but On The Beach l, was not and between them they led to a dystopic film genre two generations deep that grows more stilted with every remake.
Ever since Eisenhower, not an electoral cycle has passed without the serial browbeating of audiences with the clear and present danger of immanent doom from everything from fallout and mutant ants to ozone depletion and a universal Flood. Hofstadter was a shrewd cultural observer , and his observations on the coevolution of propaganda and advertising in the first half of the 20th century apply as well to the Missile, Population, and Energy crises, and the escalation of visual rhetoric and semantic aggression attending the Climate Crisis that Hollywood has been celebrating since the days of Soylent Green and Planet of the Apes.
Erstwhile Climate Communicators should note that as meme recycling continues and scripts grow ever more predictable, the risk of self-satire increases. Network was by turns funny and terrifying . As an exercise in high budget virtue signaling, Don’t Look Up is neither.
I wonder if people who use the term “virtue signalling” are aware that they are virtue signalling?
If you change the order in which you refer to their colors, do your stripes signal differently ?
Oh oh, some comments of mine that had been published here are suddenly just gone, lol, that’s quite funny :)) You know, I like that as it spares a lot of my precious time once again. Facts do not need my advocacy and I will not hurry or make any great effort to spread any facts at all, because facts, the Truth will always win in the end, no matter what, with or without any comments of mine- I tell you where I learned that beautiful fact in the first place:
I learned it in a million climate discussions, especially discussions with climate deniers.
Now, that’s quite cool, isn’t it^^
Yeah, cool, very cool indeed. I always loved to be a complete nobody the very most, nothing to lose at all, hehe, so I will just go back to my observer- couch, just observing, totally relaxed, nothing to lose, just havin fun watching the final endgame ;))
See you all at the very end of that beautiful road one way or another ( no, you must not publish that final comment of mine neither, just feel free to do whatever you please with these black letters on white ground, I give a fuck anyway, lol).
Good luck with climate discussions and all!
Nemesis: @Gavin Oh oh, some comments of mine that had been published here are suddenly just gone
And good riddance. Maybe you shouldn’t have overdone it – by portraying the oversight of an original as Gavin’s acceptance, if not endorsement, of your anti-vaxer crap. We have here enough noise from Victors and KIAs without having to deal also with their antivax brethren.
Along with the disappearance of you anti-Vax rant, disappeared my clever if I may say so ;-) response to it, but I am OK with it – without your original, people would have thought that I made myself a really absurd Strawman. ;-)
Mr. Know It All says
Who you calling anti-vax? I got my Donald John Trump shot. He was the one who made it possible to produce a vaccine in 9 months, 10 years less than normal, by removing the govt red tape. Don’t forget it.
KIA: “Who you calling anti-vax? ”
Read the post to which you are replying, Genius.
KIA” :”He was the one who made it possible to produce a vaccine in 9 months
A different president would have it done quicker, having not wasted months believing that
the virus will disappear like a miracle in a few days…
And if the memory has deserted you – let me help: from the horse’s mouth
You know, it’s strange indeed that my comments were published at first and then suddenly disappeared later on. I’ve never seen that in any forum at all. So it could be that “some” silent reader in the background didn’t like these comments of mine and you had to take them down. I don’t know. I’d have a lot more to say, but you know, it’s not about me, it never was about me, I found my peace and satisfaction in being just a complete nobody having nada to lose a long time ago already.
Whatever happened, I like you anyway in some sense. I wish you all the best, may the force be with you.
A very personal comment for you and the rest of the bunch… Facts, truth and all… Do you know how it started that I were after facts, Truth and all that all my life? It was pain, sheer pain from very early on, naked pain has whipped me to the truth… And you know what? When I found Truth, I found even more and ever more pain, lol… And in the end pain and joy melted together and I found Music… Music within, Music all around us, Music throughout the entire Universe. Man is not only science, not only rational brain, but deep within he is Heart, a beating, feeling Heart with all it’s pain and joy within man, within the center of the Universe there is a beating Heart. I love science, the very Laws Of Nature ( so much more than just mathematical formulas, physics and all) are uncorruptable under any circumstances, I fully trust in the Laws Of Nature 24/7, but real, full life, man, we are so much more than just numbers… yes, only Music can put Life in words in it’s fullest extend.
No science could ever come close to the Music.
Paul Pukite (@whut) says
I realized that the movie “Don’t Look Up!” can also be considered a treatise on scientific apathy. (1) A lowly graduate student. (2) A prof that hasn’t published in a long time. (3) A functioning bureaucrat heading a meaningless gov’t agency. Where were their colleagues? The important agency head Dr. Calder shot them down. One “NASA Scientist” and two other PhDs are listed in the credits (Dr. Lisa Inez and Dr. Talcamont) but they were the Nobel Prize-winning scientists backing the industrialist with technology to mine the comet.
Right. And the astronomy professor Dr. Randall Mindy betrayed his wife by having sex with that stupid tv slut from the “Daily Rip” show, lol, and he had a book “How to manage your money”, written by Janie Orlean, the President of the United States, at home on his desk ;)
Btw, did you know what’s behind the telephone number that the FEMA and BASH set up in that little tv spot where that typical american housewife says:
” I worry about my kids and their future (because of comet Dibiasky). Sure, the jobs the comet gonna create sound great… What if it’s not safe?” And then professor Dr. Randall Mindy enters the scene and says in a voice that inspires confidence:
” Right now millions of you having the same doubts and questions about the aproaching comet. That is why BASH cellular in conjunction with the Unnited States government is creating a new hotline, free of charge, to answer all of your questions. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, one of our scientists can be that friend we all need to lean on during uncertain times.” And then the phone number, set up by FEMA and BASH, appears on the tv screen showing the number you can call if you are afraid of that comet Dibiasky. Erm, some folks tried that phone number, in fact, it’s a f* sex hotline, lol:
Addendum to what I said about science and Music:
” “Art is the queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world. ”
– Leonardi DaVinci.
Lol, Leonardo DaVinci said exactly what I said about science and Music, he just said “art”, I said “Music” as Music is the queen of all arts.
Man will never act according to abstract science most of his real life in the bloody flesh- scienctists don’t, politicians don’t, artists don’t, ordinary people like me don’t. That’s why human TPTB fuck up climate mitigation, that’s why this world is a mess. But you know:
I’d rather prefer to burn in climate hell than in a zombie hell of total scientific/technological control ( see eg here: https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1392.0.html and here: https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,363.0.html ). It’s more than obvious:
Man can not handle science and technology adequately, man made a total mess on planet earth, he abuses science and technology more and ever more to gain control over man and mice and I swear:
He will not succeed, he will fail, the more TPTB are after power, after control, the more they will lose their funny power and control and I fuckin love that.
” “Many have died; you also will die. The drum of death is being beaten. The world has fallen in love with a dream. Only sayings of the wise will remain.””
Uhm, I found just one tiny, positive detail in the movie, remember:
Peter Isherwell, the oh so clever and greedy tech billionaire CEO of BASH, predicted Dr. Randall Mindy, the astronomy professor, would die alone, but Dr. Mindy didn’t die alone, he died together with his family, so the oh so clever tech billionaire CEO was wrong, lol :) Anyway, the overall message of “Don’t look up” is cristal clear:
… btw, I loved how Janie Orlean, the nacked, oh so powerful (and pussy shaved) President of the United States, were killed by the lovely Brontoroc :P
And in the end, when the “elite” arrived on the habitable planet, they were all completely naked, the tech CEO, the military guy, the US president… I like that. Just sheer, naked human beings, like in the old days when man lived on the trees in the rain forest, ugh ugh. I’ve never seen Meryl Streep naked before. Respect goes out for Meril Streep showing her aging, nacked body. Cool. What a lady. The “elite” should finally strip off their funny clothes and show themselves as what they truly are:
Not only TPTB are standing there naked, but the media are standing there naked as well these days like never before. What a surprise.
If I said or did anything wrong, then say so. Costs you just 2 seconds. Just say “shut about this or that” and I do as you please lightning fast. You know, it gets a bit boring here anyway, it’s still too cold, I am freezing, it needs to get a little hotter still, isn’t it so? Yes, it is so.
[Response: It’s simple. This is a climate site. Wild discourses on the state of modern medicine, immigration, communism, fascism, vaccines, covid, HAARP, the Kennedy’s, the Kardashians, etc. are just not on topic. And if they are combative and hostile, they’ll just get binned. – gavin]
Real science from real scientists of the British Medical Journal, one of the world’s oldest and most respected general medical journals ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_BMJ ), as of 19.01.2022:
You CAN NOT have real science without real data and transparency. Period.
Now talk again about fuckin HAARP, fuckin Kardashians ( whoever tf that is), communism, fashism and whatever might be to your liking…
This one’s for you and all you pretty scientists, tech CEOs, politicians, late saviours of the world and alike, !BOOM!:
” You can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”
– Abraham Lincoln
… just go on censoring my honest comments while babbling about “HAARP, the f* Kardashians ect” ( shit I NEVER said), just go on making a complete fool out of you and you will just prove that you are nothing but an empty shell from now on, You can rule your forum, but you can NEVER rule the Truth, facts, science, transparency, the Forces Of Nature. You will lose the battle, I swear. Make your choice and make it carefully:
Go with the Truth or go down.
… and, quote “this is a climate site…”, DO NOT deny the connection between the climate heating policy and the global covid policy I mentioned already:
You are no denier, are you? You are with NASA, but I am with the Forces Of Nature- let’s see how this will turn out^^
Your “HAARP” reference is one of the worst foul plays I have ever seen, you are associating me with “HAARP” bullshit, EVEN though I have NEVER denied the direct correlation between CO2 emissions and anthropogenic climate heating for many years here on your forum.
You think you can make me look stupid with such cheap tricks?^^ I expected more from you, you disappoint me deeply. Think again and think carefully:
You are a father. Now, is THAT the way you imagine the future of the children of this world?! A world that is permanently built on cheating and foul plays?! You and TPTB will never get away with that kind of foolish foul plays. NEVER.
Lol, you spent more than 2 seconds, more than appropriate indeed. Thx anyway.
I will come back, when the overall temperature will be much more suitable for beings like I am. See you by then.
Lol, I’m far beyond bothering, I realized a long time ago this world is meant to let go, not to hold on to ;)
It will just get hotter and hotter and hotter.
But you don’t let go of this world. You live in your little apartment typing on your computer reliant on this world and the things it produces, while making snarky comments about the system that produces these things If you really let go you would go and live alone in the bush and grow your own food. IMHO you practice double standards.
” A good friend will always stab you in the front.”
― Oscar Wilde
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
― Oscar Wilde