DiCaprio climate change film error-strewn Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition. Dr Tim Ball is an environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba On October 30, just 9 days before the United States election, Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s new climate change movie, Before the Flood, debuted on the National Geographic Channel. The film was broadcast in 45 languages in 171 countries and, until November 6, was available for free on YouTube (where it had over 9 million views), Twitter, Facebook, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, and Hulu. Like former Vice-President Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, DiCaprio’s film may very well become standard fare in classrooms across the world. Both DiCaprio and director Fisher Stevens were supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and, according to CNN, made it their goal to release the movie before the election. Like all politically-motivated communications, students should take the film with a grain of salt. Not only is the documentary’s bias obvious, but it is as error-riddled as the short film Carbon that DiCaprio released just before the 2014 UN Climate Summit in New York. Like Carbon, the actor’s new film is based on the highly debatable hypothesis that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activities are causing catastrophic climate change. Coal, oil, and natural gas, the world’s least expensive and most abundant energy sources, must therefore be turned off as soon as possible, DiCaprio says. He seems unaware that the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) lists thousands of scientific papers that either debunk or cast serious doubt on the climate scare. At the start of the film Leo asks United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “What specific message do you think is the most important?” Ban replies: “Climate change is coming much, much faster. We have seen such an extraordinarily extreme weather patterns.” DiCaprio nods in agreement. But they are completely wrong. Current rates of change are well within the bounds of natural variability. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that the statistical average of surface temperatures increased only 0.85 degrees Celsius between 1880 to 2012. Such modest warming is to be expected given that the Earth has been recovering from the Little Ice Age since the late 19th century. Humankind’s contribution to this relatively small temperature rise is obviously not a problem. According to NASA satellites, global warming essentially ceased in the late 1990s. Yet CO2 levels have supposedly risen about 10% since 1997, a figure that represents an astonishing 30% of all human-related emissions since the start of the industrial revolution. This contradicts all CO2-based climate models upon which global warming concerns are founded. Leo tells viewers that, when he was in his early twenties, he met with then Vice President Al Gore in the White House. Leo learned from Gore: “Almost everything we do releases carbon dioxide. And that leads to climate change. The polar ice caps will melt. The seas will start to rise. There will be more dangerous weather patterns, floods, droughts, wildfires.” DiCaprio concluded that Gore’s fears: “sounded like some nightmarish science fiction film. Except everything he said is real and its happening right now.” But Leo is wrong again. This is one of the few areas of agreement between the IPCC and the NIPCC. In 2012 the IPCC asserted that a relationship between global warming and wildfires, rainfall, storms, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events has not been demonstrated. The 2013 NIPCC report concluded, “In no case has a convincing relationship been established between warming over the past 100 years and increases in any of these extreme events.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website reveals that the incidence of extreme weather state records has been decreasing in recent years. No records were set in 2016 or 2015. In 2014, there was one. 2013, one. 2012, one. One must go back to the 1930s to find a time when state-wide extreme weather records were being set often. As human habitation increases in areas that were previously sparsely populated, there will naturally be more reports of extreme weather and more related insurance claims. But there is no convincing evidence of a rise in the incidence or severity of extreme weather. And it is the same with virtually all of DiCaprio’s other climate concerns. The current rate of sea level rise is less than one tenth that of 8,000 years ago. There are regions in the ocean where pH (a measure of acidity) varies more in a day than the most extreme forecasts for the 21st century, yet ocean life adapts. Arctic summer sea ice area increased almost a million square kilometers between 2012 and this year. Showing images of Republicans, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Senator Marco Rubio, as well as Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, DiCaprio complains: “half the people in office still don’t believe in climate change.” Republicans obviously know that climate changes. Otherwise, the Laurentide ice sheet would still cover a large portion of the northern United States. The glaciers that created Long Island and carved out the landscape of New York City, for example, disappeared thousands of years ago as the climate warmed due to natural causes. It is true that an increasing number of politicians do not believe that our greenhouse gas emissions are causing a global warming crisis. As demonstrated by the NIPCC reports, they have strong scientific justification for that stance. DiCaprio asks Miami mayor Philip Levine: “why do you think there are still such opposition about the science?” Levine answers, “I think it’s politics. I think it still has to do with lobbying and industry.” But the most powerful lobbying and vested commercial interests lie on the side of climate alarmism. The latest Foundation Center report (2010) shows that the California-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation alone donated more than one half billion dollars to climate change programs in 2008, over one hundred times as much as the average annual donation that the conservative Koch brothers have supposedly given to skeptics. The money being spent on climate change is incredible. According to the Congressional Research Service, between 2001 and 2014 the US Government spent $131 billion on human-caused climate change projects. They also allowed tax breaks for anti-CO2 energy initiatives totalling $176 billion. The San Francisco-based Climate Policy Initiative revealed that more than $1 billion is now spent every day across the world on climate finance. Sadly, only 6% of it is devoted to helping vulnerable societies adapt to climate change. The rest is spent trying to stop climatic events that might someday happen. These extraordinary costs are set to increase still further. Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, wrote in the Wall Street Journal on October 13: “At a cost of between $1 trillion and $2 trillion annually, the Paris climate agreement…is likely to be history’s most expensive treaty.” DiCaprio admits in the film: “The more I’ve learned about this issue… the more I realize how much I don’t know.” That is an understatement. Had the UN ‘Messenger of Peace’ spoken with any of the thousands of experts who oppose the climate scare, he would have realized that the real tragedy is the vast sums wasted across the world on this, the most expensive science deception in history. Oregon-based physicist Gordon Fulks explained that the climate campaign has “become a sort of societal pathogen that virulently spreads misinformation in tiny packages like a virus. CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea ice melt that is not occurring, for ocean acidification that is not occurring, and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.” DiCaprio’s new film is just another vector for spreading the virus. DiCaprio is correct in one respect. The late Bob Carter, former professor and head of the School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University in Australia, explained, “Climate change is a moral issue, and there is nothing quite so immoral as the sight of well-fed, well-housed Westerners assuaging their consciences by wasting huge amounts of money on futile anti-global warming policies, using money that could instead be spent on improving the living standards in developing countries.” Carter concluded, “Denying poor nations, many of whose citizens lack adequate sanitation, schooling, clean water, and health services, the finance to build inexpensive hydrocarbon-fired power stations, and who in consequence suffer millions of premature deaths every year, has been aptly described as technological genocide. And that is where the moral outrage should lie.” DiCaprio should make a film about it.
At a cost of between $1 trillion and $2 trillion annually, the Paris climate agreement…is likely to be history’s most expensive treaty