by Judith Curry
Some thoughts on the movie Don’t look up.
If you haven’t seen the movie it’s worth watching (available on Netflix).
The film belongs to the genre of black satirical comedy, with the participation of a large number of A-list actors. It is about scientists giving a 6-month warning about a comet hitting the Earth and mass extinction. . The story tells how politicians, the media, scientists, the public and space entrepreneurs react to this. The director, screenwriter and lead actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) all say that this is a satirical film about climate change.
If you skip this moment where the movie is supposed to be about climate change, you can enjoy it for what it is. The style is reminiscent of Dr Strangelove (but not nearly as good). The A-list actors deliver interesting performances, but I wouldn’t expect any of them to be nominated for an award (most likely the award would go to the theme song, sung by Ariana Grande) . The movie is fast-paced, plays in amusing patterns, and is a lot of fun.
However, if you are looking for some great allegory about climate change, its communication, our failure to act, and the ensuing existential crisis, you will. extremely disappointing and may not even think the movie is funny. The movie is about a risk that exists on a time scale of several months that you can actually see happening. Despite the rhetoric and claims that all extreme weather is caused by climate change, at the end of the day, very few lives are lost by extreme weather (let alone climate change). caused by humans).
There was considerable discussion on the film’s twitter, with climate scientists saying they ultimately felt heard and felt vindicated by the attention this was provided to their plight. in trying to effectively communicate the risk of climate change and implement their desired policies to prevent climate change. They seem to think that the moral of the movie is Tin Expert.
There is no scientific debate about whether the comet will actually hit Earth, when it will, or the dire consequences. However, throughout the film, every scientific institution lies about the risk – the head of NASA, the CEO of major technology, government officials, and finally the protagonist professor (Leonardo DiCaprio). The only scientist who maintains their integrity is a female graduate student (Jennifer Lawrence), who ends up packing grocery bags. Trusting experts is not such a good idea, when the end result is extinction.
The problem is what to do with the comet strike. This is where we find some meaningful analogies with climate change. The more pragmatic alternative is to use rockets to deflect the comet’s path from colliding with Earth; there is some belief that this may work based on experience with asteroids. Similarly, the pragmatic solution to climate change is adaptation, the development of nuclear energy and the development of better technologies. The competitive solution for comets is encapsulated in economic opportunity involving rare metals in comets, job creation and presidential politics. The same climate solution includes all kinds of complementary goals such as environmental justice, job creation, anti-nuclear weapons, anti-capitalist governance, punishing companies that use fossil fuels. jelly. The problem is that the complexity of competing solutions doesn’t solve the original problem and causes new (and even worse) problems.
The film is not about a simple battle between those who want to take action to solve the problem and those who don’t. There is really a lack of consensus among scientists, governments, etc. on what really should be done on this issue. This always happens when the problem has many facets and the solutions are technically challenging.
The fundamental policy challenge of climate change is that it involves making changes now for the sake of preventing much of the future harm to people living in other countries. . This challenge can be addressed by making technological breakthroughs that make these trade-offs less painful and easier to progress.
It’s much more interesting to interpret this film as part of a cinema about existential risk, rather than climate change. Comets are a great subject for this problem, especially since they are much harder to deflect than asteroids. Deflecting a comet would be a great endeavor for billionaire space cowboys (Bezos, Musk, Branson) to take on.
And what about surveillance? Does anyone have a plan for this? These real existential risks lie beyond ordinary political conflicts. We focus instead on the artificial risks of climate change, with solutions focusing on first-world perceptions of environmental justice and punishing fossil fuel companies. .