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Debunking climate myths with Leonardo DiCaprio's Before The Flood

Posted on 29 October 2016 by John Cook

On Sunday October 30, 9 PM EST, Leonardo DiCaprio's film Before The Flood will screen free online as well as on National Geographic. The film explores the causes and impacts of climate change, arguing for urgent action and a rapid transition off fossil fuels.

It will be streamed all week on Facebook, Youtube, Hulu, Playstation, and can be viewed on demand on Apple iTunes, Amazon, and GooglePlay. Here's more details on how to see the film and here's the trailer:

I was invited to contribute to, debunking some of the most common myths about climate change. Here are my pages on Leonardo DiCaprio's site:

We also embedded some key Denial101x videos in the debunkings, such as Consensus of Scientists and Daily & Yearly Cycle. is a rich website definitely worth exploring, with great info such as Brendan DeMelle's The Climate Denial Industry. I'm looking forward to watching the film on Monday...

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Comments 1 to 13:

  1. Hi John, your contributions are appreciated. Could you possibly attribute the concluding figure of your last "We have all the technology..." bullet? It appears to be  Figure 2 from The Solutions Project's: 100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water, and Sunlight (WWS) AllSector Energy Roadmaps for 139 Countries of the World Jacobsen, Deluchi, et al. 24 October 2016.


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  2. There is no global warming phenomenon caused by humans.

    Proof? Not one environmental impact study can predict the weather. Not one person studying weather patterns can get it right at all.

    If you show me someone, anyone that can get the weather prediction right, 100% of the time, all the time, then they are credible. Otherwise its a crap shoot. The differences between today and a thousand years ago is 1 degree fluctuation. Plus or minus 5 degrees. Global warming is a myth. This site is oil sponsored propaganda. How much did they pay you to publish this site? DiCaprio is a spokesman for US oil special interest. Canada's oil is dirty? All oil is dirty! Lol! It doesn't matter though. The truth will be revealed one day.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Blatant sloganeering. 

    [PS] This is a site to discuss the science of climate change. Demonstrating that you have very little knowledge of the science and only strawman arguments are not of any interest. Should you wish to change this, then the "arguments" and search box on top left is a great way find out about myths that you obviously believe. Try "Scientists cant predict the weather" and "Climates changed before". If you are only interested in bandying unsubstantiated conspiracy theories around then WUWT is the site for you not here.

    Final Warning

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can and will be rescinded if the posting individual continues to treat adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Moderating this site is a tiresome chore, particularly when commentators repeatedly submit offensive, off-topic posts or intentionally misleading comments and graphics or simply make things up. We really appreciate people's cooperation in abiding by the Comments Policy, which is largely responsible for the quality of this site.
    Finally, please understand that moderation policies are not open for discussion.  If you find yourself incapable of abiding by these common set of rules that everyone else observes, then a change of venues is in the offing.

    Please take the time to review the policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter, as no further warnings shall be given.

  3. Saw the movie. Unfortunately they got a lot of the science wrong. I am fearful the backlash will cause more harm than good.

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  4. RedBaron... Would you care to expand on what science you think the movie got wrong?

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  5. Starting at 51:00 all that is misleading regarding agriculture. I did find some other flaws, but I'll let others discuss the parts that were misleading in their fields of expertise. My field of expertise is agriculture. Yes agriculture is a big problem, but it certainly isn't the cow to blame, it's the feedlots and the vast acreage of corn and soy grown to supply feedlots and biofuel industries.  Feedlots and all factory farming is a emissions source for both CO2 and CH4, properly managed grasslands are a net sink for both. So why would they blame the cows unless rather than actually stick to the science, it was rather spun to fit a certain dogma?

    Some people might be swayed by spin, but when science is spun, it generally has a backlash later when people realise they were played for the fool. I would be much happier if they actually addressed the root of the problem than give ridiculous advise like just eat more chicken. LOLZ like a silly Chick-fil-A advertisement. :D

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  6. I was actually concerned they were going to overplay the beef thing much more. At least they didn't make the bogus claim that 51% of greenhouse emissions come from meat, like some do. They made the more rational and supportable claim that agriculture accounts for 18% of man-made CO2e (if I remember correctly).

    Overall, yeah, you can help reduce your carbon footprint by limiting how much beef you consume. 

    (I was thinking the same thing about the Chik-fil-A connection when watching. :-)

    I get my hackles up a bit when lifestyle changes get overplayed when the big nuts to crack are primarily systemic issues related to the sources of energy. It's terrible framing to say, essentially, "If you were to just behave as I'm saying you should behave then all will be well." It's a perfect way to get people to reject everything flat out.

    In all that could have gone wrong, I think they did a really good job of sticking close to the science and projecting the incredible sense of urgency we face.

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  7. Rob,

    Yes overall you can help by reducing the beef you eat, but you can help even more by simply chosing grass finished rather than corn finished. And we can help even more by not subsidizing the over production of commodity grains and converting that acreage back to grassland/savanna/forest depending on what the top successional biome is local to that region. And that strategy is the very best because grassland/savanna/forest all can support food and fiber production at the same time as supporting wildlife biodiversity. In most cases even more food and fiber per acre than commodity grains. Grasslands still support grazers and grain. Savannas still support both grazers and nuts, fruit, timber and omnivore species too. And forests can be managed as both timber and food forests. All it takes is good careful management and all 3 can become carbon sinks without disrupting the food supply or economies, actually improving both.

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  8. I think the difference is related to producer vs consumer, though.

    Few consumers are going to make the effort to specifically demand sustainable foods in the volumes that would make a difference. People have to eat and they essentially eat what is available to purchase.

    Careful and creative regulation could do a lot to shift the practices of producers in a manner that could have a significant effect much more quickly.

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  9. As it is system that corrupts man of course regulated markets are responsible: what is representative democracy if not just another system waiting to game those who participate in it?

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  10. says the film will be available for free on Natl Geog channels until 7 Nov.

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  11. Sunita Narain talks about a graph that she made of how Americans use 10 times more emissions than china (per person) and 34 times more emission than India (per person). This data to me seems flaw due to the population of both countries, with america have way less than both. China and India have about 1 billion more people than America so the number per person in India would of course be smaller.
    They also talked about how 300 million of people in India are without power. With this it is obvious that India is not as rich as the USA. So the graph she showed is correct but it is also blind siding the main truth of the subject at hand.

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  12. @jakerider @11

    The emissions are expressed per person. So, no, there is no flaw there.

    Are you trying to say the populations of India and China are way bigger so they emit large amounts? That is obvious. 

    Expressing emissions per person is a good way to show and compare relative consumption. 

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  13. jakerider @11,

    JohnSeers is correct about the merit of comparing nations on a per-person basis.

    I would add that you would also be on the right track to note that comparing per-person emissions within a nation also has merit.

    Fundamentally, the impacts of everybody's individual actions combine to become the future 'current days'. Regarding climate change impacts it is important to keep track of the negative impacts on a per-person basis. And it is important to understand that the negative climate change impacts need to be stopped. Negative climate change impacts are not sustainably reduced by a person who benefits from harmful fossil fuel use doing something helpful to try to counter-balance the negative impacts. There is a limit to the ability to off-set the negatives, especially as everyone aspires to develop to live like the highest status people if the highest status people continue to act in ways that create negative impacts, even if those higher status people all buy carbon-credits or pay a carbon-fee.

    Actions that counter-act the negative climate change impacts are helpful. But allowing continued fossil fuel use because of these accounted for off-sets is not sustainable. What is required is the rapid ending of the negative climate change impacts, along with implementing helpful corrective actions that are not potentially harmful, an example being reduced meat consumption with the meat that is consumed coming from helpful ways of growing and harvesting the meat.

    And it is important to understand that lower status people should be expected to aspire to develop to live like the higher status people do. The global comparison of regions or nations on a per-person basis can help identify where the most negatively impacting people are located. But what is really required is a comparison of inequity within the population, not between nations.

    The true focus of corrective effort needs to be on getting all the highest status people, the wealthiest and most powerful, to prove they deserve their status by proving they are the least harmful per-person people and the most helpful per-person people on the planet. It is absurd to believe that everyone freer to believe what they want and do as they please will produce this result, yet many wealthy and powerful people want that to be believed. Some people will responsibly self-govern their actions, but many people will be tempted to try to gain competitive advantages by behaving worse than others.

    Identifying nations with higher average per-person impacts can help identify who the least deserving wealthy and powerful people are. Nations with higher per-person negative impacts are bigger concerns for correction, especially if they also have higher wealth and power. Those higher per-person impacting nations can be the focus of efforts to reduce the total accumulated global climate change harm being done. And within those nations, the inequity of per-person status and negative impacts needs to be focused on. But it is fairly obvious that there can also be undeserving wealthy and powerful people in nations with lower per-capita average impacts.

    It is also important to understand that, fundamentally, it is very unlikely that fossil fuel use has created any sustainable helpful impacts. Fossil fuels are non-renewable. Therefore, a sustainable helpful impact would need to be something that does not require the continued use of fossil fuels.

    The resulting understanding is that sustainable societies and economies require the highest status (wealth and power) people to lead by example and be zero-negative impacting people who are also the highest helpful impacting people. And that requires proof that the way they became the higher status people did not produce significant negative results for anyone else, including future generations of global humanity. That leadership would set Good examples for everyone else to aspire to achieve.

    The richest and most powerful should also be expected to prove that they help the least fortunate develop sustainable decent basic lives. And fossil fuel use can be a way for the wealthiest to help the least fortunate, but only by a brief effective development transition through the use of fossil fuels that only the least fortunate benefit from. But it would be better if they helped the least fortunate by-pass the fossil fuel stage of development by giving the least fortunate development assistance that is truly sustainable. The most deserving of the higher status people would be helping the least fortunate to directly develop up to decent basic lives with low levels of energy consumption and all of that energy being renewable. And that then makes it clear that the highest status people need to be the lowest energy consuming per-person people with all of their energy being sustainable renewable energy.

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