Turning Up the Hype
Molitor and some other scientists, including the climatologist Daniel Schrag of Harvard University, have said the movie is a golden chance to put global warming before a worldwide audience of millions. "It is going to do more for the issue of climate change than anything I've done in my whole life," says Molitor, who has testified before Congress and led scientific delegations to the talks on the Kyoto climate treaty, which sought worldwide agreement for nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The treaty was supported by former president Bill Clinton and Gore, but the Bush administration has refused to sign it.
Peter Schurman, executive director of MoveOn.org, says 20th Century Fox (which has been very happy with the enviro-buzz) is spending $50 million or more to market the $125 million film. His group claims that it's "a movie President Bush doesn't want you to see."
Other environmental advocacy groups, though, would be happy if you did. For example, the Natural Resources Defense Council has teamed up with Ben & Jerry's ice cream to direct moviegoers to a Web site (GetTheRealScoop.org) to tell them them about global warming and get them to urge Congress to pass the Climate Stewardship Act, sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), which seeks to set limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
Hollywood activist Laurie David, wife of comedian and HBO star Larry David, who spoke at a "town hall meeting" with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in New York before the film's premiere there Monday, says the movie has "this great subversive message . . . about what happens when you don't pay attention."
Meanwhile, earlier this week, climate scientists convened at the Cato Institute in Washington to bash the film as preposterous.
How preposterous? The libertarian think tank points out that the movie is inspired by "The Coming Global Superstorm," a thriller by two leading UFO theorists: Whitley Strieber, who claims he was abducted by aliens, and Art Bell, a conspiracy-mongering radio host who used to broadcast from the Nevada desert.
"If Al Gore and the producers of the movie are relying on UFO and alien worshipers, then they're in trouble," Cato spokesman Richard Pollock says.
Says Cato senior fellow Patrick J. Michaels, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia: "Not only is the movie absurd, I think the former vice president is stuck in the science of the past on this issue."
Staff writer Richard Leiby contributed to this report.
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