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Moore’s Boorish "Planet of The Humans": An Annotated Collection

By admin - Get Energy Smart Now, April-June 2020

Web Editor's Commentary: We'll just cut right to the chase: Planet of the Humans is an unequivocally horrid film (the fact that it was really the brainchild of that Malthusian quack, Ozzie Zehner, whose dishonesty and bad faith arguments were the target of one of our very earliest commentaries, should be an immediate clue to anyone with any knowledge on the subject of energy transition) and an insult to green anti-capitalists worldwide.

We had originally intended to write a commentary of our own about it, however, as this very extensive bibliography demonstrates, the topic has been covered quite extensively. While this bibliography--for which we've been granted permission to copy on our own site by its author--is extensive, even exhaustive, it is unfortunately not especially well organized (we lack the time and bandwidth to engage in such an effort, and we suspect its author has better things to do as well, so we don't hold it against them).

That said, it is still extremely useful, and in it you'll find ample evidence against the arguments made in the film.

With that in mind, we offer one other addition to this extensive bibliography, and that is a podcast from The Energy Transition Show, specifically Episode 125: Beyond the Planet of the Humans, in which show host, Chris Nelder, and guest, Auke Hoekstra, deconstruct the film's producers' motivations and clearly show that they're making their arguments in bad faith out of a place of bitterness that energy transition, while quite possible, is nevertheless challenging.

For Earth Day 2020, Michael Moore announced 30 days of YouTube access of the Jeff Gibbs written/directed and Michael Moore ‘executive produced’ Planet of the Humans. This free mass release sparked viewership and a discovery that, sigh, this was mediocre propaganda. Like Robert Bryce’s work, this film has the same fundamental flaws:

  • too error-filled for non-educated/knowledgeable people to watch due to misdirection & embedded deceit that might not be evident as the viewer has to be knowledgeable to see the truthiness and deceit.
  • tedious and painful for those already knowledgeable as the core thematics/points aren’t news and it just takes so much effort to wade through the falsehoods and truthiness for having thoughts/perspective that are already out there in discussion.  

This post will provide an updated discussion of some of the better discussions of this boorishly propagandistic mocku-mentary.

While the dozens annotated (including these ones) beneath the fold all have value and provide interesting perspectives, these are particularly insightful pieces:

The following are some reviews/dissections of Planet of the Humans (POTH) that are worth your time.

Skepticism Is Healthy, but Planet of the Humans Is Toxic – A Critical Review, Timmon Wallis, is at Films for Action and is associated with their (temporarily) ending POTH distribution

It can be refreshing to watch a true believer taking a deeper look at their own sacred cows. But in his rush to be open-minded about his long-cherished environmental beliefs, Jeff Gibbs has thrown out the baby with the bathwater. He lumps solar and wind power, which hold substantial promise despite their drawbacks, together with the bogus-but-profitable “solutions” biomass and biofuels (ethanol). And he offers no new solutions, only a bleak reminder that our species’ recent exploitation of fossil fuels has both enabled our exponential growth and sealed our fate.  …

A movie that purports to care about the environment and the future of humanity and yet seeks to undermine support for the very things we must do to save this planet, and ourselves, is worse than a disappointment. It’s reckless.

Planet Of The Humans: Moore Trouble Than It’s Worth provides background to the film.

What’s true about Moore’s movie is that energy is complicated. These are issues policymakers and advocates have been wrestling with for years, and actual environmental journalists are well aware of and accurately report on. The rest is just recycled climate denial and energy industry talking points that seem clever if you have no idea what you’re talking about.

Planet of the humans: A reheated mess of lazy, old myths is a well-documented, forcefully written, and devastating takedown from Ketan Joshi lays out clear examples of how the long journey to film release led to use of decade(+) data and fostered an utterly misleading discussion for 2020.

Not only is the documentary bad, it’s old bad. Please join me on this journey back in time. It won’t be fun, but I’m glad you’re here with me.

Definitely worth a read with time well spent on the follow-up This is where hard work got us (another post about the bad film). While he clearly didn’t want to have to, Ketan added a third post: The great giving up (and the film that made it worse) where he moves from tackling specific factual errors to dissecting the true core misdirections and failures.

The ‘bigger picture’ of this film seemed like a Jackson Pollock painting. There are mentions of growth, consumption and population, but no real clarity or insight. It did not seem to have a core message; so much so that its ambiguity meant it drew support from environmentalists, conservationists, anarchists, anti-capitalists, pro-capitalists, anti-growthers, pro-growthers, climate deniers, fossil fuel advocates, nuclear advocates and a scattering of edgelords worried they’d miss out.

It is a mess, but there are scraps in there for everybody with sufficiently low standards to feed on.

The core message Ketan sees is a truly anti-humane one: that humanity is a virus infecting the earth, a virus that requires taking care of or … a core message that is at odds with every major environmental organization, every major environmental leader globally.

And, he sees the absence of solutions as integral to the successful promotion of its anti-humane core:

they are trying hard to avoid any detail about what a technology-free, capitalism-free climate plan would look like. I think that’s intentional.

Detail or evidence about climate solutions would have neutralised the emotion they were seizing on. If the creators had a vision, the film would have flopped. The presence of a pathway out of the crisis would have allowed for the possibility of human agency. 

AND, Ketan makes clear the cynically painful moment: Just as youth climate momentum mounted, amid the terrors and disruption that result from COVID19, Gibbs and Moore “arose at this moment to pioneer a left-wing anti-renewable movement coated in a thick sheen of hopelessness” rather than to help foster momentum toward action and solution.

For #EarthDay, Michael Moore (@MMFlint) releases fundamentally misleading film provides some of the initial expert Earth Day tweets making clear specific factual errors and misdirections.

Distributor pulls Michael Moore’s (@MMFlint’s) #PlanetOfTheHumans due to truthiness & errors discusses Film For Action’s ending its role in the film’s distribution with Josh Fox’s and a number of scientists’ letter to FFA that might have sparked this action. NOTE: FFA changed their minds and reposted the film.

[4/26/2020 addition]: Films For Action’s Statement on Planet of the Humans Why we took it down. Why we ultimately decided to put it back up (including this note). Plus our critiques and thoughts on the film. makes clear that FFA thought it was putting up an accurate film, was shocked to discover the extent of its inaccuracies and pulled the film, and then reinstated it due to science-misinformer pressure.

When Planet of the Humans first came out, we added it to the site before watching it because we trusted Michael Moore’s track record of releasing quality films that are factually accurate. After we watched it, we had issues with the film but assumed it was at least factually accurate, since Michael knows his films will be rigorously fact-checked.

We are disheartened and dismayed to report that the film is full of misinformation – so much so that for half a day we removed the film from the site.

Ultimately, we decided to put it back up because we believe media literacy, critique and debate is the best solution to misinformation.

Taking the film down turns the issue into a debate about censorship and only half a day proved our gut feelings on this was correct. While it would be perfectly reasonable for us to remove the film if we think it contains too much misinformation, the act of doing that creates headlines and may even lead people to think we’re trying to ‘cover up the truth,’ giving the film more power and mystique than it deserves.

Response: Planet of the Humans Documentary is Bill McKibben’s response to how the film portrayed him.

making charges about me and about — namely that I was a supporter of biomass energy, and that 350 and I were beholden to corporate funding, and have misled our supporters on the costs and trade-offs related to decarbonizing our economy. These things aren’t true.

New Michael Moore film charges enviro leaders have ‘lost their way’ and ‘sold out to corporate interests’ at PV magazine which questions the entire film as

It’s difficult to take the film seriously on any topic when it botches the solar portion so thoroughly. Although the film was released in 2020, the solar industry it examines, whether through incompetence or venality, is from somewhere back in 2009.

Moore No Mas: New Film Drinks the Lysol (25 Apr 2020) Climate Denial Crock of the Week by Peter Sinclair provides multiple perspectives highlighting deceptive elements of the film.

Update 26 April 2020:

In Why “Planet of the Humans” is crap, Tom Athanasiou, EcoEquity, finds an “on other hand” items correct in the film but makes his perspective clear with this mild opening:

Mostly, Planet of the Humans is just so fucking bad. So bad that its good points are useless. It does have some good points – there seem to be a lot of rock festivals in Vermont that claim, incorrectly, to be running on solar. They totally deserve ridicule. But you would never recommend this film to anyone. You’d be carrying water for the fossils if you did. So it’s a failure on its own terms, since it wants, or pretends to want, to bring the truth about renewables to the green movement.  And it may even, judging from the ending, where both Bill McKibben and the Sierra Club are said to clarify their positions, make us a bit more careful about our tactical alliances. But boy oh boy does this guy—Jeff Gibbs is his name—know less than he thinks.

My Feedback on the Film “Planet of the Humans”, Wind Works, by Paul Gipe

If you’re a viewer and you have a tendency to believe films like this, you’ll also believe Donald Trump when he suggests injecting yourself with disinfectant to treat Covid-19.

Michael Moore’s dangerous documentary by Paul Scott, an authority on EVs. He was featured in Who Killed the Electric Car? the 2006 documentary distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, and consulted for the follow up, Revenge of the Electric Car.

Michael Moore should be embarrassed. As Executive Producer on “Planet of the Humans”, an environmental hit-piece like none I’ve ever seen, he has done great disservice to the environmental movement.

Anyone interested in saving the planet who watched this poor excuse of a film, would come away thinking solar and wind energy were bad, and electric cars were horrible. I’m not kidding. They cherry pick information from 2011 on the Volt from ignorant people, and do the same for a small solar system installed a decade ago while representing this as state of the art. Huge lies were told through omission in this film!

Film Review: Forget about PLANET OF THE HUMANS by Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore by Neal Livingston, documentary film maker and environmental activist.

Planet of the Humans uses the most worn out editing techniques to emotionally manipulate the viewer. We see windmills from the early 1970’s, the early days of wind power, which are long gone.  We see on the street facile interviews, with film editing techniques to make environmental leaders look dumb. We see dying orangutans as the film ends to make you cry. But nowhere does the film show us how to get off fossil fuels, by showing us where renewables are working. Nor does the film help us to stop forest destruction, by showing us places that have taken steps to protect nature, and there are many places that have done so. 

Environmentalists demand that Michael Moore’s anti-EV film be retracted by Bradley Berman, Eletrek

Michael Moore’s environment film a slap in the face on Earth Day (on Medium), Cathy Cowan Becker, provides a substantive, documented, thoughtful review

instead of attacking fossil-fuel based system we live in and the politicians who are fiddling while Earth burns, what does Michael Moore go after? Environmentalists and renewable energy. It not only makes no sense, but it’s toxic to the environmental movement. It feels like a slap in the face from a one-time friend to have this released on Earth Day. ….

spends most of its time attacking the major solution to lowering carbon emissions — renewables — and the environmentalists and environmental groups that spend their time trying to get our government to move toward clean energy. In doing so, the film repeats some of the ugliest climate denial tropes and provides fodder to the worst climate denial groups in the country. … When the “global warming is a hoax” crowd is touting your film, it’s time to examine yourself.

Planet of the Humans – A Critique, Julián Eduardo González Martínez,

I had the opportunity to watch “Planet of the Humans”, a new documentary directed by Jeff Gibbs, and sponsored by Michael Moore (it is free to watch on YouTube at the time of writing). As an engineer working on the field of sustainable energy, I reckoned it might be worth a watch, and ended up sorely disappointed with the result … In the end, “Planet of the Humans” leaves the casual viewer scrambling for answers, wondering if we have been sold a solution on an idea that in no way will help humanity move towards a post-oil society. However, poorly researched points, a messy and sprawiling plotline that intertwines technical truths with “alternative facts”, half-baked arguments, and a dose of cheap “eco-pity” footage, leaves this documentary on shaky grounds at best.

10 Reasons « Planet of the Humans » Gets Everything Wrong on Climate Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs’ new climate movie is a disgrace for both science and filmmaking, Benjamin Tincq,

« Planet of the Humans » achieves the exceptional feat of starting from a such great premise, only to deliver an absurd, scientifically illiterate conspiracy theory. In a nutshell, Gibbs’ conclusion is that clean energy is even worse than fossil fuels, that humanity is doomed, and that severe population control (voluntary or not) is the only option we have left to prevent the extinction of our entire species.

27 April 2020:

6 Reasons Why “Planet of the Humans” is a Disaster of Misinformation, Ben Wehrman, is a well-organized and devastating laydown of POTH making clear how it exemplifies a FUD disinformation approach. Wehrman cogently discusses these six problem areas:

  1. Misrepresenting: “The first major problem with Planet of the Humans is its misrepresentation of the clean energy movement. In short, the producers lump ALL non-fossil fuel energy sources as “renewables,” when in truth this is simply not the case.”
  2. Short-sighted: “POTH focuses on a mix of “fake” renewables that have long been dismissed by the scientific community, and misrepresentative examples from the true solutions like wind, solar, and EVs.In doing this, POTH also avoids all consideration of the future”
  3. Horrible interview sourcing: “misrepresentation and short-sightedness of the clean energy movement can be quickly traced to the fact that the filmmakers don’t interview anyone who is even remotely qualified to speak on the matter.” Wehrman documents lots of festival organizers and attendees but no scientists, engineers, nor ….
  4. Miscellaneous skepticism, lies, and other BS: Green reached into “the hat of stone-aged FUD arguments, and ask[ed] them to college students & street hippies until [he had] enough “GOTCHA” moments to make a movie.” Outdated and deceptive commentary re solar, wind, batteries, EVs, ….
  5. It’s aimless: All that FUD to result at identifying and discussing (other than a Malthusian path of population reduction) any actual (set of) solutions and paths forward.
  6. Follow-up fail: After release, Moore made clear that the film had been (in essence) done for years but he was unable to secure a major distributor.

After this substantive takedown, Wehrman is reasonable enough to spend time to discuss many things POTH got right. But, on reflection, that a discussion requires 1,000s of words laying down failures before legitimately being able to discuss positives speaks exactly to the introduction to this annotated bibliography of review posts.

The wheel of first-time climate dudes (Or, alternatively: Why I don’t want to review Michael Moore’s climate change documentary) from Emily Atkin (Heated) isn’t a review but highlights how this fits within a long record of poorly informed (white male) people getting traffic for mediocre (often wrong) climate-related work while expert/experienced women/POC are left on the sidelines without the same mass media attention.

Really, the reason I don’t want to review this movie is because I’m tired of having to spend hours consuming and debunking messy-yet-blockbuster climate reporting from dudes who seemingly woke up a few mornings beforehand and decided they were climate journalists.

I feel like a hamster on a wheel: The Wheel of First Time Climate Dudes.

[Note: This is a Jeff Gibbs’ film and he didn’t wake up just a few mornings ago. Actually, a key part of the film’s problems is the accumulated nature of arguments and data seemingly from his thinking over a decade ago that wasn’t updated for today’s changed realities. See Ketan Joshi’s excellent discussion of this linked above.]

Really, Michael Moore? I watched your climate movie, and I have some questions. Emily Atkin, Heated. After having (see above) written a perspective before seeing the film, Atkin’s caved in and watched it due to the buzz and hearing of its impacts (such as people leaving due to its disinformation) … and found POTH to be even worse than feared.

Planet of the Humans reminded me of an argumentative essay from a lazy college freshman—as if, after a few hours of studying, he realized there wasn’t enough evidence to support the argument he chose for the assignment. But he was so wedded to the original idea, and didn’t want to waste the hours of work he did, so he overcompensated by being an overly aggressive narrator instead of starting over with a new argument.

Planet of the Humans: a film review Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore somehow make a climate change film without involving climate scientists, Solar Nerd, starts with “what the film gets right” and then turns to blowing apart Gibbs’/POTH‘s “strawman argument” “that that renewable energy not only isn’t better than fossil fuels, but is harmful because it’s the result of some kind of grand conspiracy between financial interests and big environmental groups to distract us from the real solution” of population control.

It’s a strawman argument. Climate researchers and the enviromental groups he trashes aren’t saying that green energy is the only thing we need to do. It’s widely acknowledged that the climate solution will need to be an all-of-the-above approach. Yes, that includes technical solutions like green energy and possibly even carbon sequestration, but also big changes to how live.

The post then uses substantive material to “pick apart some [of POTH’s] bad arguments and logical fallacies” but concludes with a frustration that all too many others share:

I realized that the thing I hate the most about it isn’t that it gets the science wrong, egregious as that is.

No, the worst part of this movie is that Gibbs thinks he’s made some kind of big revelation – that he’s asking Big Questions nobody has asked before.

So many have been asking and struggling with how to answer the “Big Questions” of POTH and, unlike Gibbs and Moore, have evolved with interactions and learning from that dialectic. Too bad Gibbs seemed to have disdain from learning from, documenting, and giving credit to a few decades of that process.

Planet of the Humans, a weak documentary on sustainable energy, Thijs Ten Brinck, Wattisduurzaam (original in Dutch), faces the pain that so many actually informed and expert people face

I don’t recommend watching the movie.

I would prefer to ignore this film. Unfortunately, experience with shock docs on energy is that climate skeptics and other contrarians spread bullshit like viruses. This increases the chance that people with a more pleasant attitude to life and society will also be exposed to the fallacies in the film. 

Thus, a question: Is it best to ignore or better to identify failures/faults seeking to inoculate some portion of society to this deceit and equip people to deal with those duped by Gibbs and Moore? Brinck joined the crowd (as per above) seeking to foster herd immunity to POTH’s FUD disinformation. Brinck provides a concise and clearly structured highlighting of issues with the concluding section entitled “Lots of hand waving. No substance.”

No, Michael Moore did not make a documentary called “Planet of the Humans” by Greg Laden makes clear that I — like so many others — got something fundamentally wrong. POTH is not a Moore Film — it was written and directed by Jeff Gibbs and Moore doesn’t even appear in it.

Many people love and respect Michael Moore and his work, and a large number of individuals have, in my experience, decided that since this is a Michael Moore joint, it must be fabulous, and it must be true.

So, I say this to you, Michael Moore fan: This documentary sucks, but it is OK that it sucks. This is a documentary by Jeff Gibbs, not by Michael Moore. So, it is OK to pay attention to the many voices of critique.

28 April 2020:

Michael Moore produced a film about climate change that’s a gift to Big Oil: Planet of the Humans deceives viewers about clean energy and climate activists, Leah Stokes, Vox, lays out why this film should have been “left on the cutting room floor”.

the film, directed by Jeff Gibbs, a long-time Moore collaborator, is not the climate message we’ve all been waiting for — it’s a nihilistic take, riddled with errors about clean energy and climate activism. With very little evidence, it claims that renewables are disastrous and that environmental groups are corrupt.

What’s more, it has nothing to say about fossil fuel corporations, who have pushed climate denial and blocked progress on climate policy for decades. Given the film’s loose relationship to facts, I’m not even sure it should be classified as a documentary.

Babies, Bathwater, and Planet Human, Rabett’s Run, tips the hat to other reviews and highlights three points: POTH put ideology before facts; biomass isn’t always horrific even if/as much of it is; and, that there is a “need [for] an “antiracists for population control” movement.”

Review: Planet of the Humans, Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute, is the most favorable of the posts included here (yet) with a recommendation (that I disagree with) to see the film even while discussing its problems.

The film is low on nuance, but our global climate and energy dilemma is all shades of gray. Gibbs seems to say that renewables are a complete waste of time. I would say, they are best seen as a marginal transitional strategy for industrial societies. Given climate change and the fact that fossil fuels are depleting, finite resources, it appears that if we want to maintain any sort of electrical energy infrastructure in the future, it will have to be powered by renewables—hydro, wind, or solar. … The future will be renewable; there simply isn’t any other option. What is very much in question, however, is the kind of society renewable energy can support.

Planet of the Humans Comes This Close to Actually Getting the Real Problem, Then Goes Full Ecofascism, Brian Kahn, Gizmondo, opens generously but then Kahn actually watched the film …

Michael Moore is a dude known for provocation. Every documentary he drops is designed to paint a world of sharp contrasts with clear bad guys. They’re designed to get a reaction and get people talking, so in some ways, him dropping a documentary he executive produced trashing renewable energy on Earth Day makes total sense.

I’ll leave the film criticism to those wiser than me … but I will say this: The movie is deeply flawed in both its premise, proposed solutions, and who gets to voice them.

And, Kahn then walks through how POTH is so “deeply flawed”.

Michael Moore’s green energy takedown—worse than Netflix’s Goop series? Planet of the Humans is deeply useless. Watch anything else. Scott Johnson, Arstechnica, doesn’t hold back in highlighting POTH’s errors and concludes:

Ultimately, Planet of the Humans is a mash-up of things Jeff Gibbs doesn’t know, presented as if no one knows them. And for most people, you’ll know less after watching it than you did at the start.

For a documentary about energy, it’s all heat and no light.

29 April 2020:

Planet Of The Scapegoat. Not all responses are written, here is a video response “Planet Of The Humans – EVs, Green Energy in Michael Moore’s Confused New Documentary”.

Planet of the Humans (part 1): Blood and Gore, Chris Lang, REDD Monitor, is a somewhat sympathetic attempt to put rhyme, reason, and organization to POTH:

critiques “focus on the inaccurate information in the film. Unfortunately, these reviews are at least partly right. There are way too many inaccuracies in the film …  in the flurry of criticism of the film, some important points are being missed completely. This post is the first in a series on REDD-Monitor exploring the points that the film raises that deserve further discussion, regardless of whether some of the documentary is inaccurate or not.

Michael Moore’s Gift to the Fossil Fuel Industry, Ted Glick, is a painful conclusion from someone who found parts of it “okay or even good”.

must have “made my day” for the executives in the board rooms of Exxon, Chevron, Shell, BP and all the other fossil fuel corporations

Planet of the Humans, John Benjamin, How About Today,

“I was really looking forward to a new Michael Moore documentary to shed light on our failure to do more on global warming. Unfortunately this depressing manipulative movie had more howlers than a jungle, with glaring factual errors and misrepresentations in almost every scene.”

The electric vehicle part is confused, as if the filmmakers never heard of using a lifecycle analysis to compare apples to apples with production and operation emissions vs conventional vehicles. Multiple analyses show EVs pay off their carbon debt from manufacturing quite quickly and then reduce carbon for the rest of their useful lives. Electric motors are so efficient than even in coal-heavy regions they reduce pollution compared to similar gasoline vehicles (which waste most of their useful energy as heat).

Climate experts call for ‘dangerous’ Michael Moore film to be taken down, Oliver Millman, Guardian, takes a misguided tack — imo — in title and otherwise by emphasizing people asking for the film to be withdrawn due to its errors and misdirections rather than laying out its problems and saying that those errors have led to calls for it being withdrawn. This piece also reads very much like ‘he said, she said’ on, for example, whether the film misrepresents Bill McKibben.

1 May 2020:

Misinformation in Planet of the Humans, Bart Verheggen, Our Changing Climate, highlights the dichotomy that right-wing fossil foolish and theoretically left-wing (pseudo-)environmentalists are both in thrall with POTH:

Jeff Gibbs’ new documentary, Planet of the Humans, is raising a lot of hackles. Strangely enough, the documentary appeals to pseudo-skeptics as well as anti-capitalists and neo-Malthusians, but of course for very different reasons.

Pseudo-skeptics love the film’s indictment of renewable energy and the environmental movement, especially since a left-wing icon like Michael Moore is associated with the film as its executive producer.

Some fervent environmentalists, on the other hand, applaud the film’s underlying message – that overpopulation and capitalism are the source of all evil – and apparently turn a blind eye to the many falsehoods it contains.

Because the documentary is full of it. To give an example: they claim that it takes more energy to produce solar panels than they produce during their lifetime. That’s not true. The energy payback time is a few years. ….

And, well, Bert’s devastating takedown (including a good discussion of Gibbs’ misdirected (not fully inaccurate, but misdirected) focus on population) strengthens from there.

Planet of the Humans: A hopeless mess! Doug Cleverley, regrettably suggests “if you haven’t seen it, by all means watch it” and then recommends reading rebuttals and lays out devastating material from them.

The problem with the film, as I see it, is not that its main premise is entirely flawed. … But the biggest issue I and others have with the film is that with regards to the efficiency, effectiveness, and environmental impact of solar and wind power, it is dead wrong. … the footage on this subject appears to be eight to twelve years old… this is “an absolute eternity” in the renewable energy industry.

Michael Moore’s ‘Planet of the Humans’ documentary peddles dangerous climate denialDana Nuccitelli, Yale Climate Communications, notes that the film had 4.7M views as of the end of April which is troubling because “misleading, outdated, and scientifically sophomoric dismissal of renewable energy is perhaps the most dangerous form of climate denial, eroding support for renewable energy as a critical climate solution.” Nuccitelli concludes:

Like Fox News and other propaganda vehicles, the film presents one biased perspective via carefully chosen voices…. It applies an environmental purity test that can seem convincing for viewers lacking expertise in the topic. Any imperfect technology – which is every technology – is deemed bad. It’s a clear example of the perfect being the enemy of the good. In reality, this movie is the enemy of humanity’s last best chance to save itself and countless other species from unchecked climate change through a transition to cleaner technologies.

Michael Moore’s dreadful, ill-informed, unhelpful film, Elizabeth May, Green Party Canada, emphasizes that this isn’t actually a Moore film and that the material is dated, the talking points worn, and the implications of so many seeing it damaging.

 I love Michael Moore, so I wanted to see it . . . but oh my! What a dreadful, ill-informed, and unhelpful film it is. Worse, it could set back climate action. … a vanity project of two guys with no expertise and less concern for the damage they are doing to climate science and the urgent need to switch to renewables. 

Meet the New Flack for Oil and Gas: Michael Moore: Planet of the Humans is wildly unscientific, outdated, full of falsehoods, and benefits fossil fuel industry promoters and climate deniers, Josh Fox, The Nation,

after watching Planet of the Humans for about 10 minutes, I wanted to turn it off. Instead, I took notes.

Because the film is so dangerous, so wildly off-track and full of misinformation, fossil fuel industry taking points, and unfounded, wacky statements you could be forgiven for thinking it was created by Breitbart News or Steve Bannon and not the erstwhile bastion of progressive bombast that is Michael Moore.

Fox provides an eloquently written, informed, and substantive refutation of Gibbs’ failures that is well worth a read.

Fox is getting some broadcast visibility.

Inside Clean Energy: 6 Things Michael Moore’s ‘Planet of the Humans’ Gets Wrong, Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News opening lays out an increasingly familiar case:

purports to expose hypocrisy at the heart of the renewable energy movement. But .. is a mess of deceptive and outdated anecdotes, and a succession of ridiculous arguments. It will almost certainly do far more harm than good in the struggle to reduce carbon emissions.

As a reporter who covers renewable energy and has a background in covering the business of energy, watching “Planet of the Humans” was a slog, the equivalent of being cornered at a backyard barbecue by someone who wants to share conspiracy theories.

The writer and director, Jeff Gibbs, and the executive producer, Moore, have put together something that is woefully dated—the kind of commentary that was more common years ago, when renewable energy was more expensive and less efficient and we knew much less about what an energy transition might look like. Today we know more and we know better, but to watch this film you’d think it was about 2010.

Thumbs down, rotten tomatoes, zero stars: The Climate Minute spends tens of minutes discussing POTH.

A Bomb in the Center of the Climate Movement’: Michael Moore Damages Our Most Important Goal, Bill McKibben, Rolling Stone, puts forward a searing indictment of the film on both a fundamentally personal level and in terms of the damages it could cause to efforts to create a more sustainable global economy.

the filmmakers didn’t just engage in bad journalism (though they surely did), they acted in bad faith. They didn’t just behave dishonestly (though they surely did), they behaved dishonorably. I’m aware that in our current salty era those words may sound mild, but in my lexicon they are the strongest possible epithets.

Michael Moore’s Bullshit Attack On Renewable Energy & The Environmental Movement, Eric Brooks

This ‘documentary’ is, at its center, a purposeful stealth attack on solar and wind power, and an attempt to cow the public into giving up on working to save the Earth, so that corporations can have even more free rein to trash the planet for profit.

Anyone watching it will note that in the entire film, not one solution is put forward, a clear red flag that it is a fake.

2 May 2020

Fossil Fuel-Backed Climate Deniers Rush to Promote Michael Moore Documentary ‘Planet of The Humans‘,  Richard Collett-White and Zak Derler, Desmog, provides a substantive and valuable discussion of how anti-environmental organizations and individuals have been leveraging POTH for messaging against meaningful climate action.

the film has been heavily promoted in recent days by commentators known for their rejection of mainstream climate science and support for fossil fuels, including some with direct ties to the industry.

While the film’s anti-economic growth and population control message has not appealed to the free-market philosophies of many of these commentators, its criticism of renewables struck a chord, with the narratives used generally taking one of three forms.

Those three are the false assertions that (1) renewables are ineffective & worse than fossil fuels; (2) renewables are a scam and the environmental community is corrupt; and, (3) environmentalists are involved in a cover up (including, it would seem, via posts like this one documenting the documentation of the film’s misdirections and deceit). Again, these three points are FALSE and being promoted as part of fossil-foolish disinformation efforts seeking to undermine efforts to #ActOnClimate.

Movie Review: Michael Moore’s “Planet of the Humans” Traffics in Myths, Errors, and Dangerous Misdirection, John Rogers, Union of Concerned Scientists is a cogent, substantive, and well-organized dissection of POTH from factual errors, to misrepresentation of (slander of?) UCS’s work, and

appears to take on lots of sacred cows (and cowherders) in the US environmental movement. What it really does is perpetuate a range of anti-clean energy myths, peddle outdated facts and dubious allegations, and end up with a conclusion that is as dangerous as it is wrong. …

After providing clear examples of factual errors and misrepresentations and challenging mischaracterization of UCS, Rogers turns to what he sees as the worst problem

The most troubling part of the documentary is its conclusion that people are the problem.

That’s a notion that UCS—which believes in putting science to work to build a safer, healthier world for everyone—firmly rejects as simplistic and dangerous. It’s a small step from “people are the problem” to “some people are a problem,” the all-too-common tool of repressive governments, nationalist movements, and others to target and harm racial, ethnic, or religious groups.

Once again Michael Moore stirs the environmental pot – but conservationists turn up the heat on him, Graham Readfearn, The Guardian,

The film’s producer and narrator, Jeff Gibbs, weaves a disjointed narrative that renewable energy is just as bad as fossil fuels, high-profile environmentalists are corrupted by capitalism and population growth is the great unspoken enemy.

“It is truly demoralising how much damage this film has done at a moment when many are ready for deep change,” said the Canadian activist and journalist Naomi Klein.

“There are important critiques of an environmentalism that refuses to reckon with unlimited consumption and growth. But this film ain’t it.”

Population Media Center Reviews Planet of the Humans, Joe Bish, has a rather unusual take for a film reviewer: “I would suggest the best way to view this movie is actually backwards. … To my mind, those three minutes are the beating heart of the environmental movement – it is not just about “us,” it is about inter-species justice. It is about compassion and respect for Earth and all her denizens.” Bish lays out, from there, agreement with Gibbs and Moore for challenging environmental organizations for ‘feel good, be happy’-like messaging and approaches.

But Bish, in a thoughtful manner, makes clear that the world is complex and that “there is such a thing as realpolitik.” While complimenting Gibbs for raising hard issues, Bish makes clear that to assert they have been totally ineffective is simply false. And, then Bish gets to renewables:

What seems to have happened is that the weakness of the treatment of renewable energy, specifically the film’s questionable “exposé” on solar power, has diverted the attention of too many away from the fundamental principle the film was trying to advance. … Unfortunately, because of the film’s weaknesses, public discourse around it is largely not seeing the forest for the trees. The legitimate gripes with the first 40+ minutes of the movie are causing the whole effort to be waved off as irredeemable.

This paragraph speaks directly to the framing of this annotated collection. Bish says ‘looks past the errors to find the value’ while I (and so many others) see that these errors, misrepresentations, and essentially slanderous attacks are so damaging that ‘we’ would be far (far) better off if five million people (as of today) hadn’t seen the film.

3 May 2020:

Planet of the Ecofascists, Amy Westervelt, Drilled News lays out a thoughtful case as to Gibbs’ and Moore’s fundamental failure

let me say up front that there are kernels of truth here that would have made for an important and interesting documentary, if Moore and director Jeff Gibbs had brought more intellectual honesty to bear on the project.

Good documentary filmmaking hews closely to the ethics of journalism. Sure, you’re looking for a narrative thread that keeps audiences engaged. But you don’t cherry-pick the facts to include only those people and data that prove the pre-determined point you want to make — unless you’re Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs, apparently. To justify their main argument, which is that the only way to address climate change is via population control, they veer sharply away from documentary and into commentary, leaning on wildly outdated information, often inaccurate data points and a bizarre obsession with Big Green as the real problem blocking action on climate

Amy then turns to providing explicit examples and explanations of these four problems. Westervelt’s powerful discussion serves as an introduction to a highly-recommended Drilled News podcast segment with Professor Leah Stokes.

Planet of the Humans movie draws outrage as it calls for economic slowdown, Don Pittis, CBC, makes clear that Gibbs didn’t hew to honesty in seeking to make polemic points:

Rather than proving its claims with economically sound and up-to-date facts, it often feels like an attempt to manipulate viewers who just don’t know any better … Anecdotes are a great tool to illustrate a point but only if the point is a truthful representation.

Pittis than provides specific examples of misrepresentations and out-of-date discussions but makes clear that this isn’t all the review is about

Refuting all of the film’s economic arguments and the ways in which they’re out of step with the fast-moving, capitalist green tech sector would take many columns and leave no time to address the few things this film gets right.

He then spends time discussing arenas where Gibbs is more on target, such as that biomass isn’t a solution and that focusing solely on renewable energy without addressing perpetual growth isn’t either.

4 May 2020:

Five reasons why Moore’s POTH is a bad mistake, County Sustainability Group

Moore is one of my heroes, but this time he has made a bad mistake. In summary, the film’s content on renewable energy is out-of-date, superficial, simplistic and misleading.

POTH Misplaces the Blame on Population Growth, David Schwartzman, Popular Resistance, assess POTH as “a very effective but flawed film” combining ” a very welcome biting critique of “green” capital-driven renewable energy creation and big capital funding/influence on the agendas of major U.S. environmental groups with a reactionary message calling human population growth the driver of an unsustainable planet.”

“Humans” are not the problem: Reflections on a “useless” documentary, Brian Tokar, approaches the film with frustration — that it fails to be what it could have been.

It’s useless in part because the film is conspicuously based on mostly ten year old footage, rendering even its more valid critiques of the movement sorely out of date. It is also misleading and highly manipulative throughout. …

The film’s main thesis is that renewable energy is a sham, and that’s why it has been so widely condemned by people who are far more knowledgeable than the filmmakers. Gibbs and friends’ assertions may appear credible, and even perceptive, to those who are not aware of recent trends.

The most disturbing problems with the film, however, are political. The only mentions of capitalism are in terms of its purported “takeover” of the environmental movement. There’s nothing whatever about the system’s inherent reliance on the myth of endless growth, the massive waste it generates through excess production for profit’s sake, nor how it invariably privileges the few at the expense of the many. …

while “Planet of the Humans” makes a few valid points about over-reliance on techno-fixes in general and the fundamental flaws of biomass energy in particular, it does a serious disservice to those seeking to bring a more systemic and forward-looking approach into the climate movement. The film’s politics fail to reflect any of the insight and nuance executive producer Michael Moore has brought to so many of his other projects. In the end it will likely offer far more solace to the hucksters still trying to perpetuate fossil fuel and nuclear power dependence than to anyone seeking a saner, more livable future.

Planet of the Anti-Humanists, Leigh Phillips, Jacobin is a long, thoughtful essay from an ‘anti-(unchecked) capitalism’ perspective that is worth the sit down to read through and consider.

For all of Michael Moore’s many and generous contributions to progressive and humanist politics over the decades, such arguments are, well, literally anti-progressive and anti-human.

And we don’t need them anyway. Our host of very real and challenging environmental problems are primarily caused not by growth — either of people or of the economy — but by the incentive structure inherent to any market system.

Rather than telling a world currently wracked by a global pandemic that is already slashing economic growth while killing hundreds of thousands that this is basically what we want but done in a nicer fashion, we should be embracing the regulation and economic planning we need to save the planet and all the people on it.

Even as Phillips would have been well served to state more directly (some of) Gibbs’ blatant errors re renewables (for example) and is too strongly definitive on value/necessity of nuclear power, his direct challenge of Gibbs’ (and Moore’s) “eco-austerity argument” is well worth the read.

5 May 2020:

Planet of the Humans : Let’s just have a think…, Dave Borlace, Just Have a Think. So, if watching is your preferred way of learning or if you’re just tired of the 100,000s of words debunking Gibbs’ disinformation, then I highly recommend spending (and, likely as I did, enjoying) 29 minutes with Dave Borlace’s Just Have a Think episode.

From the concluding minutes:

there are no solutions offered in this film. Not a single one. I think it’s extremely unlikely that Jeff will be watching this program. But just on the off chance that you are Jeff, you have got every right to raise the issues of corporate greed and first world overconsumption. In fact the robust debate about those challenges is a completely valid and extremely important thing to do. And, I really do believe that’s essentially where you’re coming from.

But, in the Planet of the Humans, you’ve got loads of things wrong in a movie … that has been watched by millions of people. Many of whom are genuinely frightened about their future. And, that’s rubbish man, That’s that’s really rubbish.

In this film, you’ve distorted information in pursuit of what you regard as an overarching message. When your message becomes the most important thing and the facts are manipulated to suit that message, you’re not really any better than the corporation’s that you criticize. Your film disrespects and undermines the efforts of thousands of genuine campaigners over many decades. And, your nihilistic, staggeringly self-indulgent and completely solutionist narrative, risks removing any last vestiges of hope from the minds of the very people you apparently want to energize. Your film may have just taken the cause of environmental activism back to where your footage started from, which is about a decade back in time.

So, everyone else please don’t simply accept everything this film says as gospel … Make your own properly informed decisions based on multiple sources of reliable and verifiable information. Above all, remember to just have a think

Fact check: New Michael Moore-backed documentary full of errors, fundamentally misunderstands electric system, Greg Alvarez, AWEA, provides facts and clarity as to POTH’s disinformation. Alvarez concludes, “filmmakers have made an odd choice to criticize leading climate solutions using inaccurate information while fundamentally misportraying how the power system works. Doing so sows misinformation and sows confusion, and ultimately undermines any good they were trying to accomplish.”

POTHs’ real agenda: fewer humans, otherwise known as de-population, Markam Hislop, argues that the direct errors provide an easy target for criticism and masks the true evil implications of the film.

Gibbs and Moore – aided by fossil fuels mouthpieces … – are attacking the environmental movement’s moral high ground. Why? Because if Greta Thunberg and David Suzuki are no better than the Koch Brothers, that opens the door for a third option – depopulation measures, the “major die-off.”

6 May 2020

The Important Debate POTH Misses, Kate Aronoff, New Republic, is a valuable essay that makes clear that POTH “is a mess [with] use of outdated, cherry-picked information [and that] the climate movement and clean energy sector … criticize[d] in the film … doesn’t remotely resemble today’s reality.” While delivering a searing denouncement of Gibbs’ deceptions and failures, Aronoff delves into spaces where POTH resembles ‘a broken clock right twice of day’ as “there’s a tiny kernel of truth buried deep under mountains of outdated disinformation”. Among other kernels are issues with “green industry” but even there Gibbs (and others) gets it wrong.

many of the film’s problems stem from its inability to perceive a crucial distinction (one enviornmentalists can miss too) between renewables advocates and the renewbles industry. Gibbs targets a so-called “green energy movement” that doesn’t exist. A number of people and movements currently favor expanding green energy … Separate from those favoring green energy is the renewables sector itself– now a $1.5 trillion industry that operates a lot like any other industry. Its goal is to make a profit … It cuts corners, bust[s] unions, and violates labor law. In that, the people making money from clean energy and ugly, continent-spaning supply chains are not wholly unlike those who produce cell phones and and laptops …

While Aronoff’s brush is perhaps too broad here (there are ‘good’ actors within clean-energy sector, many are in the sector due to a desire to facilitate positive change (took risks in ‘clean energy’ rather than going to work for Peabody or Exxon-Mobil) and, perhaps, more so than compared to average business but …), this is among the interesting points that she explores in this thoughtful examination of POTH.

The Inconvenient Truthiness of Michael Moore’s ‘POTH’, Judith Lewis Mernit, Capital and Main,

It’s as if [Gibbs] fell asleep in 2008 and woke up raging about how humans are destroying the planet. Someone needs to sit him down and explain that, yes, we’re still destroying the planet. Just not in the way that he thinks.


Michael Moores New Film Turns Heroes into Villains and Villains into Heroes, Dr. Michael Mann, Newsweek. As one of his first publications after being elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Professor Mann launches a broadside against POTH’s mediocrity and damaging impacts.

File this one under the category of “with friends like this”: None other than liberal icon Michael Moore has now joined the ranks of the renewable energy-bashers. ….

a mostly overlooked aspect of the film is the way it so perfectly plays into a larger agenda underway aimed at forestalling action on climate. The forces of climate denial and delay—fossil fuel companies, right-wing plutocrats, “dark money” outfits, and fossil fueled petrostates—can no longer insist nothing is happening. They have instead shifted to a softer form of denialism, engaging in a multipronged offensive based on distraction, deception, deflection, and despair-mongering—what I’ve termed the New Climate War.

One challenge we face in this new war on climate action is the wedge that has emerged within the climate movement when it comes to market-driven climate solutions. Moore and Gibbs attempt to pry that wedge wide open. 

How did Michael Moore become a hero to climate deniers and the far right? George Monbiot, Guardian, provides a searing indictment of how POTH gets things wrong in service of fossil foolish anti-climate interest groups and ends with a truly damning statement:

population growth does contribute to the pressures on the natural world. But while the global population is rising by 1% a year, consumption, until the pandemic, was rising at a steady 3%. High consumption is concentrated in countries where population growth is low. Where population growth is highest, consumption tends to be extremely low. Almost all the growth in numbers is in poor countries largely inhabited by black and brown people. When wealthy people, such as Moore and Gibbs, point to this issue without the necessary caveats, they are saying, in effect, “it’s not Us consuming, it’s Them breeding.” It’s not hard to see why the far right loves this film.

Population is where you go when you haven’t thought your argument through. Population is where you go when you don’t have the guts to face the structural, systemic causes of our predicament: inequality, oligarchic power, capitalism. Population is where you go when you want to kick down.

We have been here many times before. Dozens of films have spread falsehoods about environmental activists and ripped into green technologies, while letting fossil fuels off the hook. But never before have these attacks come from a famous campaigner for social justice, rubbing our faces in the dirt.

Thank you, Moore, for “rubbing our faces in the dirt …” (For more details from Monbiot, see this twitter thread.)

Mark Lynas in a discussion on Facebook takes down POTH both in form and substance.

It has to be one of the worst documentary films I have ever seen, and I’ve sat through a few. It was slow, badly organized, voiced in a dull monotone and fundamentally dishonest. The cinematography was dreadful, with long black screens, no obvious narrative and strange old sequences that looked like VHS video from the 1980s. By the end we were just desperate for the credits to roll, to end the pain and misery.

And the content? It starts with a flawed premise, supported by misleading arguments and incorrect data, and reaches a conclusion that is – surprise, surprise – utterly wrong on almost every count. The most obvious reason is that it’s all just REALLY OUT OF DATE! ….

How Michael Moore’s anti-solar, anti-wind power and anti-electric car documentary does the climate movement a huge disservice (translated from German), von Der Graslutscher, provides another devastating critique (with, at times, what seems to be a minute-by-minute identification of errors and misdirections) in a self-described “a vegan climate protection traffic turning blog”.

We are dealing with a highly manipulative movie. Neither the film itself nor the accompanying media provide valid sources for the many, many steep claims…. does not make any effort to educate us on what the most knowledgeable people in science and research have to say about all this.

The post ends with POTH’s ending, which is in some ways about the most legitimate element of the movie: the devastating destructiveness of palm oil cultivation (primarily in Indonesia).

The last sequence consists of three minutes in which we witness in agonizingly slow settings the indeed unbearable fate of an orangutan specimen whose habitat is being destroyed. Such rainforest clearings are primarily carried out in their habitat on Borneo and Sumatra to produce palm oil. However, this is not used to produce solar cells, wind turbines or electric cars – the majority of European palm oil imports end up in a technology that, according to the film, we should not replace with electric drives: our combustion engines.

More than 10 million litres every day, in Europe alone. It is time to change that.

This is a perceptive illumination of one of POTH’s (too many) serious flaws: the unacknowledged (unrecognized by Gibbs and Moore) hypocrisy of discussing a problem while having undermined/attacked (partial) solutions and paths to reduce that problem.

Michael Moore’s documentary that the anti-environmentalist far-right likes so much (in Italian), Alessandro Codegoni, Quel Energia (Italy),

In short, a work of embarrassing quality , which is not clear how it could have been accepted by Michael Moore, who also will not have lacked the means and knowledge to make the necessary checks before the release of the documentary to the public

Unfortunately, this defamation in the form of a documentary has already been seen by 6.6 million people , most of whom seem unable to perceive its serious limitations, judging at least from the many enthusiastic comments of those who are convinced that they have just witnessed a great journalistic investigation, which reveals the “green scam” and makes those boring and opinionated environmentalists fall from the pedestal.

In short, it is an incorrect and potentially very serious blow, delivered to the efforts for the green transition (and we will see what will happen when it lands in Europe …), which also has the defect of not offering any solution to the climate and environmental crisis

Planet of the Humans-Documentary Review, Nader Sobhani, Niskanen Center provides a thoughtful ‘libertarian’ pro-technology and somewhat US-centric evaluation of the film. Use of NYTimes graphics about changes to state electricity sources over a 20-year period, for example, make clear that renewables are — contrary to POTH assertions — contributing to reducing coal usage and reducing the power system’s carbon footprint.

The perfect feedstock for the “do nothing” movement 

Although the film’s treatment of the limitations of clean energy technologies is remarkably shallow, its conclusion that people and industrial civilization itself are the problem is outright dangerous. It would be easy to dismiss these ideas as ineffective nonsense from documentarians, but a lot of the same skepticism of these new technologies is embedded with policymakers on the right. Tearing down strategies and technologies that are integral to building a more sustainable and resilient economy will set climate action back decades. Instead of looking to limit human creativity and ingenuity, we should be unleashing it. 

While having a thoughtful (‘moderate’) right-wing/libertarian examination is good addition to the growing literature, odd that, several weeks into global POTH controvesy, Sobhani gives no credit to others’ informed dissections.

11 May 2020:

Having taken a weekend off, so many Moore debunkings. Note: can’t have them all but striving for a robust representation (even as relatively few non-English language ones included). For an overlapping/similar collection, see Sam Gunch’s Links to Critique of Michael Moore’s ‘Planet of the Humans’, directed by Jeff Gibbs.

Planet of the Humans: DEBUNKED | In Depth, Now You Know, is a nearly hour-long discussion debunking many of POTH’s errors and misrepresentations.

Debunking Michael Moore’s myth about life cycle energy needs of wind and solar, Mark Diesendorf, Renew Economy, highlights how renewables have positive Energy Returns on Investment (EROI) (contrary to what POTH asserts). As Diesendorf makes clear, that a new energy ‘system’ relies on the previous during transition (from wood to coal, coal to oil …) as this doesn’t happen overnight and the ‘new’ system is rapidly improving its EROI amid the transition period.

Michael Moore’s ‘Planet of the Humans’ Film Trashes Clean Energy, Offers Zero Solutions, Sally Ho, Green Queen, provides a thorough examination — warts and all — with subtitle that pretty much every thoughtful person agrees with: “we deserve better than this”.

Even if we give the filmmakers the benefit of doubt … a “gotcha” style documentary that presents all its arguments as binary, will will only serve to exacerbate our environmental crisis, rather than offer hope that we can solve it. One of my biggest gripes with Michael Moore is the way he essentially condescends to his audience, refusing to offer nuance and layered arguments. This film is no different.

Making comments that allege that green energy on par with fossil fuels will only fall into the hands of right-wing voices that are dedicated to shut down real science, sow disarray within the green movement and cause confusion amongst the masses to encourage widespread climate denial. …

The 100-minute documentary ridicules the few hopes we have left to sustain life on earth, yet offers zero answers (or even potential answers) to the greatest and most urgent threat that humanity and the planet faces today. (Where is the rest of the green industry? What about plant-based diets? And moving away from overconsumption? What about the circular economy?) Even worse, it might even work to help scatter the seeds of the very movement that is helping accelerate our destruction of the earth

Michael Moore’s “Planet of the Humans” Offers Dangerous Solutions to the Climate Crisis, Jesse Harris, puts a laser focus on “the film’s proposed “solution” to the climate crisis.”

 POTH suggests that population control should play a bigger role in climate discourse. On its face, population control may sound reasonable, but it is extremely problematic once you scratch the surface. It is not only weak on the merits, but it is intertwined with some of the foulest racist beliefs of the last two hundred years. This article is a deconstruction of that argument, and explores the links to racist ideologies.

Michael & Me, Peter Sinclair, Climate Crocks of the Week, is a compelling discussion not of the film but related to Michael Moore’s claim in a movie promotion of a key role in stopping a nuclear power plant and, instead, the reality of the situation based on Sinclair’s mother being a key expert and activist in that specific fight.

POTH: COMMENT MICHAEL MOORE PEUT-IL TOMBER SI BAS? (How could Michael Moore fall so low?), Pierre Gilbert, Le Vent Se Leve, is a review with frustration

This film asks good questions but strangely refuses to answer them seriously. For many, it is heartbreaking to see Michael Moore assume to produce something so unimportant. Many …. tried to dissuade Michael Moore from releasing the film, as it was full of errors . But Moore turned a deaf ear, and the film now runs almost exclusively in far-right climate-skeptic networks. … This documentary must be a signal for everyone: in the long term everyone must be able to debunk this kind of profanity

klimaatdocumentaire Michael Moore heeft soms een punt, meestal festival van verouderde en misleidende informatie, (Moore’s climate documentary sometimes has a point, but usually a festival of outdated and misleading information), Vincent Merckx, VRT, examines POTH through the eyes of numerous Dutch experts who uniformly found it wanting.

holding a debate is based on facts. And, in this, this documentary fails brilliantly. … The red flags are too numerous. The central role of highly obsolete statistics, studies and cases. The fact that the viewer is not told how obsolete they are, as they are not situated in time, and illustrated with characters or examples that are often barely interpreted. The fast settings that get little context and above all suggest a lot. And the few times that lies are readily told … It all tends to strong disinformation.

Ik zocht de feiten bij de film ‘Planet of the Humans’ van Jeff Gibbs/Michael Moore en gooide halverwege mijn laptop in de tuin (I searched the facts for Jeff Gibbs / Michael Moore’s movie ‘Planet of the Humans’ and threw my laptop in the middle of my laptop), Jasper Vis, is a blog post framed by a twitter thread while watching the film. Vis highlights numerous clear errors and provides direct evidence of POTH’s misdirection. For example, for both Germany and Denmark, Vis provides data showing that CO2 emissions are falling with increased renewable power penetration — something that Gibbs says can’t happen. And, as per the frustration suggested in this post’s opening, Vis comments:

Just about every statement that surprised me turned out to be incorrect during some research. As far as I am concerned, the film is not worth the name ‘documentary’, so much violence is done to the facts. It took a lot of time to check all those points and try to make it understandable …

Michael Moore’s Movie is Garbage, Friendly Jordies, uses humor to make clear the absurdity of the outdated nature of Gibbs’ arguments.

this movie’s like if CNET sat on a review of the iphone 1 and decided to release it last week … what’s even more insane is that if cnet did that, the article went viral and the world started thinking “what iphone 11, no that must be a typo.

How to Get the Renewables Story Wrong: Planet of the Humans, Craig Morris, is an interesting take by someone who has a cameo POTH appearance who dissects how he was leveraged with others to foster confusion, rather than illumination which he finds a core (lack of) principle of POTH.

Instead of clearing up people’s confusion, the film wallows in it. And that’s the main problem with the entire film.

12 May 2020

The Planet or The Humans: Michael Moore’s false choice a lesson in how not to build a movement, Citisven, differentiates #POTH from Moore’s documentary ‘history’ in terms of movement fostering vs disrupting.

My bottom line was that even though it makes a few good points, this film is so amateurish, dated, and in such bad faith that the highest award it could aspire to is to be forgotten. The End. ….

there are examples of Michael Moore’s films in the past that have — if not directly, but at least by education and inspiration — brought people in to rally around a cause. …

all these documentaries had in common was that even though Michael Moore was always in the lead role as the provocateur extraordinaire, he was a quirky and likable underdog you wanted to root for because he was fighting for something larger than himself. He was able to make the viewer feel that ultimately this is about all (or at least 99%) of us, and if enough of us speak out and come together to address a particular injustice, we can hold the small but powerful cadre of profiteers and oppressors accountable and change the system that allowed them to get into their positions of exploitation in the first place.

Planet of the Humans, on the other hand, has it all backwards. … How on god’s green earth did we get from hard-hitting investigations of powerful industries profiting off the little guy’s misery to punching down on an emerging industry and its supporters across all civic sectors who are doing the best they can to change the economic paradigm that has kept fossil fuel companies and their investors from paying the true cost of their product to people and planet? …

Instead of sparking a rigorous and much needed discussion about the details of the transformation we need … Moore is telling the activists of all different ages and backgrounds who’ve poured their blood, sweat and tears into getting us to the brink of major societal and political breakthroughs to stop bothering because they’re making things worse …

POTH: One Moore Rebuttal To Widely Debunked Anti-Renewables Documentary, Climate Nexus, is a meta-discussion linking to over 30 rebuttals and providing substance on three key points: (a) renewables ARE MUCH CLEANER than fossil fuels; (b) the environmental movement is misrepresented in the film; and (c) the problem is polluters (pollution) NOT people.

On Moore’s film fact checking from Joanne Doroshaw (Doroshaw’s bio) provides perspective on POTH from someone who spent nearly 20 years involved with Moore’s research and fact checking.

The director of this new film [Jeff Gibbs] was someone we never let near the fact checking process. In my experience, he seemed attracted to conspiracy theories and information that was not factual, and I believed his influence on Michael could be damaging to his films. … People disturbed by inaccuracies in [POTH] are not “haters.” They, like I, are pained by them. The factual errors should never have happened.

With Why I oppose “Planet of the Humans”, 350 Seattle’s Patrick Mazza delivers a passionate rejection of Gibbs’ portrayal of as a big business tool and a thoughtful laydown about why Gibbs’ POTH ignorant dismissal of clean energy is so damaging to the prospects for real climate action.

13 May 2020:

With Just Plain Wrong: The false claims, errors and outdated information that is Planet of the Humans, Renewable Energy Magazine, Robin Whitlock provides an extensive look at Ozzie Zehner, who is the film’s primary (so-called) ‘expert witness’ against renewable energy.

As to pre-film debut Zehner material,

It’s perfectly clear then that Zehner has a major problem with renewable energy technologies, and it is this that enables him to fit so neatly into the overall theme of the movie, which argues that partial deindustrialisation and population control would be better solutions to climate change than decarbonisation through clean energy technology. …

how do Zehner’s claims really stack up when you start to focus in on them? It turns out that a number of critics over the years have accused Zehner of distorting the truth about clean energy

And, Whitlock goes on from there to examine and debunk many of the film’s errors, dated information, and outright falsehoods when it comes to renewable energy realities and prospects.

Responding to “POTH”: An interview with Leah Stokes with contributions from Michael Mann and Zeke Hausfather is the second part of Robin Whitlock’s look at the film for Renewable Energy Magazine. Launching off Whitlock’s questioning, these three provide thoughtful, searing, and often quite quotable perspectives on why and how this mockumentary is so erroneous and damaging.

What Michael Moore’s New Climate Documentary Gets Wrong About Renewables, David Vetter, Forbes, is another excellent laydown of Gibbs’s misinformation with Vetter providing context and accurate information. (As with some others, there are problems of course — such as, in this case, seemingly taking at face value Gibbs’ dated & now fully false claims that Sierra Club is promoting natural gas as part of its Beyond Coal campaign.) Vetter provides clarity in a point about Gibbs’ attack on financiers putting money into The concluding paragraphs:

Like any industry, the renewable energy sector should be probed consistently and in detail. Hard questions should be asked of its proponents to ensure accountability and to determine that what they are offering lives up to the not-inconsiderable hype. More than ever, humanity needs to believe it is able to do the right things for the right reasons, and subjecting those things and those reasons to scrutiny can help to build trust and inform policy.

But that scrutiny and those investigations need to be thorough; they must be carried out from a position that is well-informed and current. Packaging vague, ill-informed attacks and outdated arguments as serious inquiry enables such work to be used as a cudgel by genuinely bad-faith, nefarious causes—as Jeff Gibbs and his allies are now finding. At the same time, by identifying what they see as problems but failing to offer any proposals to address them, Gibbs and Moore’s film rings pessimistic and hollow. Without offering any way forward or out, the unspoken message of the film is: “what’s the point?”

In which case, what was the point of making the film?

15 May 2020:

With What POTH got Right, Wrong, and Missed, Energy Justice Network, Mike Ewall provides a substantive over 7000 word ‘warts and all’ examination a strong and informed environmentalist perspective.

If I were to write a documentary exposing the dismal state of recycling in the U.S., I’d be right to point out how much is not being recycled, how polluting recycling can be, and how inadequate it is to try to solve the waste problem. I’d be right to call for more emphasis on reducing and reusing before recycling; however, I’d also be clear that the answer is not to stop recycling and just landfill everything, or worse, incinerate it, then landfill toxic ash.

POTH trashes wind, solar, biomass, biofuels, hydrogen, electric cars, and energy storage as if they’re all terrible, without offering solutions, and without distinguishing which are inherently bad, and which are generally good and can continue to be improved. …

There is a lot that Planet of the Humans gets right. And several things they get really wrong. Sadly, the film is now being used to hype up natural gas and nuclear power.

Ewall details and substantiates his perspective on what the film got right, wrong, and missed. Early in the review, Ewall lays out three basic ‘backgrounder’ points that one suspects Moore and Gibbs would be well advised to read since the film and their discussions of it seem ignorant of these basic points..

  1. There are three basic energy domains: electricity; heating; transportation) with different fuel mixes.
  2. Solutions across the three are not the same.
  3. “There’s a world of difference between energy sources that require fuel and those that do not. Wind, solar, and water power are genuinely renewable, even though they have impacts. …”

A significant, early section focuses on biomass (part of Ewall’s ‘what film got right’), the domain where Ewell states he re ally got his start on environmental issues and an issue where he ‘awoke’ to its problems well before most in the climate/environmental activist world (including this author who, for example, was intrigued for awhile by poultry waste incineration 10 years ago which Ewall was fighting against). As with the rest of the review, a truly-informed, thoughtful, and documented statement of his (and EJN’s) thoughts re biomass.

While powerful, worth reading and learning from, there are many reasons to challenge Ewall’s take. For example, current hydrogen production is massively dominated (essentially totally) fossil fuel based and not legitimately a clean / renewable energy. However, there is massive investment under way toward ‘green hydrogen’ (using renewable electrons to crack water) both as a core use of the solar and wind production along with intermittent production to leverage stranded/excess clean electrons. Ewall places hydrogen in ‘dirty’ (linking to EJN’s 15 year-old hydrogen work) without discussing its potential ‘clean’ path forward (other than a small aside comment in the storage section).

And, well, there are points as to which Ewall is simply wrong, such as the incorrect statement that “Pumped storage is one of the most wasteful ways to store energy” when pumped-hydro storage efficiency can be 70-80% efficient which is well aligned with ‘best in class storage’ and far better than the compressed air energy storage (CAES) that Ewall supports.

To repeat: a very worthwhile read but one to do with eyes and mind open. The following is an extensive interview with Ewall about POTH.

3 times Michael Moore’s film Planet of the Humans gets the facts wrong (and 3 times it gets them right), Ian Lowe, The Conversation, provides a quick and clear lay down.

17 May 2020

In What Michael Moore’s new film gets wrong about renewable energy, Carolyn Gramling, Science News, does a detailed dissection of five “dated and misleading” claims about renewable energy in the film (regretfully structured contrary to Debunking Handbook guidance). Gramling ends with a point not seen elsewhere:

By pointing out problems, Gibbs and Moore have said that they just wanted Planet of the Humans to start a conversation about the renewable energy industry. Indeed, the film poses many questions about the industry and the environmental groups that advocate for it. But the film offers no alternative solutions (it hints that perhaps there are just too many people on the planet for any sustainable solution but stops short of advocating for outright population control).

This “just asking questions” trope is another way that the movie feels out of date. As last year’s climate protests revealed, people don’t need this movie to spur them to outrage or activism (SN: 12/16/19). They’re already there. And they definitely don’t need bad or incomplete information with which to combat the climate crisis.

In So, About that New Michael Moore Film ‘Planet of the Humans’, Gavin Lamb makes his perspective clear about “a confusing slip in journalistic integrity”.

The film traffics in piles of outdated information about renewables …. The film might have offered insights if presented as a historical piece on the false-starts of the green energy era circa 2007–2013, a lifetime ago in green energy terms. But the filmmakers’ deploy this older material as representative of the current state-of-the-art of renewable energy in 2020.

Lamb, “as a trained discourse analyst in environmental communication, then moves to his primary concern: the implications of the film for fruitful engagement re climate issues.

For me, and many environmentalists hoping to steer us away from the cliff, the primary culprit is the fossil fuel industry that has successfully mobilized a counter-environmental discourse of climate denialism to block important environmental policy. As an environmental discourse bereft of scientific backing, climate denialism works not by generating a scientific body of counter-evidence, but by planting doubt in the minds of the public.

But Planet of the Humans targets a different problem. As journalist Brian Kahn puts it, “Yes, renewables are bad and so are billionaires and the corporate-philanthropic industrial complex so, Gibbs concludes, we should probably get rid of some humans ASAP”

This is a long and thoughtful review providing a new way of examining and dissecting the damage that Gibbs and Moore are doing to fruitful environmental discourse. He concludes:

There is a sharp irony in Gibbs’ closing sentiments that “The path to change comes from awareness.” By offering only empty platitudes (“less must be the new more,” “infinite growth on a finite planet is suicide”) the awareness gleaned from this film will lead most viewers to a feeling of futility, not urgency.

So what should you do? For one, please don’t watch the movie. Save your time and do something productive, like donate to groups committed to progress such as It wouldn’t hurt to make a few lifestyle changes that reduce your personal carbon footprint. And above all, VOTE. Vote for candidates who support rapid climate action, and don’t waver from the conclusion that electrification plus clean energy is our best chance to radically cut global emissions.

Green Voices: ep1: Ketan Joshi on Jeff Gibbs’ War on Green Energy, Anders Lorenzen, A greener life, a greener world. From the introduction, “Joshi … had low expectations of the film before watching it but was surprised by just how bad it was and how incorrect the facts were.”

POTH is reckless and careless, but we can lear from what it gets right, Hannah Askew, Executive Director, Sierra Club BC, directly acknowledges that the film was “reckless and careless” and then bends over backwards to search for the value the film could have to advance debate.

The film is accurate in stating that we as a human society are in crisis. It is right when it says our crises have their origins in a dominant economic system that demands infinite growth powered by endless consumerism. It is right when it says narrow technological and technocratic solutions alone, including those provided by renewable energy, are not the entire solution. Acknowledgement of these truths and the direction they point us in, offer the promise of common ground on which we can meet to build a better world, rather than miring us in the divisiveness that will move us further into crisis

18 May 2020:

Bonus Edition #208 POTH from Michael Moore, Explained, Jay Tomlinson Best of the Left. Warning, at two hours, this podcast examination of POTH is longer than the film. However, Tomlinson doesn’t waste this time as he does a comprehensive look not just at POTH but how the film is damaging the climate movement and how, as a “film”, it exemplifies what a documentary shouldn’t be and documentarians shouldn’t do. A well-sourced and thought-provoking take — just, again, be ready to commit yourself to those two hours.

If You Care About Climate Action, Don’t Watch POTH, Graham Turk, provides a truly eloquent dissection with substance and powerful emotion.

I feel for Jeff Gibbs. He cares for the planet. He’s angry at the corporations that have gotten us in this mess. And I absolutely agree with him that we must cut consumption. But that’s just one piece of the puzzle. His stance is roughly equivalent to hanging from a cliff and refusing a helping hand because it’s got dirt under the fingernails.

We are led to believe that if you think capitalism and emission reduction are at all compatible, you are a fraud. Planet of the Humans denigrates actual emission reduction measures if they dare turn a profit or conflict with local conservationism. He fails to see the forest through the trees, sometimes quite literally, and inadvertently loses sight of the climate movement’s most basic goal: preventing human extinction. 

19 May 2020:

The Problem With “Planet Of The Humans” Part. 1 ft. Joshua Kahn Russell (TMBS 138) and Michael & Joshua React To Planet Of The Humans Part 2, Michael Brooks Show, provide two hours of discussions of the film’s failures and frustration with its impacts from a climate movement perspective.

A party for the planet(’s destruction), Emily Atkin, Heated ($).

Are Solar Panels Better than Coal? Climate Solutions Center looks in detail as one specific claim in the film and, well, makes clear that POTH / Gibbs gets it totally wrong.

Solar and wind are definitively better for the environment than coal or natural gas as they emit far fewer grams of CO2e per kWh generated

20 May 2020:

In Why Michael Moore’s electric car myths only benefit the fossil fuel industry, The Driven, Ketan Joshi provides another data-backed examination of POTH flaws.

Despite what Gibbs wants you to think, Michigan’s electrons aren’t 95% coal …
and, yes, even with 60% fossil fuels (coal + fossil gas), “all electric” is less polluting

One of the most unpleasant feelings in the world is having to revisit something you thought you were done with. The recent release of the Michael Moore produced film ‘Planet of the Humans’ has triggered many unpleasant feelings; mostly from those who found themselves having to revisit genuinely old myths about energy, climate and technology.

The film’s been out for nearly a month now, and the list of critiques outlining the misinformation in the film is extremely long – that’s a lot of people having a bad time.

No matter how annoying it is, it’s still important to set the record straight as much as possible. The film makes a point of specifically attacking things that are frankly and simply working pretty well. Wind and solar are derided in the film; they’ve become, quite simply, the ultimate workhorses of decarbonisation. And electric vehicles – similarly attacked in the film – are shaping up as a badly underestimated component in the decarbonisation of transport.

21 May 2020

“POTH” misleads viewers about renewable energy, Scott Johnson, Climate Feedback, concludes:

Instead of presenting life cycle analyses for solar and wind generation or quantifying electric vehicle emissions that could inform viewers, Planet of the Humans misleads with broad claims that are not supported by scientific evidence. Unfortunately, these omissions and inaccuracies substantially shape the conclusions the film presents to its audience.

25 May 2020:

Okay, not that there weren’t new items found and/or new discussions of POTH but, sigh, one can run out of energy with the never-ending stream of discussions. Here are a few additional:

Planet of the Huh?, Karyn Strickler, Counterpunch, is a sympathetic discussion that views this film with regret that is best summarized with this way of framing the film’s lack of context with its discussions of clean energy’s fossil fuel inputs without discussing the impacts of getting the same electricity from coal or natural gas:

 let’s not throw the wind turbine out with mountaintop removal coal mining.

Billionaires Are Not Our Friends: The Limits of POTH, Michael Barker, Socialist Alternative, agrees with the anti-capitalist, anti-large green investment elements of POTH but

if that was the only message that viewers took away from this documentary, I for one would be happy. But tragically, Moore and his environmentally concerned filmmakers, in telling an epic story of our times, get an awful lot wrong… very wrong. …
it is important to be crystal clear: population growth is not the problem facing our planet; the problem is capitalism. This is contrary to the conclusion presented within Planet of the Humans’ which ends by blaming “us” as being the primary problem. The suggestion that uncontrolled population growth is the elephant in the room misses the point, but it flows from the filmmakers inverted version of history

George Monbiot Debunks Michael Moore’s Planet of the Humans

‘Planet of the Humans’: A documentary film of despair or hope?, LEN YANNIELLI, People’s World,

There are two ways to distort the truth. One can lie outright. Another way is not to show the whole picture. This documentary does the latter big time.

The cynics in Planet of the Humans, both in so many words and images, point to the environmental movement and imply an awareness that is a mile wide and an inch deep. Be careful where cynics lead. It’s a “give up, it’s hopeless” outlook. The political right loves this stuff.

27 May 2020:

Planet of the Humans: a muddy cocktail of valid criticisms, disinformation and defeatism, Zane Alcorn, Green Left, provides a substantive and thoughtful “good, bad, & the ugly … missed opportunities” discussion with the URL providing the alternative summary of “muddy cocktail: valid criticisms, disinformation, and defeatism.”

30 May 2020:

POTH Is the Media Literacy Exercise of the Year, Tim Hjersted,, is a thoughtfully charitable review that looks past the innumerable errors and problems to identify points of agreement with POTH (many of which I and those writing reviews above would agree with); bemoans that the error-filled POTH is getting attention better spent on solutions (Silver BBs, not silver bullets) like Permaculture; and sees Gibbs’ and Moore’s post release interviews as quite different in messaging and engagement than the film itself.

9 June 2020:

Renewable Roundup: Michael Moore’s Planet of the (wrong, wrong, wrong!) Humans, Mokurai, Red, Green, & Blue, “ichael Moore definitely knows how to stir up a controversy, sometimes to good effect. But it is nearly universally agreed that Planet of the Humans (like Planet of the Apes, ha-ha, get it?) gets the science and technology all wrong, with disastrous policy implications.”

The Age Of Fire Is Ending — With Or Without Humans (Reaction To Planet Of The Humans Film), Jesper Berggreen , CleanTechnica (30 Apr), combines blunt castigation (“it’s incredible how totally shallow this movie is…like watching a 1970s documentary on the topic of science fiction technologies that would never be viable. … all information brought forward was a decade old at best”) with a long, thoughtful discourse about space of (derived) agreement: that addressing climate change requires the end of the Age of Fire: that humanity move beyond the burning of ‘things (whether fossil fuels or biomass).

After hundreds of thousands of years of burning stuff to reach this self-acclaimed pinnacle of human ingenuity, I think it is time for this fire-tool to accompany the stone-tools in the museums. Otherwise this will actually be our pinnacle, and what a sad way to see us go. Imagine, in all history of life on this planet there will be a pre-fire and post-fire era. The prior was sustainable in its own right. The latter could be too.

War on Science: Even more debunkings of the lousy science of “Planet of the Humans”, Climate Denier Roundup, Red Green and Blue (12 May 2020)

Michael Moore’s new film is a bullshit look at clean energy. Why?, Climate Denier Roundup, Red Green and Blue (26 Apr 2020)

A Detailed Break-Down of the Misinformation in ‘Planet of the Humans’? (Part 1/3), Aniket Bhor, (30 April) provides a point-by-point direct rebuttal of many of the film’s deceptive ad false clean energy assertions.

9 July 2020: Okay, it has been awhile but not because Michael Moore has somehow discovered truth or Planet of the Humans has improved therefore thoughtful critiques still emerge. Here is one that just came to my attention:

Why you can’t rely on some documentaries for the full picture, Dr. Shane McDonough, RTÉ (Irish National TV), takes on faux documentaries for focusing on entertaining, rather than educating; for presenting black and white falsely rather than engage complex grey uncertainty honestly.

Entertainment is not journalism. Grey areas do exist, but fewer and fewer of our films occupy that space. Shock dissipates, the right information has a chance of staying with you. The central theme of Moore and Gibbs’ film is that we cannot sustainably supply all of our projected energy needs with renewables without huge change. Instead, though, we end up with a piece where you could well come away thinking wind turbines are worse than coal power plants.

Energy Transition Show[Episode #125] – Beyond Planet of the Humans” with Chris Nelder & Auke Hoekstra. Nelder and Hoekstra explore the angle that Gibbs’ work suggests that he got a totally false idea stuck in his head: that energy transition to be easy? And, on discovering this was false, he felt betrayed … and then put together a film attacking solution paths rather than exploring the real solutions that were emerging and becoming reality as he made the film. “He continued doggedly down this path with a conspiratorial view …”

10 July 2020: Der Film ist ein destruktiver, nihilistischer Versuch, eine dunkle Weltsicht darzustellen und die grünen Energien und die lösungsorientierte Umweltbewegung zu diskreditieren. (Michael Moore’s new film “Planet of the Humans” is a plea for extinction and its time afterwards – luckily.), Marlene Weiß, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 6 May 2020

“It is at least partially justified to point out grievances, for example with bioenergy,” says Andreas Graf from the Agora Energiewende think tank. However, the problem is that many facts are out of date or wrong. “The film is a destructive, nihilistic attempt to present a dark worldview and to discredit the green energies and the solution-oriented environmental movement.”

In fact, the only practical alternative is extinction if you adopt the view of the film. Gibbs campaigns for modesty: fewer people who consume less should be the salvation. But if you reject renewables, that’s not a solution either. As long as Jeff Gibbs is cruising through America in a petroleum-powered car to visit ancient solar parks, things are not sustainable. And if he were the last one to do it.

All, in all, sigh … why, Michael, why?

If you still have the urge to see the film

Then click to Planet of the Humans (2019), Films for Action. So, if after reading and considering the material here/above, you still wish to watch this mockumentary (a mockery of a documentary), I suggest doing so via Films for Action and the thoughtful commentary there.

Additional Comments:

  • Matthew Johnson // Apr 27, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    You might consider this document the critiques the fundamental assumption that population control is a solution for climate and ecological crisis.

  • 2 Richard Mercer // Apr 29, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks for putting this together. Bravo

  • 3 Misinformation in Planet of the Humans | My view on climate change // Apr 30, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    […] Moore’s Boorish Planet of The Humans: An Annotated Collection […]

  • 4 Eric Brooks // May 1, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    Here’s my contribution for folks to read, and for you to consider adding to the list. Its value is that it is a very aggressive, short, and simple rebuttal, using basic laypersons’ language, and so is a good introduction to the film’s basic outrageous attacks.

    Michael Moore’s Bullshit Attack On Renewable Energy & The Environmental Movement

  • 5 Calgacus // May 3, 2020 at 12:59 am

    Was making up my own list, but this one is much, much better. Only had three that aren’t here, including the second part of Ketan Joshi’s essays, the first is linked already here.

    Brian Tokar- “Humans” are not the problem: Reflections on a “useless” documentary
    Ketan Joshi- This is where hard work got us (another post about the bad film)
    David Schwartzman- Film Review: ‘Planet of Humans’ Misplaces the Blame on Population Growth

    Thank you.

  • 6 Angry Bear » Planet of the Humans: A De-Growth Manifesto // May 4, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    […] having sold out to billionaire ecological exploiters.  You can read about the misrepresentations elsewhere; my point is that, whatever else it is, the film is a logically consistent statement of the […]

  • 7 Fossil fuel-backed climate deniers rush to promote Michael Moore's 'Planet of The Humans' | RenewEconomy // May 5, 2020 at 12:34 am

    […] A Siegel, Get Energy Smart Now: “Planet of The Humans: An Annotated Collection“ […]

  • 8 The Inconvenient Truthiness of Michael Moore's 'Planet of the Humans' | Capital & Main // May 6, 2020 at 10:23 am

    […] another moment in time, I and everyone else who writes about climate might have ignored Moore and Gibbs as a couple of aging bad-boy cranks, […]

  • 9 Michael Moores New Film Turns Heroes into Villains and Villains into Heroes | Opinion – Autopilot Social Media // May 7, 2020 at 9:29 am

    […] fatal flaws in the film have been enumerated in excruciating detail elsewhere. They include 1) the deceptive use of data, photographs and interviews that are a decade old to […]

  • 10 350 Bay Area's Take on "Planet of the Humans" - 350 Marin // May 8, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    […] today with renewable energy. This review is helpful for that HERE and there is a long list of them HERE that includes this one from The Nation, written by Josh Fox, who beat Moore to showing how bad […]

  • 11 Joseph Ratliff // May 9, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Quite a few links, and a bit of description.

    Which reviews address the following 2 issues about solar and wind (assuming you’ve read every single one you shared):

    1. Cost externalization, including materials and other resources used to make and maintain solar panels and batteries for storage.

    2. Environmental impact of building solar, wind, etc. (e.g. waste disposal, land use, etc.)

    I would like to focus my attention on those reviews and how they address these two very real issues.

    Look, don’t think anyone in a review — of a so troubled film — will get into these in the detail you likely desire even though finding discussions of exactly this sort of thing is relatively easy. As I recall, the first three all touch on these questions … but briefly.

    [1] Re externalization, life-cycle analyses aren’t ‘externalizing’ these impacts but count them in pollution/carbon loads. There isn’t any serious analysts who views any energy source as without problems and impacts — but, the relative impacts of wind/solar are far below those of fossil fuels (period) whether one wants to talk carbon, health impacts, or other pollution. And, btw, the same is true of [2]. “Energy Sprawl” is an exaggeration, misrepreented impact. Yes, there are wind turbines to dispose of … and, (a) they are a tiny portion of overall waste issues and (b) industry is working hard on making the blades recyclable.

  • 12 350 Bay Area's Take on "Planet of the Humans" - 350 Bay Area // May 11, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    […] today with renewable energy. This review is helpful for that HERE and there is a long list of them HERE that includes this one from The Nation, written by Josh Fox, who beat Moore to showing how bad […]

  • 13 Patrick Mazza // May 12, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Here’s my entry, from the standpoint of a longterm climate activist. I am not sure anyone else has so clearly drawn out the logic of the way Moore, Gibbs and company undermine the IPCC 2030 goal for 50% carbon reduction, though it is clearly there –

    Good piece. Thank you. Will add it in.

  • 14 An Environmental Advocate's Response to 'Planet of the Humans' | // May 14, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    […] Moore Takedowns Annotated… […]

  • 15 Why Michael Moore's electric car myths only benefit the fossil fuel industry | The Driven // May 18, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    […] nearly a month now, and the list of critiques outlining the misinformation in the film is extremely long – that’s a lot of people having a bad […]

  • 16 Steve Ongerth // May 19, 2020 at 10:45 am

    Here’s an article I wrote seven years ago debunking the anti wind/solar arguments made by Ozzie Zehner which are basically recycled into this film:

  • 17 Steve Ongerth // May 19, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Here is some useful information and a boilerplate statement on renewable energy, electric vehicles and the use of rare earths, lithium, and cobalt:

    People really need to stop blaming renewable energy and electric vehicles for the extraction of rare earths, cobalt, and lithium, as if those are the only things such elements / minerals are used for. The biggest consumers of those elements / minerals are (in no particular order): handheld devices, computer chips, military hardware, the fossil fuel extraction/consumption supply chain, and conventional internal combustion engine automobiles. If we eliminated (or greatly reduced) the most of those things, the renewable energy / electric vehicle consumption would be a far less significant challenge. Also, those elements/minerals can be recycled as much as 95% in most cases, and 80% in the most difficult cases, and that’s with existing technology.

    This is much ado about nothing.

    Sources on rare earths, lithium, conflict minerals, mining, and recycling:

    (1) A Just(ice) Transition is a Post-Extractive Transition – (makes the case that fixating on blaming renewable energy, storage batteries, and EVs for the predicetd massive uposurge in extraction is misdirected);

    (2) Responsible minerals sourcing for renewable energy – and (makes the case that most of the minerals can be sourced through recycling and efficiency);

    (3) Green Conflict Minerals: The fuels of conflict in the transition to a low-carbon economy – and (Identifies the conflict areas, nations, examples, but rightlly identifies the problem as one of *capitalism*, not *technology*);

    and further background reading:

  • 18 Steve Ongerth // May 19, 2020 at 10:48 am

    Lastly, here is a podcast (which I inspired Chris Nelder to do) basically debunking Jevon’s Paradox (or rather, the careless misapplication of it):

  • 19 A Siegel // May 19, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks for all this material Steve.

  • 20 Paul Cienfuegos // May 21, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    It’s so interesting to me that you folks put in an inordinate amount of time and energy to generate this list of oppositional statements to the film,

    Saddened that such efforts are sometimes required and useful. Someone needs to do such things and, well, sometimes I take my turn in line. Such as when I did that for The Will Affair re climate science denialism/deceit on The Washington Post opinion pages.

    but couldn’t be bothered to include any statements that supported the film.

    This mockumentary doesn’t merit “support” — there are some real issues and is some substance within it, but that is overwhelmed by the deceit, falsehoods, bad documentary practice, lack of meaningful solutions discussion, (essentially) libelous(-like) material/approaches …. I have read through/watched, sigh, now well over 100 commentaries. I am not interested in, have no reason to promote those who chose to excuse through all the problems. I also find Gibbs, Moore, and Zehner to be doubling down rather than dealing honestly with the film’s myriad problems.

    So you’re clearly not that interested in a real debate of ideas, I suppose.

    This is my blog. My investment of time, energy, and money. My thoughts. Why do I owe you or anyone the promotion of falsehoods, misleading material, agendas that are damaging, … I am allowing your comment to be posted.

    You only want the one side to get represented, as if “your” side is all good and true and “their” side is all bad and untrue.

    Actually pay attention to the discussed reviews … even some of annotated presentation of them. That words like “good, the bad, the ugly” appear makes explicit that every thoughtful reviewer, commentator, critique makes clear that the film is not 100% wrong, that there are real issues. Read Ewall’s piece — as an example of a highly sympathetic but substantive activist — which is entitled: “What POTH got Right, Wrong, and Missed”. And, ….

    However, having seen POTH, having read (too EFFing much) about it, having thought about it, the initial reaction re Robert Bryce which opens this annotated bibliography remains — that the problems so overwhelm the value to make POTH a dangerous piece of propaganda with damaging implications already playing out in the real world.

    The only real modification I might make to the Bryce comparison is to make an even stronger statement that it is quite clear that Bryce has lightyears more substance when it comes to energy than the Zehner, Gibbs, Moore trio and is more skillful at (somewhat) nuanced propaganda.

    Which means you’re as committed to propaganda as your so-called opponents are.

    This insulting really is inappropriate.
    I would be interested in truthful engagement. If POTH’s deceitful/false material were removed, appropriate context added, efforts made to follow-up, and real solutions/discussions of potential paths forward were added — there could have been an honest film to foster a real discussion about the ‘good’ of the film whether or not I (or others) agree. However, POTH was/is not an honest engagement and no amount of blustering in a comment to a blog can change that.

    You don’t even include in your list here the filmmaker’s very open and honest youtube discussions ABOUT the film,

    Having paid attention to much of it, I don’t find those to be “honest” as opposed to doubling down.

    where they address many of their opponents directly and openly.

    Again, that is not truthful.

    No, you won’t let THOSE voices appear on your list either. It really exposes your utter lack of interest in real dialogue and debate.

    Seriously, you come to someone else’s home and insult them … expecting them to embrace you wholeheartedly. Perhaps rethink your approach…

    Here are a few of those missing critiques. I hope you are at least willing to not make my post disappear: , , , .

    Btw, if Moore / Gibbs / Zehner were so embracing of ‘honest’ engagement with critiques, how come actual climate scientists (like Michael Mann), clean technology analysts/engineers, climate solution specialists (like Drawdown project), etc haven’t been on Rumble with Moore?

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