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BY Jackie Mirandola Mullen : February 21

Global Warming Movie Carbon Nation Review

Global warming movie junkies will love Carbon Nation’s upbeat, optimistic perspective on global warming

Global Warming Movie Carbon Nation

Peter Byck sends a clear message in his new global warming movie, “Carbon Nation”: doom-and-gloom forecasts about climate change are a thing of the past. For those global warming movie junkies who have seen bits like “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Eleventh Hour,” “The Cove,” “Food, Inc.,” or any number of other predictors of cataclysmic environmental catastrophe, “Carbon Nation” will come as a welcome respite.

Byck intentionally designs his global warming movie as an upbeat, optimistic seeker of real, easy (or real easy) answers. Treading where many have trod before might render Byck’s approach fresh, but leave his content stale.

We have split our review into 5 categories with corresponding point values (similar to our reviews of LED light bulbs): Issues (25 pts), Technology (25 pts), Presentation/Aesthetics (25 pts), and Effectiveness (25 pts).

Issues: Current Relevancy of Analysis (18 of 25)

“Carbon Nation” touches on political resistance to climate change, mostly by bemoaning “huge corporate interests” (as stated by an interview with Byck on or sluggish bureaucracies that can’t shift gears. Corporations and bureaucracies do hinder change, but we’d have liked to see Byck get a little more specific as to how politics or actions could reform the bad guys.

In his global warming movie, Byck seems to do most of his problem-solving in side-steps, where he finds a new path to better policies rather than the restructuring of an old system. This can be good, especially when pushing through tax or market reforms take so long and have relatively little success in the U.S. “Carbon Nation” undermines its innovativeness, however, when it uncreatively pushes for a carbon tax—something with little to no political capital, which the EPA has discovered in its recent attempts to bypass Congress on the issue. If the entire point of this global warming movie is about getting outside of the box to solve climate change, why try to open a solution that’s already been sealed into an untouchable box countless times?

Technology: Up-to-date, innovative? (20 of 25)

While its policy analysis comes across somewhat limp, Carbon Nation’s technology review combines a few innovative solutions with successful and unsuccessful outdated ideas.  For instance, external power units on idling big-rigs could save about a million tons of emissions, while still allowing truckers to sleep comfortably. However, painting roofs white, caulking buildings, and installing solar panels on roofs are so frequently touted as ways to “do your part” that they’ve become cliché—yes, even if Van Jones says it.

Overall Presentation and Aesthetics (25 of 25):

Preservation is where this global warming movie blows the socks off its competitors. Upbeat music with a slight old-west feel creates a mood that’s happy while also distinctively American. Byck clearly aims this movie at a young crowd, which is evident in his “next generation” language and entrepreneurial hints. The film’s coolness is cemented not in its inspirational tactics, but in its choice of narrator (Bill Kurtis, who most under-40s will recognize from the cult-favorite Anchorman) and its sassy phrases like “Career Badass” and “Do it because you’re a greedy bastard.” Freeze-frames and solo-shots of military heroes and a former CIA director keep the pace quick and the mood lively.

Effectiveness in making its point (22 of 25)

Byck ultimately states that this should be easy, which leads his narrator to the question, why hasn’t everyone solved these problems already? As we stated in the policy review section, blaming slow progress on bureaucratic slowness and bad corporations doesn’t help dig to the answer. The global warming movie “Carbon Nation” seems to make the point that not enough people have tapped into the fortunes to be made tackling climate change because of negative connotations of “being green.” The global warming movie then dismantles this argument as it shows manly military men, Texans, patriots, minorities, and poor urban residents all hopping on the green economy boat.

By documenting the people already on the ground, global warming movie “Carbon Nation” reveals that the question “Why hasn’t everyone done it already?” is actually a trick question. Byck’s answer is that they ARE doing it—and if you are too slow or unsophisticated to get onboard, don’t cry when your oil company goes the way of the American steel industry.

Overall (85 of 100): B

This movie is peppy and fun, but offers more suggestions and testimonials than answers. “Carbon Nation” doesn’t touch on causes of climate change, and the global warming movie only goes into the slow music of apocalyptic environmental documentaries three or four times, before quickly returning to its forte: answers.

Some of these answers are too old: its simply suggestions will come across as painfully simplistic and somewhat insulting to those already on the green wagon, but these viewers will also find its focus on real-life solutions and innovations refreshing. We would like to see some business colleges high-ranking Universities watch this video—find the kids who want to make fortunes and hand them some examples, guidance, and a challenge. An entrepreneurial lesson and creative kick-start is essentially what Byck is giving with this global warming movie, whether he realizes it or not.

7 Responses to Global Warming Movie Carbon Nation Review

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  6. Liz Klein on February 21, 2011 at 10:34 pm

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