Michael Moore climate change film accused of inaccuracies and outdated science

A new film produced by documentary filmmaker Michael Moore criticising the environmental movement has been accused of a series of inaccuracies and outdated claims.

Planet of the Humans is described by the Bowling for Columbine director as a “wake-up call” and contains claims that renewable energy is as bad as burning fossil fuels.

The film, directed by Mr Moore’s long-time collaborator Jeff Gibbs, has had 3 million views since it was released on YouTube last week to mark the 50th Earth Day.

But it was briefly pulled from the website of online film distributor Films for Action, which said the film was “full of misinformation”, following an open letter signed by dozens of climate scientists and experts.

The central argument of the film is that renewable technologies such as solar, wind and biomass, and technologies like electric vehicles rely on fossil fuels for their construction and operation and therefore cannot be considered environmentally friendly.

Mr Moore says the film exposes the “reality” that limiting population and consumption growth are the only way to keep climate change in check and says the green movement has been sold out to “corporate America”.

But the film overlooks many of the technological developments that have improved the efficiency and environmental credentials of renewables in recent years.

Leah Stokes, a professor specialising in energy and environmental policy at the University of California, said the film was “riddled with errors about clean energy”.

Ms Stokes said that, for instance, claims in the film that solar panels are only 8 per cent efficient were a decade old, and Mr Gibbs’ suggestion that electric vehicles are not green because they rely on coal-powered electricity were also outdated.

A study from the University of Exeter last month concluded that electric cars have lower lifetime emissions than petrol cars in 95 per cent of the world, and are on track to become less polluting as more electricity is sourced from renewable energy.

The film also attacks figureheads from the environmental movement, including Al Gore and Michael Bloomberg. One of its targets, activist Bill McKibben, said his attempts to correct claims about him before the film’s release were ignored. 

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