A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Two big wry smiles on The Day after Tomorrow.....

First, among all the twaddle being written about The Day after Tomorrow, here is an excellent comment in The Daily Telegraph (May 24): 'Climate change is a great opportunity':

"The biggest puzzle here is our enthusiasm to believe that we're all doomed unless we stop burning oil and coal. Of course many of those preaching environmental disaster would secretly be pleased to see it happen.

Quite apart from the immense satisfaction of the told-you-so, they reckon we've got it coming, especially in the West, because we have been so irritatingly successful. More people than ever before are living healthier, longer and wealthier lives than their grandfathers could have contemplated, in almost every part of the globe.

We love spooking ourselves, which is why we go to movies such as Independence Day. Global warming, though, is as much an opportunity as a threat, and the money being squandered on cutting CO2 emissions would be far better spent on finding ways to exploit the opportunity, especially for the world's poorer countries. Economic growth, not bunny-hugging, produces the resources to tackle big problems. So enjoy the movie, but do remember: it's fiction."

And, secondly [and in good time], here is my own very wry view of The Day after Tomorrow (journalists - please feel free to quote): The Day after Tomorrow appears to be just another, rather cartoon-like, Boys' Own, disaster movie, and I'm sure it will be enjoyed as such. The Ice Age was, I think, more fun, and certainly rather wittier (especially about evolution). Moreover, poor-old New York has been destroyed so often now, by big gorillas to aliens, that another crushed apple won't prove the ultimate crunch. In addition, the 'science' of this particular New York blockbuster would seem to be no less hokum, and we should not take it seriously. Nevertheless, I'm absolutely certain that the 'Green' bunnies will be on every media warning us that we shall all freeze, fry, or flood [take your pick] in our burrows if we don't mend our naughty ways. It will be somewhat amusing to see these earnest souls desperate to extract the maximum 'shock' value from such wayward science. But will I go to see it? You must be joking! I'm saving up my pennies for something much more fun - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the De-Luxe DVD of The Lord of the Rings. After all, these are far more realistic! Enjoy the disaster, but then go out and have a nice meal- and forget it.

Philip, your saner Film Critic. Popcorn time? "Hi! Could you turn down the air-conditioning in this cinema, please? Thanks."

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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