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New Climate Film Is Just More Propaganda

April 10, 2024
CLARK'S REMARKS: A slick movie is making the rounds online, claiming climate change is an elaborate hoax. Don't fall for it.

On two recent occasions, I reported here on the results of lawsuits that touched our industry. After the second piece, I was criticized for attempting to be a legal reporter – despite my own published disclaimer – and I stand by my judgment that the content was relevant to HPAC Engineering’s readership.

Well, now I’m going to play film critic, which is sure to draw even more ire from some readers, both for my impertinence and for my commentary. Even so, this one is relevant, too, because of the film's potential impact on public debate. Last month, a slick pseudo-documentary entitled Climate, The Movie (The Cold Truth) was released on YouTube. 

Full disclosure: I only watched the entire movie once (I couldn’t bring myself to view it again). So my comments are based on my first impressions. Although the film claims to be a documentary, I found it to be more like World War II Axis propaganda. According to, “Propaganda is the more or less systematic effort to manipulate other people’s beliefs, attitudes, or actions... Propagandists have a specified goal or set of goals... To maximize effect, they may omit or distort pertinent facts or simply lie.” [Emphasis added.]

Climate, The Movie, attempts to completely discredit the entire notion of anthropogenic climate change and the climate scientists who endorse it. It begins by presenting “scientific evidence” that neither the planet’s temperature nor its CO2 levels are actually increasing. But then it also hedges, noting that, if indeed the temperature and CO2 levels are, in fact, increasing, well, that’s a good thing.

Along the way, the film supports its argument with authentic-looking animated graphs and trendlines (the graphics, and in fact, the entire production, are well-produced), with only vague, ambiguous attribution, plus interviews with so-called climate experts. While the speakers actually may possess legitimate academic credentials, their back stories also suggest they may have a non-academic motivation. Interestingly, most of the experts, interviewed by a British narrator with a confidence-inspiring voice, can be found in DeSmog’s Climate Disinformation Database.

According to its website, “DeSmog was founded in January 2006 to clear the PR pollution that is clouding the science and solutions to climate change... [Visitors] can browse our extensive research on the individuals and organizations that have helped to delay and distract the public and our elected leaders from taking needed action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and fight global warming.”

Among those individuals in the database is Martin Durkin, the film’s controversial director, known for his anti-green and extreme political agenda. In 2007, he solidly established his climate change denier credentials when he directed The Great Global Warming Swindle. Adding to his infamy, he later directed Brexit: The Movie, in 2016, which encouraged the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. Guardian columnist George Monbiot, quoted in, Durkin describes himself as a Marxist, although other sources claim that he is a libertarian. Those sources have also connected him to the the now-disbanded Revolutionary Communist Party.

In his Climate film, Durkin eventually presents a conspiracy theory: that climate science is really about destroying free-market capitalism, and that sustainability professionals, like me, are in it only for the money and don’t really believe the science. It’s only speculation on my part, of course, but I’d bet that Durkin makes more money than most climate scientists and sustainability practitioners. Still, his film attacks the researchers who accept government grants for their work, claiming they know they will lose their funding and be "culture-canceled" by their colleagues if they don't get on the “climate bandwagon." 

For me, this begs the question of who funded this film, and the answer is not at all clear.

The last part of the film was, for me, particularly upsetting. Its premise is that Western nations are pushing sustainability on African nations only to keep them in poverty, and that Big Oil is the only thing that can save them. To me, that is both preposterous and insulting.

As most of our readers hopefully know, Clark’s Remarks has always tried to be balanced. I’ve called out the extreme left for unrealistic and unhelpful policies like the “Green New Deal,” and I've criticized the far right for its political agenda that promotes climate change denial in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence. This new film, I believe, is nothing but fossil fuel industry propaganda, and it manages to damage the rational green movement and to further call into question the fossil fuel industry’s shaky credibility.

In other words, it does neither side of this important issue any favors.


A contributor to HPAC Engineering since 2013 and a member of its editorial advisory board, the author is a principal at Sustainable Performance Solutions LLC, a south Florida-based engineering firm focusing on energy and sustainability. He can be reached at [email protected].