Movie Review - "Energy on Trial"
Last night I had the displeasure of seeing the latest movie by Annapolis sailing legend and Cruising World/Sailing World Editor-at-Large Gary Jobson. The movie began as all energy documentaries usually do, with an explanation of energy sources along with the strain that populations put on them. Jobson's claim about his movie is that he is presenting a clear understanding of all the different energy sources to begin a dialogue that would make people think and ask how we can do better.
That would have been great if it were true. Halfway through the movie, and after hearing from no less then Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore, the movie looked more and more like a PR piece for nuclear energy than a critical piece on all types of energy. Mr. Moore is a former environmental activist, known as one of the early members of Greenpeace, in which he was an activist from 1971 to 1986. Today he is the co-founder, chair, and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies in Vancouver, a consulting firm that provides paid public relations efforts, lectures, lobbying, opinions and committee participation to government and industry on a wide range of environmental and sustainability issues. He is a frequent public speaker at meetings of industry associations, universities, and policy groups.
He has sharply and publicly differed with many policies of major environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, on other issues including forestry, biotechnology, aquaculture, and the use of chemicals for flame retardants. He is an outspoken proponent of nuclear energy and skeptical of sole human responsibility for climate change. On April 28, 2005, he appeared in front of the United States Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources and made this statement: “Nuclear energy is the only non-greenhouse gas-emitting power source that can effectively replace fossil fuels and satisfy global demand.” Hardly an unbiased source, but Mr. Jobson uses his point of view over and over in the movie.
Mr. Jobson also failed to present opponents of nuclear energy such as Beyond Nuclear or anyone who has been damaged by nuclear energy. He failed to ask: What would a world full of nuclear plants look like? This outrageous movie puts nuclear energy in the same light as nuclear medicine. He went on to glorify nuclear energy with the good record of that energy’s use in submarines as though the U.S. Navy were going to be in charge of the plants themselves.
He also left out all the accomplishments of truly clean renewable energies such as solar, geothermal, and wind. So for Mr. Jobson’s sake I wish he would stick to making films about sailing.