Tuesday, July 9, 2013

“Pandora’s Promise” and “Switch” raise the right issues but get nuclear wrong


Both Pandora and Switch seductively engage and persuade. Yet they are both fatally flawed. Both dismiss a serious engagement with renewable energy without a persuasive engineering or scientific analysis. Both slide too facilely into highly risky technologies (nuclear and gas), dismiss the risks, fail to discuss costs, and offer no analysis of opportunity costs (what other things could we do with the money?). Both rely on a breathtakingly narrow spectrum of opinion about energy and leave other equally qualified experts by the wayside.
Both Pandora and Switch end up as biased and not objective, despite their strenuous assertions to the contrary. The “good-good” film on energy remains to be made.

Two recent movies, Pandora’s Promise and Switch, promote massive changes in the U.S. energy economy; both embrace nuclear power and point to France as the nuclear success story. The two-part company, however, on natural gas: Switchsees gas plus nuclear as the major energy sources of the future, but Pandora gives gas no significant role.

These are “good-bad” movies. They effectively raise the right issues but crash on flawed conclusions. Pandora correctly places energy at the heart of the most important environmental issue: climate change. Switch nods to the importance of climate change, but its forte lies in portraying the energy economy as a whole.

Together the two films rivet attention on the role of the energy industries in climate change. With superb photography, they effectively seduce the viewer. Make no mistake about it: These films engage and persuade. That’s precisely why the nonsense of their conclusions is so deadly...

more > “Pandora’s Promise” and “Switch” raise the right issues but get nuclear wrong | Grist

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