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Brodie Farquhar: The climate change pitch

The following conversation is fictional but could happen tomorrow. The climate change science and events are real.

Movie studio executive: All right. You’re my wife’s second-cousin’s kid. What’s your movie idea pitch? Pretend we’re on an elevator together and that’s how much time you have.

Conservative screen writer: Thank you, sir. This is a story about a massive conspiracy and hoax. Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists conspire to sell a hoax that humans cause climate change by burning fossil fuels. Fortunately, a plucky band of fossil fuel CEOs and conservative politicians band together to expose the hoax, thus preserving the American way of life.

Executive: So is this a satire, like how “The Producers” satirized Hitler?

Writer: Oh, no sir. Heroic drama, in the spirit of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.”

Executive: Hmmmm.

Writer: Well, what do you think?

Executive: I think you’re a damn fool, though a “Producers” approach could be done. Before I call security and have them toss you off my lot, here’s why I think you’re wrong.

Executive: California is burning, in case you haven’t noticed. I have personally lost a vineyard, a winery and a little A-frame in the woods. In fact, a large number of actors, writers and crew members have seen homes, cabins and other properties go up in flames. Why? It is getting hotter, drier and there’s no such thing as a wildfire season. It is year-round, now. And wildfires don’t behave normally, anymore.

I also have a lovely, beach-front house near Miami Beach. None of my kids want to inherit the property, because they figure rising sea levels and more powerful hurricanes mean it’ll all be underwater by the time they have kids and grand kids themselves. You should read “The Water Will Come” by Jeff Goodell. Scare you spitless if you have Florida property.

I also have an office and a penthouse apartment in Manhattan. There’s enough money and political power there to protect the island for a few decades, but seacoast properties anywhere in America, anywhere in the world are going to drown by 2100 with estimates for sea-level rise from three to six feet. And Greenland glaciers are melting faster than anyone predicted.

I have a nice house in a Colorado ski town, slope-side. My family loves to ski and snow board and we love the cool weather in summers. Thing is, it is getting warmer and drier up there, as well.

My wife loves to hike and pick wildflowers, but many of them are simply vanishing. And snow? They largely depend on snow-making machines. Champagne powder is rarer, and snow with the consistency of wet cement more common. But it’ll be cooler and drier than Miami, LA or New York.

Suppose someone made a pitch like your’s in the ’90s – that 97 percent of the world’s medical community conspired to create the hoax that tobacco was dangerous, but a plucky band of tobacco executives and conservative politicians fought back, exposed the hoax and preserved tobacco as a safe, enjoyable product. Sounds absurd today, but the strategy Big Tobacco used — deny, doubt and delay — is the identical strategy that’s been used by Big Fossil Energy.

All of humanity, all of life, is now at risk due to climate change. If there’s any hope at all, it lies in world-wide mobilization, stopping fossil fuel burning and adopting renewable energy technologies. Oh, yeah, and voting out the party that has prostituted itself for fossil fuel campaign money.

Now, get out.

Writer: Thank you for your time. I know my way out.

Brodie Farquhar,

Hayden


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