“Green” Energy?


Michael Moore has been the darling of progressive activists for three decades. But when he had the audacity to executive produce Jeff Gibbs’ Planet of the Humans, a documentary exposing the corruption, deception, and failure of the green energy movement, he was summarily dismissed from their circle. The film has been called “dangerous,” “absurd,” and “shockingly misleading.” Trotsky himself didn’t experience a more decisive fall from grace.

Undaunted, Moore released the film publicly on YouTube on April 21, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and it has already been viewed 4 million times. It will be available at no cost for 30 days. You can watch it here: https://youtu.be/Zk11vI-7czE . You’ll need this link, because if you search for it in the normal way, by googling “YouTube Planet of the Humans,” you’ll likely end up watching a World Science Festival documentary instead. That’s what will appear at the top of your search. These crafty internet capitalists have so much control over what we see!

The film begins, “Have you ever wondered what would happen if a single species took over an entire planet? . . . How would they know when it is their time to go?” His conclusion is that “less is more. Carbon dioxide isn’t destroying the planet; it is us.”

The film has been called “dangerous,” “absurd,” and “shockingly misleading.” Trotsky himself didn’t experience a more decisive fall from grace.

I don’t agree with director Jeff Gibbs’ conclusions; I don’t think capitalism is to blame, though crony capitalism certainly is, and I don’t buy the old Malthusian overpopulation argument that was repackaged in the 1960s by Paul and Anne Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb and reappears here as sort of a self-evident given that Gibbs doesn’t question. But more about that later. First, the good stuff.

Jeff Gibbs sees himself as a legitimate environmentalist. He lives in a cabin he built himself, and it’s powered by solar energy and wood fire. He lives simply and tries not to pollute. We could argue about what would happen to the environment if we all cut down dozens of trees to make logs for a cabin, and continued cutting down trees to heat our homes, with smoke pouring out of each chimney. But that’s not the point here — there’s a bigger story afoot.

Let’s start with electric cars. They’re quiet, they produce no exhaust, and you can plug them in anywhere you go — or so the advertising would have you believe. Elon Musk arranged with the government to provide subsidies to buyers of his electric cars, and to provide electricity in parking lots along major thoroughfares. Because drivers of electric cars are so virtuous, they get to park right next to the handicapped spots and plug into outlets powered by the local municipality. Free fuel!

We could argue about what would happen to the environment if we all cut down dozens of trees to make logs for a cabin. But that's not the point.

At a car show in Lansing spotlighting the then-new Chevy Volt, Gibbs asks where the power comes from. “The plug,” responds the Chevy rep. When pressed, she acknowledges that the power comes from the Lansing power grid, whose electricity comes from — you guessed it — coal. Or at least it did. When “coal free” became the battle cry, many municipalities quietly turned to natural gas. The point is, you can put the gas into your car, or you can put it into the electricity grid, and then into your car. One way or another, fossil fuels are getting you to the office.

In the documentary, Gibbs attends an Earth Day celebration where Earth Day founder Denis Hayes announces proudly that the event is “powered 100% by solar energy.” Gibbs takes his camera to the back of the venue and has a little talk with the engineers. Pointing to the array of solar panels, the engineer scoffs, “That could maybe power a toaster.” Another backstage installer admits that the concert is being run on a diesel generator.

In the long run, that’s probably a good thing. As Gibbs discovers, solar power is one of the blackest forms of energy. According to Ozzie Zehner, those solar panels are made not from beach sand but from quartz mined in mountains. The quartz is heated by coal to 1,800 degrees and combined with more coal to produce silicon metal — and carbon dioxide. Moreover, those solar panels only last ten to twenty years, and when they break down, the toxic metals produce even more pollution. And they aren’t even efficient. How many solar panels would be required to provide electricity for a small town? A field approximately 15 square miles, according to one engineer in the film.

What about wind power? Vast expanses of Joshua trees have been uprooted to make room in the desert for these wind farms, and mountain tops in the eastern states have been flattened and denuded. Like the solar panels, these gigantic, sprawling monstrosities break down after a couple of decades, and also contain toxic materials. Where do you dispose of a wind turbine that weighs more than 100,000 pounds? You just leave it there, I guess.

How many solar panels would be required to provide electricity for a small town? A field approximately 15 square miles

And then there is the “intermittency” problem. Both solar and wind power have the disadvantage of not working when it is either dark or calm, requiring buildings to be connected to fossil fuel grids as a backup. Sure, some excess energy from these so-called renewable sources can be stored in batteries, but those batteries also break down after just a couple of years and the materials inside them are pollutants. Neither of these highly touted energy sources is truly “green.”

And what about biomass? Recently, in order to say that we’re “coal free,” coal burning plants have been converted to wood burning plants, and we’re right back to where we started in the pre-industrial age, burning trees (euphemistically called “wood chips”) and trash for fuel. But it’s renewable, right? Trees grow back. No more fossil fuels for Americans! According to the film, American plants bring wood from as far away as Indonesia, just to burn it up for fuel. And how much fossil fuel is used to transport those “wood chips” from Indonesia? One scene shows Richard Branson boasting of a new jet powered entirely by coconut oil. “There’s no downside!” he exclaims. Gibbs cuts to a coconut forest being bulldozed into the earth — by diesel-guzzling Caterpillars, of course.

As one person says, “You would be better off just using fossil fuels.”

Gibbs follows the money to demonstrate that these are not errors of judgment or ignorance but carefully calculated compliance to take advantage of government subsidies. Billionaires, bankers, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and politicians have all profited from the green revolution — a revolution that, as Gibbs reveals, is anything but green. Even the Sierra Club was in on the take — or at least on the investments that produced good profits.

These gigantic, sprawling monstrosities break down after a couple of decades, and also contain toxic materials.

Is there a solution to maintaining a cleaner environment without creating greater pollution down the road? Absolutely. Private entrepreneurs, innovators, and businesses are busily discovering solutions right now. In the western world, the air is much cleaner now than it was 50 years ago, and studies of currents have shown that most of the ocean’s pollution originates in the eastern hemisphere, not the western. While 16-year-old Greta Thunberg was scolding grownups for messing up the planet, 16-year-old Fionn Ferreira was designing a machine that can clean plastic from the ocean — even those tiny little pellets. At the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival in Las Vegas this year we will be highlighting the documentary They Say It Can’t Be Done, which showcases several great new innovations in medicine and environmentalism, including a machine that can absorb CO2 from the air and inject it into the earth, where it belongs, without creating vast ugly windmill farms.

Planet of the Humans is a provocative film that exposes the corruption and deception of the green movement by a voice from the green movement. It might not get everything right, but it gets enough right to start changing minds and thus changing the entire conversation about climate change, energy sources, and how to move forward successfully. Watch it while it’s still on YouTube.

Editor's Note: Review of "Planet of the Humans," directed by Jeff Gibbs, executive produced by Michael Moore. Huron Mountain Films, 100 minutes, 2019.

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What I find interesting is that the filmmakers failed to make the final logical step in realizing that in order for the green scam to work, it is critically important to persuade the population that the planet needs to be saved in the first place. That the alarmists, writers, green organizations and media make huge profits, scientists and various departments secure grants and a substantial number of people make livelihood out of all this as well and are getting funded by those same wily billionaires who profit from it (or worse, their funding is shifted to the taxpayer by them). They are thus essentially their paid propaganda or sales departments. (And, of course from that arises the necessity to marginalize and eradicate the doubters pouring sand into this well-oiled machine.) The entire climate change industry should have been logically included in the movie. But perhaps it would be too much to ask. It is bad enough to realize the wind mills (this time their very existence is quixotic), bio mass burning and solar panels are all scams, but nobody wants their entire worldview to go up in flames at the same time too and besides, this is probably the only way – let’s call it the first step - in making the deluded to pay some attention to what is actually happening. How else would we get them to watch something like this at all? The fact that I got a link to that movie from my greenie friend sort of proves it. (But I probably would not have watched it had I not read your review.) Plus it might be good for us if some purists keep their faith for, according to them, then the only real solution is for us to seriously cut back on what we expect from life –as they spelled it out in the movie, if not go back to the caves, and that is when everybody will finally have a personal interest in questioning their premises.

And one last note. Before we start patting ourselves on the back for how clean and environmentally friendly our industrial societies have become, I would recommend a little pause and take a close look at where most of the stuff we buy and consume comes from: That’s right, it all comes from polluting places like China, India, Mexico etc. So it seems that we haven’t so much cleaned up our industrial processes as moved them to places where WE don’t have to do that. Or is it all just a lucky coincidence, that as we –“as a world”– ostensibly pledge ourselves to new draconian “green“ measures, at the same time we exclude China, India & Co. from them. Isn’t it a wonderful world in which the multinationals can profit both ways? On green scams at home and by actually producing stuff the old, dirty, cheap way abroad (And eliminating competition too small to do likewise at the same time), while the dictatorial powers ruling in those countries, refusing to sign in on those new green deals provide a welcomed cover for the whole scheme too? It is all very natural, very seamless, no conspiracy is needed for the whole process to work. The environmental scams wear many disguises, and our hypocrisy is glaring. And if we continue to refuse to dirty ourselves up a little, we will just keep making China stronger until one day…we might be grateful for the Chinese one child policy.
As someone pointed out: Every new idea starts as an ideology, becomes a business and turns into a scam.

Can I also have a “second” last note? It is just that I would not want the readers of Liberty to be caught off guard claiming something not quite true somewhere: In the scene where the guy points at the solar panels array and says that it could power just about a 1200W toaster, he must have meant just one row of them. From the look of them , they were probably at least 100 watt panels each and there seem to have been quite a bit more of them than 12 ( I have not actually counted them) so I would say “the entire array” ,without batteries or other backup, could probably power at least three or four toasters – on a sunny day. We wouldn’t want to be unfair, would we?

Anyway, thank you for the heads up on the movie. A little ray of hope, of some improvement somewhere, is always welcomed. Especially in this depressing time.


Thanks; it's always a pleasure to read one of your reviews. Just one microscopic quibble:

"...including a machine that can absorb CO2 from the air and inject it into the earth, where it belongs..."

It's generally taken as gospel that more CO2 in the air is a bad thing, but ice core samples reveal that CO2 concentration was much higher for most of earth's history. It was three times now when dinosaurs ruled the earth, and life of all sorts was flourishing (as long as one of the nasty reptiles didn't get you). It seems at least likely to me that the more fossil fuels we burn, the better for the planet.


Thanks for your thoughtful comments! I was actually quoting the documentary "They Say It Can't Be Done" when I said CO2 returns to the earth "where it belongs." Perhaps I should have said, "Where it had been for millions of years (in the form of oil or coal)." And yes, CO2 is essential for plant life! I happen to think fossil fuel is the ultimate in renewable energy: dinosaurs lived and died millions of years ago, decomposed, turned into oil, and then we pulled it out of the ground and started using it for fuel--saving the sperm whales and trees that were then being used for fuel, I might add. I'm excited to see what the next wave of energy will be--or can be, if government stays out of the way.

Scott Robinson

Good review Jo Ann. I have watched Planet of the Humans and it really is a good exposure of the insincerity of all the politics of green and renewable energy. One of the best parts is where it shows that you first tear down mountains full of quartz and then burn coal and marry the quartz with coal to get the photovoltaic cells (solar panels). Then they show that solar farm that was built in Dagget, California, but was so ineffective that it has now been torn down and the town is back to being a ghost town.

When people talk about sustainable energy, I think about how coal is renewable, it just takes millions of years. Don't be greedy, haste makes waste. Like you did, I recommend everybody watch the Planet of the Humans to see what snake oil green energy is.

Nice Review,

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