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Published on November 15th, 2010 | by Jeremy Bloom


Uncool – Climate Skeptic’s Documentary Flops

It was supposed to be the middle-of-the-road answer to the “global warming sensationalism” of Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth”.

But “Skeptical Environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg’s un-scary climate change documentary, “Cool It”, appears to be anything but sensational. It opened this weekend to the rousing reception of a tree falling in the forest with nobody there. It took in a frigid $26,847 at the box office –  $655 average per theater.

Gore’s film, in contrast, opened with $281,330 (on just four screens!), and went on to take in nearly $50 million worldwide on its way to a “Best Documentary” Oscar win.

(For background on Lomborg and the documentary, read our article from Friday, ” ‘Cool It’Documentary – Sensible Take on Global Warming, or Nonsense?”)

How did it make out with the critics?

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinal:

There’s plenty of room for debate within the broad scientific discussion of global climate change. The question raised by the new documentary “Cool It” is whether Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg deserves a place in that debate.

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune:

It’s soothing when a film suggests that there are neat, simple solutions to vastly complex problems. But it’s probably wrong.

Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter:

The economics of climate change policy get a thorough dissection in “Cool It,” from two-time Sundance grand jury doc winner Ondi Timoner. Polemical in tone, wide-ranging in scope and persuasive to a degree, the film seems unlikely to find as many fans as either of her more engaging titles (“Dig!,” “We Live in Public”), but may attract modest art house interest — although cable and DVD likely offer broader audiences.

Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times:

Blond, boyish and with an irrepressible faith in human adaptability, Mr. Lomborg is the anti-Gore.

Matt Pais,

A scattered narrative that occasionally feels like Grumpy Old Men: Science Edition.

Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post:

With the charismatic, articulate (and, yes, kind of hunky) Lomborg in front of the camera for much of the film – along with a parade of scientists who support his views – “Cool It” makes a convincing case that there are better things we can do than drive a Prius. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, he says; it’s just not going to solve much.

Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer:

Cool It offers no new insights into the internecine debates in enviro-policy.

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle:

It’s hard, too, to shake the sense that Lomborg is promoting more than just a different perspective on climate debate. He’s promoting his book — and himself.

More background:

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About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He just moved to Los Angeles, and continues trying to change the world in positive ways.

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