Michael Moore: Planet of the Humans available for free

Michael Moore released his latest documentary on youtube for free:

Since it will be a while before it can come out in theaters…


I’m leery because I read it disses solar power, but I might still give it a chance.


I don’t agree with him on everything, but he always has some good food for thought.


Thanks for posting that. I just watched it. It’s eye-opening.

Michael Moore doesn’t appear in the movie at all and it’s lacking his warmth and hope. And consequently, it’s unrelentingly grim and upsetting. It might not be the ideal movie for someone left emotionally fragile by Coronavirus an’ all. But a worthwhile watch.

(Unicorn Chaser)


Thanks for saying that! People should be aware if they are struggling with their mental health right now. I’ll put a note in the OP.

I hope to get around to it soon.


The review I read too. I can’t imagine why I would watch it. Gosh, our environmental crisis is really bad? My eyes are opened!


It was an eye-opener for me. In my ignorance, I was kinda holding out for the solarpunk utopia.

It is worth watching though. And it might be worthy of its own thread.

I’d like it very much if someone who knows more about green energy than me was able to refute at least some of it.


Did you find the dissing of solar convincing?

Does it just knock the way solar is being done, or does it junk the whole concept?

(Sorry, I too am not up to watching it, but I am generally a fan of his movies. And commentary-- one of the few who predicted trump’s win.)


I like his movies too and I even like his hyperbole and silly stunts. I think that makes his movies more entertaining and makes them accessible to a wider audience. But he is only executive producer in this movie. He didn’t write it and he doesn’t appear in it. It will almost certainly harsh your Coronavirus mellow!

The movie addresses solar, wind and biomass. Especially biomass. It doesn’t really set out to diss anything. Its approach is from the point of view of an environmentalist rather than a climate change denier.

The thesis is that solar and wind have high investment costs both financially and in terms of environmental impact. Solar panels are made out of mined high grade quartz (not sand as is commonly believed) and windmills are made of enormous quantities of concrete. Which would be fine if the investment lasted a long time, but the movie states that both solar and windmills don’t last long enough to pay off their environmental debt. And since no one has really cracked a way to store electricity cheaply and efficiently, there still needs to be a coal/oil/gas backup in addition to solar and wind.

And then it goes on to state that even though there has been lots of investment in green energy, it hasn’t actually replaced fossil fuels, it has just met some of the increased demand.

A good chunk of the movie is about biomass fueled generators. In theory these burn pellets and produce CO2 but then the biomass that you’re going to burn in 5 years will have recaptured that CO2 so it’s all good. Except that the pellets are made from forests and rubber pellets made from old tyres are used to get the combustion temperature high enough to burn the green, wet timber.

And if America were to burn every single tree, there would only be enough trees to meet America’s energy needs for one year.

And apparently there have been many hundreds of these things built over the last 20 years.

And then the movie addresses how all of this fake green energy came about and it turns out that the real villains are billionaires who basically bought out the environmental movement. The Koch Brothers are there, and Richard Branson and Al Gore. There is one single bit of levity in the whole movie - A pun on the name of one of Gore’s business partners. So there’s that - I guess it’s not unrelentingly grim after all.

What makes the film so devastating is that it’s been nearly 15 years since Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, and hundreds of billions of dollars has been invested into an industry that has only superficially addressed climate change. All that time and money and resources have been squandered in a sleight-of-hand trick by billionaires. And now we have this climate change apocalypse really looming now and we’re not really any better off than we were 20 years ago.


Thank you for taking the time to write this thorough summary.

Depressing indeed.


That’s an understatement, there is some very distressing footage and given how we’re collectively failing to deal with a global crisis after just 4 months it’s easy to come away with the feeling of despair at just how fucked we are. Whether that’s from seeing how we’re not going to solar our way out of the catastrophe, how the infrastructure of renewables can’t support itself without fossil fuels or the fact multi-billionaires have co-opted the movement and profited massively from it.


AFAIK, nuclear power plants and renewables do not mix well. In a grid with 80% renewables, there is no need and use for classical baseload generation like nuclear power plants, since they cannot be dialed up or down fast enough to follow demand. However, gas power plants can do this. And with using power-to-gas during periods with abundant renewables, storing the generated gas (this infrastructure already exists, at least in Europe), and burning it when there is a lack of renewables, a grid with 100% renewables is very well feasible.

In addition, nuclear power plants take ages to build, even if we started building loads of them right now, they would come online too late.

[Edited for typos.]


I agree that’s recognized as a problem, but some time in the last year I saw a report that people took another look at that on a “but what if we really really wanted to” basis and found it more feasible than previously thought. Sorry, no details.


You missed the part about storage. It’s a buffer for both the renewables (flattening out the variability) and the nuclear plants, so the nuclear is always running at full capacity. Without that buffer, a grid running 80% renewables isn’t going to work well anyway.

Power-to-gas is a method of storage. It is included in the broad heading of “storage” in the estimates above, along with other methods.

Anything we do, at the kind of scale we’re talking about, will take 10-15 years to deploy. Also, economies of scale and pre-fab plants could likely reduce the lead time for nuclear if we were sufficiently motivated.


@orenwolf maybe a couple other posts that should come along in the split




There’s one part in the movie where someone suggests using alligator fat as a fuel as they stand beside a glass container of pink translucent goo.

I’m not a thermodynamicist, but it can’t be efficient to turn apex predators into pink goo.

I’m guessing it’s probably more efficient (thermodynamically) to get them to run on a treadmill or something and throw the occasional chicken at them.

Also, Alligator Power makes Nuclear Power look safe and attractive.


Also, aren’t some gators endangered?


Not by me. I’m terrified by the fuckers!!


They are scary. Crocodiles, even more so. But important apex predators in their respective ecosystems…


Yeah, scary. They’re basically dinosaurs, aren’t they? They stopped evolving 'cos they didn’t need to evolve any more, I think.

The idea of turning them into fuel is absurd though and it’s horrific that someone would suggest it.