Cool It

At the Hamptons International Film Festival, I saw “Cool It,” the new documentary directed by Sundance two-time Grand Jury Prize winner, Ondi Timoner (“Dig!,” “We Live in Public”).  It features Bjorn Lomborg, author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” and a pariah in many climate change and environmental circles. I thought it would be good to “know one’s enemy,” and went armed with facts and data to refute what I expected to be hyperbole and assertions in the documentary. This was the first US showing of the film. It was very poorly attended as one might expect, given the environmental views of many of the Hamptons’ weekend residents. A mistake.

The documentary actually presents a quite balanced view of climate change.  Balanced in the sense of putting Climate Change into perspective along with all the other global problems we face today. Lomborg is actually a strong believer in the likelihood of climate change.  He also believes that the polarization on the topic brought about by some of the hyperbole coming from the climate change zealots has been a detriment to progress on solving the problems. I think he does understate the risks in an attempt to present a “balanced” view, using some of the same techniques that he accuses the zealots of using.  However, his conclusions are valid—the primary one being that more of the dollars that are going toward today’s solutions would be better spent on research and development at this stage, to come up with true economic innovations that would speed the shift away from carbon based energy. This version of the film doesn’t talk about the need for a higher price on carbon, although it is my understanding that earlier cuts did.

I suspect that by the time this film hits the commercial theaters the final producers’ cut will be more of a polemic against Al Gore and others who have been a big part of raising awareness on this issue. I hope to see it when it becomes commercial, and I would urge others to do the same. I also hope that an earlier cut makes it to the Internet so one can compare the director’s apparent intent with the final product. Timoner’s responses to questions after the screening portrayed an intelligence and understanding that is already not showing up in each cut as it makes its way from the film festivals to the multi-cinemas for mass consumption. Lomborg will likely continue to be viewed as a pariah in certain circles, when his thoughts should be broadly incorporated into our efforts to deal with this and other serious global problems.  Read the book. See the movie. And get your hands on a director’s cut, if you can.

This entry was posted in Climate Change and tagged , , , , , , , , by Jack Rivkin. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jack Rivkin

Jack Rivkin retired in 2008 as EVP, CIO, Head of Private Asset Management of Neuberger Berman(NB) and from NB's Executive Management Committee. He was also on the Lehman(LB) Council on Climate Change(CC) and the NB CC Fund Advisory Board. He has been engaged with the United Nations and other entities on policy issues related to Private Capital and CC. He is an Associate Fellow of the Asia Society. He has continued on the NB Mutual Fund Board and with his CC responsibilities. He began his investment career in 68 as an analyst at Mitchell Hutchins(MH), and became Director of Research(DOR) there. After Paine Webber(PW) acquired MH, he served as DOR; CFO of PW; CEO of PWMH-the equity trading and investment arm of PW; Chmn of MH Asset Management and President of PW Capital. 87-92 he was DOR and, subsequently, Head of the Worldwide Equities Division of LB. 93-95, he served as a Vice Chairman and DOR at Smith Barney (now Citigroup). He was an EVP with Citigroup Investments 94-01, responsible for private equity investments. He was also an adjunct professor at Columbia University teaching a course in Security Analysis. He joined NB in 2002. He is the co-author of “Risk & Reward—Venture Capital and the Making of America’s Great Industries,” Random House, 1987. He is a regular guest on various media. He is the principal subject in a series of Harvard Business School cases describing his experience as DOR and Equity Head at LB. He has served as a director of a number of private companies and the NYSSA. He is currently a director of Idealab, Dale Carnegie, Operative, World Policy Institute and other private companies. He is a member of the Economic Club of NY, the Anglers Club, Theodore Gordon Fly Fishers, and a lifetime member of Trout Unlimited. He continues to be an active private equity investor when he isn’t fly fishing. Mr. Rivkin earned his Professional Engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines and his MBA from the Harvard Business School

2 thoughts on “Cool It

  1. Quite balanced. When’s the last time you had Dyson, Hansen, Patchurri, Lindzen, Pielke and others all given forums and all sounding rational. Gore is a target, but is also given credit for bringing everyone’s awareness up. Somewhat idealistic and no counterpoints on his plan for dividing up the
    $250 billion annually.
    Does he have more than one change of clothes?

  2. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on
    the head. The problem is something that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about.
    I am very happy I stumbled across this during my search for
    something relating to this.

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