This week, the creators of the American climate science denial film, Climate Hustle, flew to Brussels to attend a screening in the EU Parliament.
But the event, organised by the Eurosceptic Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group (EFDD) and UKIP MEP Roger Helmer, may not have been the politically tide-turning moment envisioned by its narrator, Marc Morano, executive director and chief correspondent of ClimateDepot run by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow.
With around 30 people in attendance on 19 October, Morano spoke to a room where about 60 percent of the chairs were left empty. Answering audience questions Morano delivered classic climate denial tropes, including arguing that sea level rise and extreme events are not anything to worry about and that humans are not to blame.
The event was open and free to attend, yet its audience was made up almost exclusively by euro-climate sceptics from UKIP and EFDD.
In addition to Helmer, who has close ties to ALEC, a US lobby group that works against climate action, Morano, and Climate Hustle director Chris Rogers, others at the event included John Stuart Agnew, UKIP MEP for EFDD, and Petr Mach, Czech MEP for EFDD.
Also in attendance was Beatrix von Storch, a German MEP for the AFD party which runs on an anti-immigration, anti-wind platform, and the party deputy leader, vice-chair of EFDD in the European Parliament. Beatrix is the wife of climate ‘realist’ Hans von Storch’s nephew. However, even Hans finds her and her party’s views on climate science denial too extreme.
When asked in an interview with Der Spiegel in April what he thought of Beatrix, Hans said he did not share the views of the AFD, adding that while Beatrix has the right to freedom of expression, “it is also my right to disagree with their statements”.
On the ADF’s position that carbon dioxide is ‘plant food’ and that climate change will not harm society, Hans said: “What the AFD says on climate change is pure ideology”.
There was perhaps only one non-climate science denier in the Climate Hustle audience: an individual from sustainable energy research institute, EnergyVille, who questioned Morano on why, if the film argues climate change is not caused by humans, does it not actually challenge the scientific evidence that carbon dioxide emissions are driving global warming?
Climate Hustle claims to feature interviews with scientists, however, it fails to state that these individuals’ views are on the fringe, and that they have little to no expertise in climate science or may hold an ideological or industry-funded bias.
The film has be criticised as “very amateurish” and “not very watchable” according to a Los Angeles-based filmmaker Randy Olson, one of the few people to have seen the film who doesn’t think climate change science is a global scam.
“It has a few good parts – but it got me angry because it’s just cherry picking,” Olson previously told DeSmog. “You aren’t missing anything.”