A translation of an RTL-Z interview by Roderick Veelo with award-winning Dutch filmmaker Marijn Poels about his documentary: “The Uncertainty Has Settled.”
Note: Some additions or editorial comments have been made to the English translation to clarify comments.
What began to be a sabbatical became a documentary about climate change. With ‘The Uncertainty Has Settled,’ Dutch documentary maker Marijn Poels won awards in Berlin and Los Angeles. Today, (Oct. 18, 2017) his film is being featured in a special showing in the European Parliament. An interview with the filmmaker.
After eight years of travelling and countless documentaries about human rights in developing countries, Marijn Poels found it time to take a break from work. He made for his in-law family in the countryside in the former East Germany. His sabbatical would last a year, but after two weeks he stumbled upon a new subject that needed to be addressed.
R Veelo: How did the film come about?
Marijn Poels: “I was in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, and saw that windmill parks rose out of the ground like mushrooms. During my years in the Third World, climate change issue was never a priority, it was a new thing for me. These are windmills for carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction. Does that work? Why are they all here?
Due to globalization, potato and milk production is no longer profitable for German farmers. The energy policy provides windmills. Farmers are taking their cows out of the pasture and replacing them with windmills.
The energy transition in Germany has gone very quickly. After the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, all nuclear power plants in Germany had to close. Without nuclear energy and then coal, energy is rapidly becoming more expensive. In recent years, 300,000 families have seen their electricity shut off, because they could no longer pay their power bills.
And I thought: are we doing the right thing with such a rapid transition, such a radical policy? As a documentary-maker, you must then dive into the scientific issues. And then I unearthed a whole community of climate critics.
I found that really interesting. Because I did not know that there is also a dissenting view, one that is not being exposed.”
R. Veelo: You approached a total of 53 climate scientists (to interview them). Why do we only see 3 in the movie?
Marijn Poels: “I’ve been very open about my intentions, and I wrote that I also approached climate sceptics. For this I often had negative and even angry reactions. The position was always: “there is consensus on climate change. Man contributes to the change by the CO2 emissions. And there is no reason for doubt.”
Eventually I have been able to speak with many climate scientists. Many also have their questions about the “consensus,” but they dare not to say them in the presence of others. Because then they would be rejected by the institute. And that means you would lose your salary and job. That’s not what people do. ”
R. Veelo: Scientists who have been (forced to) shut up?
Marijn Poels: “Yes, I think it’s most frightening to hear from scientists in their sixties who are afraid to open their mouths. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Ed.) is a “holy organization” – you are not allowed to doubt it. If you do that, then you (are deemed to) doubt the fundamentals of science and the institute, and then you will no longer belong to the community. ”
R. Veelo: How can so many well-trained people stay on track (inside) while fundamentally doubting the climate consensus?
Marijn Poels: “Of course, I’m not a scientist, so I do not know what’s happening in the workplace. But I see in the social debate what Freeman Dyson says in my movie: almost everyone retires within their own tribe. Being right is not so important. It’s more important to belong to your club than to speak the truth.
Everyone is busy saving the planet from climate change. Speaking out against the “consensus” immediately generates blame/accusations that you want to help destroy the world and cause collapse. Ultimately this policy is being paid for by the people in the developing countries. The small farmers end up going along with this policy (to survive).”
R. Veelo: What is your movie about?
Marijn Poels: “It’s a personal search. The main question I am asking: Are we on the right track with this radical energy policy? The farmer who turns his farm into an energy provider. Is that sustainable? I come from a “left” paradigm to that movie, but I meet skeptics and find their story is nuanced (not so black and white), but I am not allowed (by the establishment ‘consensus’) to believe that.
Leonardo Di Caprio proclaims the consensus. Al Gore proclaims the consensus and even the Pope: if you do not believe in (man-made) climate change, you have no home or place in the modern world.
Who then am I to criticize?
At the end of the movie I’m with 93-year-old scientist Freeman Dyson, who tells me how to deal with it. He tells you very clearly that things like climate change topic have become too political. If you have two political dogmas, science does not work anymore. Then it becomes a religion. ”
“The Uncertainty Has Settled” can be rented online at Vimeo.
<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/191830278?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0 …” width=”640″ height=”268″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/191830278 “>The Uncertainty Has Settled</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/marijnpoels “>Marijn Poels</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com “>Vimeo</a>.</p>
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