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Stupid in the Sun

Tabloid Revolution: Three million people will have choked on their cornflakes this morning when they read Pete's column in the Sun. See attached. "We - that is humanity - have only a couple of years left to act if we are to stop catastrophic climate change causing the deaths of hundreds of millions of people." In The Sun.

The film stars Pete Postlethwaite as the last man alive. He looks back at the mistakes of a generation using video archives.

Climate change consultant on the movie, Mark Lynas, says: “The film begins with images of a surge of water in London and the Sydney Opera House surrounded by flames — which, given what has been on TV recently, is hardly unrealistic.

“After finishing the film we heard news stories of the Australian bush fires. It seemed like the future was arriving quicker than anyone could have projected.

“Although bush fires are a natural occurrence the reason they were so extreme is because they began after the hottest temperatures ever recorded in that part of south Australia.

“So they are in some way linked to climate change. Now all the projections show the fire season is going to be more extreme and longer-lasting in the years to come.”

Environmentalist Mark is author of two books, High Tide: News From A Warming World and Six Degrees: Our Future On A Hotter Planet.

He says: “What this film shows is well within the range of mainstream scientific forecast.

“We are talking about 2055, by which time we could have seen 2°C or more of warming.

“This is certainly enough to have very dramatic effects on the entire planet.

“The Greenland ice sheet would melt entirely at a sustained period of temperature rise above 2°C.

“That is without considering things like tipping points — which might come when we no longer have an Amazon rainforest or when southern Europe is no longer inhabitable because of high temperatures.

“In different parts of the world there could be many different impacts but lots of areas could be rendered unliveable with just a degree or two of warming from now.

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made the projection in 2001 of between 1.4 and 5.8°C rise by the end of the century.

“The film is set 46 years in the future, so while we are on a slightly accelerated track for The Age Of Stupid, it puts it within the limits of what we might expect.

“Of course, we could have chosen the year 2300 — but most people would have simply said, ‘Who cares?’.”

In stark scenes, the docudrama fuses real footage into the film’s story.

It is already being hailed as the “new” An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s award-winning 2006 “global warning” flick.

Postlethwaite’s character tells the camera: “We could have saved ourselves... but we didn’t.

“It’s like looking through binoculars, observing people on a far-off beach, fixated at the small area of sand under their feet as a tsunami races towards the shore.”

Postlethwaite plays the founder of a global archive located in the now melted Arctic. It houses the contents of every museum and has every digital broadcast ever made.

He regretfully recounts how humans brought the world to its knees, replaying news reports and interviews with experts of today. The film recounts the real-life story of British wind farmer Piers Guy.

Piers has battled in vain to turn the nation on to wind-power in the face of placard-waving locals in Bedford.

These protesters have persuaded the local council to refuse planning permission for turbines, ludicrously claiming on camera that “they give off a hypnotic hum”.

Footage in the film shows desperate Piers saying: “If people knew the true impact they would be treating this like a war.”

We are also shown the case of French Alps guide Fernan Pareus, whose beloved glaciers are rapidly melting away.

The pensioner considers what future generations will think of our actions today and sums up: “We knew how to profit, not to protect.”

Throughout the movie viewers are reminded how we are causing damage to the environment and are shown simple ways of going green, such as recycling, flying less — and drinking water from the tap.

We are told bottled water uses 800 times more energy to make. The film also explains how today’s calls for changes to our energy sources and consumption were ignored — before showing oil supplies running out.

Director Franny Armstrong — also behind 2005 documentary McLibel — hopes the film, out on March 20, will encourage people to reassess their impact on the environment.

Viewers are left in no doubt as to what will happen if they don’t. Postlethwaite says he felt compelled to take part.

He explains: “When I looked at the subject and what the film was trying to do there was no option really. I had to do it.

“The stakes are very, very high. They’re through the roof.

“How could we willingly know that we’re going into extinction... and let it happen.”

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