By David Seymour
It's hard to know what to make of a serious short film in which a teacher blows up children as young as ten for disagreeing with climate change activism, with their blood and guts splattered over terrified class mates. It's not a question I ever expected to have, until the "10:10" campaign released just such a video last week.
The video consists of four scenes. In each, a teacher, a company manager, a soccer coach, and a sound producer breezily intone an audience to reduce their carbon emissions. The target is a ten per cent reduction over twelve months beginning in 2010, which is the thrust of the 10:10 global campaign. They close with what turns out to be a menacingly sarcastic caveat "no pressure," which is also the title of the film. In each scene the majority of the audience enthusiastically pledges to reduce their emissions, but one or two refuse or are indifferent. The scenes end with the authority figure pushing a red button that detonates the dissenters to a puree. Their blood covers the hysterical survivors.
After less than a day, the campaign took the movie off their website and issued an apology. The film is still available elsewhere.
I'd like to think that the film's makers are fringe players in the global community of climate change activists or that they didn't really believe it would help their cause, or that they just have a better sense of humour than I do. Let us test some of these possible escape hatches from the charge that this is actually the rotten core of the whole climate change activist movement.
For a fringe campaign, 10:10 has been remarkably successful. Around 100,000 people from 152 countries have signed up. Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged the entire British government to participate. Large companies are associated with 10:10, including Britain's Royal Mail, the electronics giant Sony, and Facebook. The United Nations backed Climate Neutral Network is one of its many "partner" organisations. The World Wildlife Fund for Nature and Greenpeace are supporters through their proxy the Global Campaign for Climate Action.
So 10:10 is not a fringe organization. They're widely trusted in the global climate activist community. Whether these adherents will now denounce the campaign for its tasteless exercise in arrogance and sadism remains to be seen. Let's hope so, but it seems unlikely for the following reason.
It's been a terrible year for climate change activists. The Copenhagen conference was an abject failure, "Climategate" was a humiliation, the temperature record has stubbornly refused to offer any statistically significant warming for a decade now and the global economic slowdown has shifted public attention away from the global warming issue.
What better time to reach for a favourite tactic of the radical environmentalist movement best described by prominent global warming alarmist Steven Schneider "…we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have?" Through this lens the film makes perfect sense.
The 10:10 founder justified it by telling the Guardian "All our lives are at threat and if that's not worth jumping up and down about, I don't know what is."
So it wasn't the act of fringe lunatics, nor a miscalculation, but perhaps I just need to lighten up? After all, the official campaign website does say "Successes [at reducing emissions] are celebrated, rather than failures highlighted, so as not to discourage people/organisations from signing-up…" Whether or not it's funny is a matter of personal opinion, but the film got roasted for being unfunny and worse in the comment sections of both YouTube and the Guardian before its official withdrawal.
Of greater concern is what the film's maker would need to believe in order to think it's funny, and their influence on children. This film makes such a joke out of people with differing views that we shouldn't be remotely offended by their murder. After centuries of progress towards a world of free thought and speech, the video takes us to a paradigm where it's right to force our will on others with explosives. As one of the exploded children said in a "behind the scenes" clip, he "thinks it's ok for children to be blown up for a good cause."
That an organisation well respected by global climate change activists thought that might be funny betrays a global movement of hysteria that is out of touch with modern civilisation and rotten to the core.
David Seymour is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Frontier Centre.