Bjrn Lomborg surely knew what he was getting into when he wrote The Skeptical Environmentalist, a 1998 rebuke to the sky-is-falling predictions of ecological disasters. Positing that yes, global warming is a problem, and no, we're not on the precipice of Armageddon per Al Gore's doom-saying, the Danish activist's ideology was simple: Quit throwing trillions of dollars at climate change, as the money makes a minuscule difference. Instead, use those funds for research into equally troublesome problems we can substantially combat, like cleaner water and cheaper forms of alternative energy. And undoubtedly, Ondi Timoner (Dig!) knew the can of worms she'd pry open by making a documentary on the controversial figure---and the perils of forcing audiences to endure more filmed PowerPoint presentations. (We know, it worked okay for An Inconvenient Truth, which is mercilessly deconstructed here, but still...)
To Cool It's credit and its detriment, the movie establishes that Lomborg quickly made enemies, without spelling out exactly why he's so loathed besides refusing to toe the Green Party line. (A raging Stanford professor and an exonerating academic article are mentioned, then quickly dropped.) The good news is that the lack of inside-baseball sniping allows Timoner to focus less on salaciousness and more on Lomborg's proposed solutions, albeit with a cloying soundtrack that makes the whole endeavor feel like a feature-length Chevron "People Do" commercial. But the more we meet the subject's allies---the engineers and brainiacs who are studying wave power, algae development and outside-the-box bioscience---and hear him preach practicality over fearmongering, the less crackpot his notions seem. Consider it food for thought, spiced with a pinch of cult-of-personality gospel.
Watch the trailer