'Years of Living Dangerously' Review: Climate Change Alarmism Powered by Hypocritical Celebrities

An Inconvenient Truth utilized a failed presidential candidate with a Power Point presentation to warn the world about global warming.

Flash forward eight years. That warming is now a pregnant pause, and some of the ex-Vice President's dire predictions haven’t come to pass.

Bring on the celebrities.

Showtime’s Years of Living Dangerously, a new docu-series meant to bring even more climate change alarmism into the culture, relies not on a team of skilled journalists or scientists able to break down the facts. Instead, it’s Don Cheadle cooking eggs in his home and quietly tut-tutting people of faith who cling to the notion that droughts are part of the natural cycle.

Once again those trusty climate models, the ones that were proven oh, so wrong over the last decade, are back to scare us anew. And climate change, or global warming depending on the talking head in question, is to blame for so very much. Droughts. Job loss. Poverty. Civil war. And that’s just in the first hour debuting April 13.

Harrison Ford, the actor willing to leave a large carbon footprint for the right cheeseburger, kicks off the celebrity parade. He travels around in a military airplane collecting air samples and then jets off to Indonesia to explore the impact of deforestation. Did he fly a private plane there? He can be trusted because he served on the board of Conservation International and played Indiana Jones in four feature films.

We also watch Cheadle talk to Texas residents about their drought issues, plucking every heart string there is to pluck after a plant closes down due to drought conditions. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, the man who envies China’s authoritarian impulses that match his own worldview, does all he can to pin climate change on the Syrian civil war with the help of Susan Rice.

It’s a shrewd presentation, with handsome production values and a heady mix of alarmism and personal sob stories. The various story threads are built up, and then teased, to make us presumably eager for more. The science is mostly fuzzy, anecdotes mashed against isolated observations. No skeptics beyond those hayseeds who point to natural cycles. Cries that the government must do more also pepper the narrative.

One evangelical scientist tries to bridge the gap between faith and data, although it’s never mentioned in the first hour how “the science is settled" battle cry is actually the antithesis of science. The series does try to embrace faith and science in a way that isn't overtly demeaning, but it isn't as gentle during other parts of the narrative.

Consider the slam against Texas Gov. Rick Perry and anyone who see politics behind the climate change brigade.

“If I accept climate change, then I have to vote for Obama,” Cheadle jokes. One of many arguments left unsaid is how the legislation to reduce global warming overlaps rather snugly with the Democrat platform on many issues. 

A one-sided look at possible climate change is like energy-gulping director James Cameron, a driving force behind the project, refusing to debate skeptics. For those hungry to see the whole spectrum of debate on the issue, it's hardly a game changer.

Years of Living Dangerously airs at 10 p.m. EST Sunday on Showtime.


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