Documentary identifies key levers for climate action
No Carbon Nation – pathways to sustainable energy
Vancouver, British Columbia, December 1, 2014 – The conceptual framework for climate action is straightforward and applies to all jurisdictions around the world. However, in order to coordinate effective action, and gain political support for it, it’s important that people everywhere be clear on that framework.
This is one of the main ideas behind No Carbon Nation: pathways to sustainable energy, an independent documentary released on the internet today.
No Carbon Nation focuses on energy transition, which is the centerpiece of climate policy in progressive jurisdictions worldwide. Beginning with an introductory overview of climate diplomacy as organized by the Kyoto Protocol, the documentary offers the viewer a basic understanding of the energy sector and summarizes the technological and regulatory tools available to make the required changes to it.
No Carbon Nation also identifies institutional behavior as a major barrier to change. “Individuals and institutions tend to rely heavily on what they’ve done before. There is no reward for making the effort to change,” says the filmmaker, Peter Sircom Bromley, based in Vancouver, Canada. “The world has all the technical and regulatory tools it needs to avoid dangerous climate change. We just need to collectively bite the bullet.”
As a documentary, No Carbon Nation is a distilled, tightly edited, relentless, and sometimes lyrical compilation of what progressive jurisdictions and industries worldwide are doing – and not doing – to reduce human impacts on the climate.
It is punctuated by interviews with professionals on the front lines of energy transition, including management personnel at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the largest municipal utility in the US. The LADWP operates in a jurisdiction with some of the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction policies in the world.
The demand side of energy
Fossil fuel producers get scant attention in the film. “Oil, gas and coal suppliers are simply feeding the world’s energy systems. So stopping fossil fuel combustion, the main contributor to climate change, means changing those systems. In other words, we need to deal with the demand side,” says the filmmaker, a former Sierra Club director who has been engaged with climate policy since 1995.
“And that means transforming energy systems across all sectors of the world economy: electricity generation, transportation, buildings and heavy industry.”
The film is “sort of like dots on a map, identifying pressure points where action is more effective and actually taking place. In that sense it’s not complicated,” says Bromley. “Call it a feature length public service announcement. Hopefully viewers who manage to sit through it will find the film a useful primer for climate action – be it buying an electric vehicle, giving clear directives to their government representatives, or switching off a light.”
Internet provides significant content
Almost half the footage used in the documentary came from diverse online sources including the US Department of Energy, the European Commission, and The Newsmarket, as did eight of 24 interviews and sound bites.
“Lots of people are making excellent material on the topic available. Why duplicate their efforts?” Bromley says, adding that the project was largely a writing and editing challenge. “The main thing was to make a highly complex and diverse set of issues easy to understand – both for the viewer, and for myself,” he chuckles.
“It’s like McLuhan said: give people too much information and they instantly resort to pattern recognition.”
The documentary, in 720 HD, is free to watch online (www.NoCarbonNation.net) as a complete film, or in four parts for those who prefer to pace themselves through the full 94 minutes.
A website is built around the documentary, and provides viewers with links to explore the subject in greater detail. However, a more leisurely viewing experience can be had with a large screen and a good sound system. The documentary and website will be updated from time to time. “Things are changing pretty fast,” says the filmmaker.