S. P. Film Annotations: 1 of 10

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S.P. Film Annotations: 1 of 10

Elle Mileti

Sustainability Problems: STSS 4270

Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn

Fall 2012

04 September 2012

  1. Title, director, release year

Blind Spot, Adolfo Doring, 2008

  1. What's the central argument/narrative of the film?

If we continue to burn fossil fuels our ecology will collapse, but if we don't, our economy will.

  1. How is the argument/narrative made and sustained? How much scientific info is provided, for example? Does the film have emotional appeal?

The argument is made emotionally, not scientifically. The primary emotions are pessimism, despair and hysteria, which I personally don’t find appealing

  1. What sustainability problems does the film draw out? Political? Legal? Economic? Technological? Media and informational? Organizational? Educational? Behavioral? Cultural? Ecological?

The alleged sustainability problems are:

Over consumption of all natural resources

Over population

Ecological Collapse

  1. What parts of the film did you find most persuasive and compelling? Why?

The credits; the participants used their real names. I checked.

  1. What parts of the film were you not convinced or compelled by? Why?

Any time one of the experts spoke.

Primarily because the statements made are frequently false. Here are the some of the falsehoods from just the first four interviews.

  • Richard Heinberg, to prove his point about our dependency on cheap fossil fuel energy makes a point about pushing a car 20 or 30 miles and states that “we’ve gotten used to” “getting 6 to 8 hours of hard human labor for $2.50” (referring to the cost of a gallon of gas.) Of course the logical flaw in Heinberg’s argument is that he’s discounted the costs of the design and production of the car and the infrastructure it depends upon (roads, bridges, etc.) While we may pay $2.50 for a gallon of gas to run the car, the true and complete cost of using a car is exponentially more.

  • Lester Brown states that “The problem is, with the last 25 years or so, world oil production has exceeded new oil discoveries, so the reserves of the oil in the world are now shrinking, and shrinking reserves will soon convert into declining production.” This is false. In fact, proven world oil reserves have increased from 1032.7 thousand million barrels (tmb) in 1991 to 1622.1 tmb in 2010 (See BP Statistical Review of World Energy, link below).

  • Richard Heinberg states “The US reached its peak of (oil) production in 1970 and it’s been declining ever since. “ This is false. The US produced 7669 thousand barrels daily (tbd) in 2001 and 7841 tbd in 2011. (See BP Statistical Review of World Energy, link below.) Furthermore it is false to equate oil production to availability since drilling and exploration is restricted or forbidden in much of the US (Arctic Refuge for example.)

  • Albert Bartlett “No matter how you cut it, young people today, you folks, you’re going to see the peak of world oil production.” This may be false; Peter Orszag, director of the OMB under Obama, writes that US oil production is rising: “The federal Energy Information Administration certainly thinks so. An early release of its annual energy outlook projects a substantial increase in onshore production of oil from shale formations -- what experts call “tight oil.” In 2010, oil companies produced 5.5 million barrels per day of domestic crude. The Energy Information Administration estimates that figure will rise to 6.7 million barrels per day by 2020, mostly because of “continued development of tight oil, in combination with the ongoing development of offshore resources in the Gulf of Mexico.” The U.S. has not produced as much as 6.7 million barrels per day since 1994. “ Orszag quotes Citigroup’s Seth Kleinman “ the price effects of the shift to tight oil “may be more immediate and subtle than the supply-and-demand balances hint at. The year ahead, he says, “Could really see the death of the peak-oil hypothesis, something that has been underpinning a lot of the structural bullishness on oil.”

  1. What audiences does this film best address? Why?

Occupy Wall Street, Code Pink, Greenpeace and the Dancing Vaginas at the RNC; essentially all people who don’t believe in the creation of wealth, of energy, and/or of ideas. Anyone who believes everything is finite, including mankind’s inventive spirit and ingenuity.

  1. What could have been added to this film to enhance its environmental educational value?

Opposing viewpoints.

  1. What kinds of action and points of intervention are suggested by the film? If the film doesn't suggest corrective action, describe actions you can imagine being effective?

None, unless you count the frictional energy produced by lots of hand-wringing.

1. Remove bureaucratic and legal obstacles to responsible oil and natural gas development in the United States, offshore and on land.

2. End the ban on oil shale development in the American West, where we have three times the amount of oil as Saudi Arabia.

3. Give coastal states federal royalty revenue sharing to give them an incentive to allow offshore development.

4. Reduce frivolous lawsuits that hold up energy production by enacting loser pays laws to force the losers in an environmental lawsuit to pay all legal costs for the other side.

5. Finance cleaner energy research and projects with new oil and gas royalties.

6. Replace the Environmental Protection Agency, which has become a job-killing regulatory engine of higher energy prices, with an Environmental Solutions Agency that would use incentives and work cooperatively with local government and industry to achieve better environmental outcomes while considering the impact of federal environmental policies on job creation and the cost of energy.

  1. What additional info has this film compelled you to seek out? Provide at least two supporting references.

Exposing the 2% Oil Reserves Myth


BP Statistical Review of World Energy


Blind Spot Transcript


Fracking boom could finally cap myth of peak oil


Article on What Does a transformed US Energy Market Mean for Investors from TIAA-CREF (Utah State University Pension Plan)


In the Cold Darkness Before Sunrise by Max Fraad Wolf


The Myth of World Food Shortages


About Derrick Jensen


  1. My greatest disappointment in this film is that it was not about a dog overcoming a disability. I feel as though such a story would have provided a much better atmosphere in which to productively discuss the future of our world.

| Mileti

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