Michael Crichton's State of Fear:
Climate Change in the Cineplex?
by Amy Ridenour
If you count the
two "sequels" spawned by the original Jurassic Park,
no less than 13 of Michael Crichton's page-turning thrillers
have delighted moviegoers around the globe.
From The Andromeda
Strain in 1971 through 2003's Timeline, films based
on Crichton novels have grossed more than $3 billion while DVD
sales continue to fill the industry's coffers.
Which brings us
to today's burning question: Will Hollywood put profit ahead
of ideology and turn Crichton's current best-seller, State of
Fear into what could be a blockbuster?
An interesting question
because State of Fear thoroughly debunks four of Tinseltown's
most repeated environmental shibboleths:
One, that Mother
Earth is on the verge of entering a period of rampant global
warming with rising temperatures of 8 to 10 degrees triggering
a series of catastrophic storms, droughts, quake and floods.
Two, the hypothetical
extreme warming - there's no evidence that it is happening -
is caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other
so-called greenhouse gasses.
Three, that any
group with words "green" or "environmental"
in its title is inherently good and worthy of the artistic community's
philosophical and financial support - no matter how deleterious
their policies may be to actual working Americans.
And four, that the
capitalistic system that allows Hollywood's biggest players to
earn millions of dollars annually and more than a dozen U.S.
environmental groups to maintain luxurious headquarters and huge
executive salaries is somehow how evil, corrupt and responsible
for every bit of ecological degradation that occurs on this planet.
community and their la-la land allies are having a difficult
time responding to Crichton's challenges to their comfortable
and usually unquestioned beliefs.
The chief reason
is that he and his publisher, Harper Collins, had the foresight
to include pages of footnotes, charts and two lengthy appendixes
that back up his assertions with scientific documentation contained
in new studies by researchers at such prestigious institutions
as Harvard, Virginia, MIT and Michigan.
Because of that,
global warming alarmists have been relied on ad hominem attacks
suggesting, for example, that Crichton is himself "a capitalist
stooge." So far, such cowardly assaults have only increased
sales for State of Fear, which, as it turns out, is a good thing
for the overall advancement of knowledge.
abundant scientific evidence that neither the Earth's temperatures
nor sea levels are rising.
Many of his opponents,
meanwhile, are citing outdated and flawed computer models that
project cataclysmic disaster by the end of the century. Global
warming alarmists have spent hundreds of millions of dollars
over the past decade reinforcing those projections with what
chiefly amount to press releases filled with dire warnings.
enhance its long-tarnished reputation with American movie buffs
and encourage an open debate on global warming by honestly presenting
State of Fear and its ideas in thousands of theaters around the
is, after all, chock full of all the elements that Hollywood
moguls usually crave: Ruthless power grabs by nefarious villains,
lethal new hazards at every turn, mayhem and gore galore, handsome
young men and gorgeous young women devoted to both the American
way and unbridled hedonism.
As Dr. H. Sterling
Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis recently observed:
"In the past,
Crichton's scientific lens has been trained on topics such as
genetic engineering, and environmentalists loved it since the
novels were cautionary tales in the vein of "Frankenstein,"
warning of humanity's overreaching and violating the 'laws of
However, now it
is Crichton's scientific acumen that seems to be the central
cause for the environmentalists' venom," Burnett says. "
Crichton exposes serious problems the climate models that predict
warming. The models don't accurately portray past or current
temperature reality, so why should their predictions about the
future warming be trusted, much less used to inform public policy?"
Don't expect the
Sierra Club or the World Wildlife Fund to bankroll this potential
It will be interesting,
indeed, to see if greediness actually trumps greenness in this
Surely, you say,
some brave iconoclast will break ranks with Hollywood's legions
of intellectual goosesteppers and step forward to make this entertaining
- and thought-provoking - film.
Don't hold your
# # #
Amy Ridenour is president of The National Center for Public Policy
Research. Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.