Claims saying climate change is killing hundreds of thousand of people and may cause “human extinction” have been deleted from an Extinction Rebellion (XR) film, after the activist group was challenged to provide evidence for the statements.
XR last year launched the film “Climate Crisis and Why We Should Panic” on social media. The animated film narrated by actress Keira Knightly ended with two on-screen messages.
The first one said, “Climate breakdown is already killing 400,000 people every year,” followed by an even more apocalyptic claim saying, “Scientists warn that human extinction is a real possibility.”
Serena Schellenberg, the film’s producer, was asked by The Times of London to provide sources for the claims ahead of the film’s re-launch on Friday.
The UK newspaper reported that Schellenberg said the claims were based on “a paper published in 2012 by Dara,” a non-profit humanitarian aid policy organization, and “a study from 2017 which found there would be ‘existential threats’ if no action was taken on emissions and the global average temperature rose by 5C,” respectively. Schellenberg deleted the claims “after checking with scientists.”
“Since these statements still prove to be a matter of debate and we would like the film to be robustly backed by the Scientists of XR, we have decided to review these statements and update them for the relaunch of the film,” Schellenberg told The Times.
Two slightly less-sensational messages replaced the previous ones. One says, “The frequency of extreme weather events has already increased threefold,” while the other says, “Leading scientists warn that we have entered a state of ‘planetary emergency,'” The Times said.
Commenting on the original claims, Stephan Harrison, a professor of climate and environmental change at the University of Exeter, told the newspaper that these sort of “outlandish” claims are like “crying wolf.” He said they “infantilize much of the debate.”
A BBC survey of 2,000 British children aged 8 to 16 years old this year showed 73 percent of the children were worried about the planet, with 19 percent having nightmares about climate change.
Earlier this month, Michael Shellenberger, an environmental activist for 30 years, who used to be convinced that climate change was an existential threat to human civilization, told The Epoch Times that he now believes climate alarmism is out of touch with science and reality. He said it’s diverting attention away from serious environmental problems, such as overfishing, preventing desperately needed development in impoverished nations, and stifling debate about nuclear energy.
The re-launching of the film comes as XR plans a series of protests starting on Friday, after staying quiet for a few months during the lockdown measures to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
Serena Schellenberg was among the nine extinction rebellion activists charged with criminal damage and aggravated trespass for super-gluing themselves to the doors of the Hotel Intercontinental in London, the venue of the International Petroleum Week conference in February 2019.
She later wrote an article in which she said she would “do it again” because being arrested “is a very small sacrifice for what’s at stake.” She said the activists are “normal compassionate people, that want a future for our children and grandchildren.”
Jan Jekielek contributed to this report