By Valerie Richardson     •     The Washington Times

Even before the skeptical documentary “Climate Hustle” hits U.S. theaters Monday, it already has unsettled the climate change debate.

Weather Channel founder John Coleman rushed to the defense of the film, which challenges the catastrophic climate change narrative, after “science guy” Bill Nye slammed it in a clip released over the weekend as “not in our national interest and the world’s interest.”

“I have always been amazed that anyone would pay attention to Bill Nye, a pretend scientist in a bow tie,” Mr. Coleman said Saturday on the website Climate Depot.

“As a man who has studied the science of meteorology for over 60 years and received the [American Meteorological Society] Meteorologist of the Year award, I am totally offended that Nye gets the press and media attention he does,” Mr. Coleman said. “And I am rooting for the ‘Climate Hustle’ film to become a huge hit — bigger than ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ by Al Gore.”

Indeed, the documentary by Climate Depot’s Marc Morano bills itself as a response to the former vice president’s Academy Award-winning 2006 documentary, which sparked international alarm with its warnings of imminent environmental disaster fueled by rising greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.

“Climate Hustle,” which has a one-day screening at theaters nationwide Monday, argues that the climate change catastrophe scenarios are part of an “overheated environmental con job” aimed at creating hysteria to drive public support for bigger government and ever-increasing regulation.

The documentary’s full name is: “Climate Hustle: Are They Trying to Control the Climate … Or You?”

Anthony Watts, who runs the skeptical climate website Watts Up With That, said the documentary is the first aimed at debunking the claims of the climate change movement. He called the film “corny” at times but also vastly more entertaining than ponderous climate documentaries such as Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2007 “The 11th Hour,” which bombed at the box office.

“[T]hat’s the purpose of this film, to make people laugh at the ridiculous claims that have been created about global warming/climate change. Morano does this and does it well. That’s the power behind this film,” Mr. Watts said in his review.

The film has won similar praise in reviews on conservative and free market outlets including National Review, Breitbart and The Daily Caller. Hollywood in Toto’s Christian Toto called “Climate Hustle” “brutally effective” and “the most dangerous documentary of the year.”

Meanwhile, the climate change movement has blasted the film as propaganda. The liberal website DeSmog created another website, Climate Hustler, aimed at discrediting the film and Mr. Morano, a former Republican staffer for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

“Climate Hustle, Morano’s new ‘documentary film’ is pure propaganda. It is a snake oil salesman’s latest attempt to confuse the public about the urgent need for political action to address the global warming crisis driven by burning fossil fuels,” said the website.

In an interview with Mr. Morano, Mr. Nye says in the documentary, “I think it will expose your point of view as very much in the minority and very much not in our national interest and the world’s interest.”

Climate change advocacy groups routinely accuse skeptics of being funded by the fossil fuel industry — the Climate Hustler site shows dollar signs raining down from a factory smokestack — but several reviews of “Climate Hustle” point out that it’s clearly not a big-budget affair.

DeSmog quotes filmmaker Randy Olson describing the “Climate Hustle” as “very amateurish,” while Mr. Watts says that’s part of its charm.

“[D]espite the claims of millions of dollars from oil companies we are all supposed to be getting, its production values give away that it was made on a shoestring, and has none of the glitzy production values of these other films that bombed,” Mr. Watts said in his review.

Mr. Morano tries to interview scientists who end up fleeing from the microphone. Other scientists say that expressing skepticism on global warming comes with a price.

“The film’s most effective moments come when left-of-center experts describe how they abandoned their previous climate change positions,” Mr. Toto says in his review. “Doing so opened them up to scathing critiques from their colleagues.”

Mr. Morano, whose Climate Depot website is a project of the free market Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, has a knack for drumming up publicity. He spurred a kerfuffle in December by staging the “world premiere” of the film at the Paris climate talks, prompting environmentalists to plaster “wanted” posters with his face throughout the city.

“Climate Hustle” features a panel discussion after the film with Mr. Morano, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell and David R. Legates, professor of geography and climatology at the University of Delaware.

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