Author and Journalist George Monbiot has called out Michael Moore’s latest film not only for its use of misleading facts and at some point complete mistruths but also for its use of racist tropes in order to make a very bleak argument. Monbiot acknowledges the issues raised in the film, such as environmentally damaging material extraction for renewable technology, and even applauded the film's effort to call out corrupt environmental NGO’s. However Monbiot called out the lie that it uses more fossil fuel energy to construct a solar panel or wind turbine than the energy those technologies generate in their lifetime, he points out that for wind turbines for example 44 times more energy is produced on average than is used.
Though Monbiot’s main criticism of the film is centred around its repeated mention of a growing population being the main underlying driver to this problem and for referencing a “mass die-off” of humans as the only viable solution to the climate crisis. As population growth is now negative in much of the developed world that gave rise to climate change, the only way controlling population growth would make any sense would be if it were applied to the world’s poorest and most rapidly growing populations that have had the smallest impact on the climate. As well as an unfair argument, Monbiot suggests that this argument employs a common racist trope, fears in an affluent white population that the world’s poor black and brown “savages” are outbreeding them.
Monbiot links this argument to the age of colonialism and eugenics and points out that similar discussions have been used to justify some of the worst examples of colonialism, slavery and war crimes in history. In this way the filmmakers seem to be punching down on the world’s poorest, pretending that population growth is the biggest driver of climate change, and worsening the moral panic about black and brown people breeding too much that continues to fuel racism in the present day. Simply looking at energy inequalities in the world its clear that Monbiot's argument holds up, and unless you are talking about "die-off" in America and South Korea first (the world's biggest energy consumers), this argument makes no sense.