Green groups are running from a new British advocacy video in which environmentalists deal death to those who refuse to cut their carbon footprints.
The four-minute video -- produced by the London-based group 10:10 -- features a host of celebrities encouraging the public to work to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent.
It also features a scene in which a schoolteacher explodes two students who refuse to take part in the campaign, turning the children into a red soup and covering their classmates with gore. In subsequent vignettes, office workers, a former soccer great and "X-Files" star Gillian Anderson all become wall decorations after refusing to join in.
The film was intended to be comedic, the group says, but it sparked a critical backlash and was pulled from the 10:10 website Friday only hours after its release.
"With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh," the group wrote in a post on its website.
"Many found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't, and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended," the group said. "Oh well, we live and learn."
The group has scratched plans to distribute the video to theaters but said it will not attempt to censor other versions of the video available online.
U.S. environmental groups -- including those that had counted 10:10 among their partners -- are recoiling.
Among them is 350.org, the group founded by environmentalist Bill McKibben, which released a statement saying it had nothing to do with the video and denouncing it as "the complete opposite of everything we and this movement stand for."
350.org was working with 10:10 and other groups for an Oct. 10 "Global Work Party" on cutting carbon emissions but now will sever all ties with the British group. The global event will proceed as planned, a 350 spokesman said.
"Climate skeptics are going to make a big deal of this," McKibben wrote on the 350.org website in a post titled "Days that Suck."
"The video represents the kind of stupidity that really hurts our side, reinforcing in people's minds a series of preconceived notions, not the least of which is that we're out-of-control elitists," he said.
Opponents of action on global warming are calling the video an insight into environmental groups' true agenda and are doing their best to keep it in the spotlight.
"Climate Depot" -- a website run by Marc Morano, the former communications director for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) -- led its site today with the headline "Climate Film Depicts Kids Assassinated."
Conservative sites such as Pajamas Media and JunkScience.org are running similar articles.
"I think the idea of a comedy is fine, and even the gore and blood is part of our pop culture," Morano told Greenwire today. "What is not fine, and what is actually very revealing, is that their impulse -- the intellectual strain that runs through the alarmist movement -- is to try to silence their critics.
"They blame a handful of skeptics for ruining all their schemes, and this is them expressing their frustrations," he said.
Controversy breeds visibility
The video has drawn more attention than more family-friendly web ventures designed to highlight the climate change issue.
A YouTube repost by a third party Thursday got more than 149,000 views over the weekend and elicited more than 2,300 comments. Several other versions have topped 100,000 views, as well.
A Sierra Club video featuring a National Football League player warning that coal ash is a health threat to children got 95 YouTube views during the same interval.
Friday's "No Pressure" is not 10:10's first dabble in video. The group was founded by Franny Armstrong, director of the 2009 faux-documentary "The Age of Stupid."
The film tracks an archivist in the climate change-ravished world of the year 2055 as he looks back to see how humanity failed to prevent climate destruction. The film grossed approximately $1 million during a limited run in British theaters.
Armstrong founded the group after making the movie, saying an immediate pledge to reduce emissions by 10 percent was worth more than larger targets set decades in the future.
10:10's website says more than 90,000 people have taken the pledge, and businesses such as Sony Corp., cellphone maker 02 and the London soccer club Tottenham Hotspur -- whose players are featured in the video -- have signed on, as well.
To write the film released Friday, Armstrong brought in Richard Curtis, who penned "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and the British television hit "The Black Adder" and is also the co-founder of the charity organization Comic Relief.
Cutis conceded that the film was off to a shaky start but said he hoped it would not damage the environmental movement.
"When you try to be funny on a serious subject, it's obviously risky," Curtis told the London Guardian. "I hope people who don't like the little film will still think about the big issue and try to do something about it."
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