What will it really take, to transition from oil and coal, to the energies of tomorrow? SWITCH goes where no film has gone before, deep into the world's most restricted energy sites, to ... See full summary »

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Scott Tinker
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What will it really take, to transition from oil and coal, to the energies of tomorrow? SWITCH goes where no film has gone before, deep into the world's most restricted energy sites, to depoliticize competing power sources, make the technical accessible, and discover the truth of our energy future. Test audiences have raved, calling it, 'The most important energy film since An Inconvenient Truth.' Written by Arcos Films

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4 September 2012 (USA)  »

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Probably the most fair and balanced documentary on the subject out there.
4 June 2015 | by (Texas) – See all my reviews

I've seen a lot of energy documentaries. Everything from Pandora's Promise (Pro nuclear), to GasLand (anti gas), to Fuel (pro renewables). All of these documentaries presented a very narrow view of the energy situation, and many were highly biased. Many energy documentaries are little more than commercials for a particular technology, or smear campaigns against a technology. I can honestly say this is the fairest representation of the world energy situation that I have seen thus far.

It doesn't sing the praise of just one technology, or try to demonize another. Instead, it gives an honest evaluation of each energy source, weighing pros and cons. No source is held up as the end-all be-all magic bullet, which is pretty realistic.

I do feel that it tried a little bit too hard for balance on natural gas. Natural gas is held up as a clean, green fossil fuel, but this is questionable. As they say, it emits half the CO2 that coal does, though some would say even half is too much. However, methane leaks from natural gas have raised concerns about whether natural gas can really help much with greenhouse gas reduction. Also, at one point they claim that natural gas just creates CO2 and water, with no air pollution. Not just reduced air pollution, but none at all. That's not quite true. There's very little talk of air pollution in general, or on health/mortality impacts. I dinged it -1 point for neglecting these details.

It does skip on important details at times, but this is to be expected for such a broad subject. The strength of this documentary is in the scale of what it attempts- analyzing multiple energy sources instead of just one, and putting them in the larger context of our energy needs. Despite this, there are some good details here. The visits to each facility add to this by showing you exactly what each technology is and how it works. Overall, their projections for what our energy mix will have to be if we commit to an energy transition are probably not too far from the truth. I would say a bit less natural gas, but I would be nitpicking.

It's a good documentary. The most telling thing is that they have been criticized by people from all sides, which shows that they're not slaves to any one ideology. They let you watch it and draw your own conclusions.


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