Filmmaker Chris Tangey was surprised when he was contacted by Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project as the organization hoped to use his footage of a fire tornado — or “firenado” — shot in the Australian Outback in September. Tangey explained to NT News that they would need to convince him such an event was caused by man-made global warming before selling them the rights to it.
TheBlaze brought you both the story of Tangey’s “firenado” footage and also his refusal to grant rights to the Climate Reality Project. Now we’ve talked with Tangey directly about his thoughts on the use of nature footage and the context of man-made global warming, as well as why he rebuffed Gore.
Tangey, owner of Alice Springs Film and Television, in an email interview with TheBlaze explained that the first time he was contacted by Gore’s team, they were seeking rights to the footage for five years to be used in PowerPoint presentations. The second time the Climate Reality Project crew reached out, which was last week, it was for a 24-hour webcast taking place this Nov. 14 through 15.
After this initial request, Tangey said he researched climate change for himself.
“I came to the conclusion there is climate change,” he wrote. “But I am yet to see definitive evidence on its severity; how much of it is human induced; how long it has been going for and how long it is likely to go for; how much is due to the solar cycle; how much is due to the all sorts of variables in oceans which cover 71 percent of the planet’s surface and for which there is no all-encompassing historical data, nor can there be, or how capable the planet is of self-correction (which seems to be the big surprise among scientists, although they seem to be constantly ‘surprised,’ yet can be so definitive on climate change…).”
To Tangey, the “science is not settled” — he pointed out that “true operational science never is.” This is why he’s making an effort to ensure his footage is used in proper context.
“While this little voice in the far outback of Australia has a chance to say something about it, I will,” he said.
Like most documentary filmmakers, Tangey said that context of the footage matters.
“Ultimately it is all about context. If you are talking generically about snakes, it really doesn’t matter. If you are talking about a particular snake in a particular habitat and you are actually shooting it in a zoo, you are a liar.”
When asked if others have tried to draw a climate change conclusion from his fire tornado footage, Tangey said no. We also asked Tangey if he could point the Climate Reality Project members to nature footage that would better document man-made global climate change, and he said he couldn’t think of anything specifically and noted “which is sort of the whole point.”
NT News reported a member of the Climate Reality Project saying their work was “grounded in science” and that Tangey’s footage would be used to “invite conversation and discussion”.
The one draw Tangey may have had for giving Gore’s team the rights to the footage would have been the proceeds. He wrote to us that he’s giving 50 percent of all his news sales from the footage to the owners of the Cattle Station land, which was damaged by wildfire. To his relief, when he told them how he didn’t provide rights for use of the footage, fearing it would be put in the context of man-made climate change, the owners said he’d done the right thing.
In case you’re interested, the fire tornado (TheBlaze explains in this post that it’s more like a dust devil than tornado) is what Tangey considers his most amazing footage. He felt it was so good that he was even a tad depressed afterward.
“…I had an odd feeling, an almost immediate downer in that I knew then that no matter how long I now lived or where I travelled on planet Earth and no matter how hard I tried, that was it. I could never repeat it or better the incredible experience of shooting from 300 meters away these awesome, unreal pillars of screaming fire.”
Watch this video, which compiles all the news clips covering Tagney’s footage: