Ahead of the 2014 UN Climate Change Summit next month, Leonardo DiCaprio has lent his voice to a new short film exploring the impact of carbon emissions on the environment - and the necessary steps to curb industries responsible for their proliferation.
DiCaprio's eponymous foundation partnered with Tree Media (the same group behind his 2011 doc "The 11th Hour") to produce "CARBON," the first if four films aimed at exploring crucial issues related to the climate crisis.
“97% of climate scientists agree: climate change is happening now – and humans are responsible. We cannot sit idly by and watch the fossil fuel industry make billions at our collective expense. We must put a price on carbon – now,” DiCaprio said in a statement.
The crux of "Carbon," a slickly produced film that quickly educates on the issue, is the need for both national and international emissions taxes to curb atmospheric pollution. While carbon pricing has worked successfully in several countries to stave off dirty industries and elevate renewable energy projects, more still needs to be done on a global level to slow the rate of emissions.
"It’s fairly simple to introduce. When they see a carbon tax in place, people know they can invest in alternatives that actually cut out the use of fossil fuel. It starts to have that effect- improving your energy efficiency in your home or improving industry’s energy efficiency. And what we’ve seen in the last five years is we’ve doubled our amount of alternative energy supplies. So the benefit for the consumer is if through those signals. You can cut out the wasteful use of energy. Then everyone is saving money, and it more than covers the cost of the carbon tax in the first place," said Eamon Ryan, an expert featured in the film, the former Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and Leader of the Irish Green Party.
"Leonardo is unique in that he has not only an enormous audience, but also an in-depth knowledge of, and passion for, the issue of climate change," she said. “Any time you can combine that with a willingness to really get involved, it’s a powerful force for good."
On a bit of a hiatus from filming, DiCaprio has used his time, as promised, to focus on helping environmental organizations and awareness on critical issues. A fundraiser hosted by the 39-year-old in France late last month raised $25M for green initiatives, while a charity art auction last year brought in close to $40M. As a result the actor's foundation has recently announced million-dollar donations to organizations like Oceana and Save the Elephants. In partnership with Tobey Maguire and Tom Hardy, DiCaprio also has two big-budget Hollywood dramas focused on the animal poaching crisis in development.
"The modern world is placing enormous pressure on the very natural systems that sustain us; we are destroying our forests, polluting the air and water, overfishing our oceans and facing overwhelming extinction rates of plants and animals," DiCaprio said last year. "Consequently less than 2 percent of our oceans and 12 percent of our forests and wildlands are protected. Nature is abundant and it is resilient, but we have to take action now to protect our planet before it’s too late."
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