A CGI dinosaur talking with the voice of fan-favorite actor Jack Black took center stage at the UN’s General Assembly chamber to tell politicians to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and do more to tackle climate change.
The short clip was released by the UN’s Development Programme (UNDP) as the centerpiece of its ‘Don’t Choose Extinction’ public awareness campaign. The polar bear-sized reptilian was shown startling a UN meeting with his impressive appearance and a tough-love lecture on how dying out as a species is a really bad outcome.
— Frankie The Dino (@frankiethedino) October 28, 2021
“At least we had an asteroid. What’s your excuse?” the dino says, lashing out at government subsidies of fossil fuels, which an accompanying UN report estimates at about $423 billion annually.
Imagine if we had spent hundreds of billions per year subsidizing giant meteors. That’s what you’re doing right now!
The money would be better spent on alleviating poverty and countering climate change, the UN-in-a-CGI-dino-suit argued. “Don’t choose extinction. Save your species before it’s too late. It’s time for you humans to stop making excuses and start making changes,” the message concluded, eliciting a standing ovation from the mammal audience.
While many people said the warning sounded quite convincing, especially with the English version delivered in the voice of beloved actor Jack Black, many others took the opportunity to fire off some punchlines. For some, the humorous takeaway from the video was that lizard people may be “real” and either already rule the world or are planning a takeover.
Wait, are lizard people now real, and are they climate change activists?
— Thought provoking questions (@Whocaresanymo18) October 27, 2021
— Byzantine Barbie (@ByzantineBarbie) October 27, 2021
First they invite one to give a speech at the UN General Assembly, and the next thing you know, dinosaurs are taking over the world.
Jeff Goldblum was right. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. pic.twitter.com/NeDDRtIskL
— Joel M. Petlin (@Joelmpetlin) October 27, 2021
Others found it a good excuse for China-bashing, based on the country’s current contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Or to attack both the UN and China in one package, due to Taiwan’s unrecognized status at the UN.
Is the UN going to sanction China over climate change? No they are going to scold Europe and the US. They aren’t serious.
— Flurypd (@FluryPD) October 27, 2021
Republic of China (Taiwan): No
Devaluation of the UN thanks to the video: YES.
— Alejandro (@AlejandroREok) October 27, 2021
Quite a few found the tongue-in-cheek short film too reductive and silly to land its message properly. One snarky commenter said it reminded them of a scene in the 2006 satirical comedy film ‘Idiocracy’, which saw Americans in the distant future believing that good US dinosaurs defeated bad Nazi dinosaurs in the 20th century, which led to the creation of the UN (pronounced ‘un’).
Dinosaurs extinction was caused by a natural phenomena not for the dinosaurs, they did nothing to make the rock to impact the earth neither to prevent that to happen so what’s the point?
— Salteñosaurio (@salteniosaurio) October 27, 2021
Life imitates art pic.twitter.com/crhXYnuijE
— Baja Blast enjoyer (@misatosweat) October 28, 2021
The video’s producers definitely weren’t aiming for any pretense at scientific accuracy with their ‘Frankie the Dino’ protagonist. The surprise speaker is supposed to be a “70-million-year-old Utahraptor” who doesn’t even have any feathers – which scientists believe the real members of the species likely possessed.
“We wanted to come up with something a little bit different, a little bit engaging, and with a big message that is a message of hope,” UNDP’s communications chief Anjali Kwatra explained to Associated Press. “There is a crisis, we have to act, but we have the solutions. We know what to do and we can do it.”
The complexity of the issue of fossil fuel subsidies was acknowledged by UNDP head Achim Steiner. “Ending financial support for them in a way that is fair and equitable is a critical element of [the advocated] transition,” he admitted.
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Developing countries are nowhere near their developed counterparts in terms of historic emissions, and didn’t benefit from centuries of industrialized economic growth powered by the fossils.
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