‘Avatar’s’ James Cameron: ‘I Don’t Think Cap and Trade Is the Right Answer’

By Nicholas Ballasy | April 16, 2010 | 4:26 PM EDT

‘Avatar’ Director James Cameron poses with the award for best motion picture drama backstage at the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(CNSNews.com) -- Academy Award-winning Director James Cameron told CNSNews.com that while he prefers wind power, he would accept offshore oil drilling as a political compromise, and added that he does not  think the cap-and-trade bill currently before Congress is the “right answer” to fully combat global warming.

In an exclusive interview on Capitol Hill, CNSNews.com asked Cameron, “Are you a supporter of President Obama’s comprehensive offshore drilling plan?”
Cameron said: “I need to know more about it. I’ve been on the move a lot in the last few weeks. I’m not completely against offshore drilling as long as it’s out of sight, over the horizon, but I’d be much happier if it was offshore wind, you know?”
“I mean, I think that the longer we cling to the doomed paradigm of fossil fuel, you know, the more we’re just postponing the inevitable and making things worse on ourselves,” said Cameron. “But, you know, the political exigencies are that you have to trade something for something, and if some good can be done in the short term by trading against that, I would say that that’s a compromise that I would support. But the question is what does he [Obama] get for it?”
Cameron then explained that he thinks the Obama administration, in exchange for the offshore drilling plan, can get “major investments” in “renewable energy, in wind and solar, and to some extent geothermal.”  But, he said, “wind and solar are the proven technologies that we can go with right now.”

In his appearance on Capitol Hill at a panel discussion on environmental policy, Cameron had discussed his support for a “fixed price on carbon” emissions to apparently help combat global warming.
CNSNews.com asked the famous director about the fixed price, “Why do you think that would work, especially while we’re in a recession, and are you a supporter of the cap-and-trade plan being discussed right now?”
Cameron said, “I don’t think cap and trade is the right answer but I think that some mechanism that puts a price on carbon and charges for it accurately is absolutely necessary. Because the problem is that the renewable sources only look bad economically when you’re looking at an inaccurate pricing for gasoline and for coal that doesn’t take into consideration the so-called externalities of fighting wars in another region in order to defend our oil supply lines, for example, or dealing with the adverse effects of coal, which are many -- everything from, you know, mountain top destruction, mining, through acid rain and all the climate change aspects of dirty power.”
Cameron also dismissed certain new coal technology research as “science fiction,” adding that certain renewable forms of energy are practical and viable sources of electricity.
“I personally believe that clean coal is a complete oxymoron,” said Cameron. “It’s a fantasy technology. It’s a science fiction technology. It hasn’t been proven yet and carbon sequestration hasn’t been proven yet, and why should we be -- you know, one of the arguments about renewable energy is well, you know, you’re investing in fantasy technology -- but these are very well-proven technologies and people are clinging to these obsolete paradigms and defending it with even greater fantasy technology of carbon sequestration, which has never been proven to be effective.”
The panel discussion on Capitol Hill that James Cameron participated in was sponsored by Rep. Diane E. Watson (D-Calif.). Other panelists included MSNBC host and former congressman Joe Scarborough, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, and actress Sigourney Weaver, who played the leading role in Cameron’s 1986 film, “Aliens.”
James Cameron won the “Best Picture” Academy Award for “Titanic” in 1997. He lost the award this year to “Hurt Locker” but won in the categories of “Best Art Direction,” “Best Cinematography,” and “Best Visual Effects.”
"Avatar" is the highest grossing film of all time with more than $2.7 billion in revenue worldwide, beating “Titanic,” which previously held the record. The film will be released on DVD on April 22.