“Carbon Nation” generates such an ebb and flow between predictions of doom and a green, sustainable future that the resulting wave power could sustain a small city. Well intended but inert, helmer Peter Byck’s foray into the field of climate-change solutions is part of an increasingly crowded field of eco-docus and runs into the same problem as most: how to make a convincing argument about the planet’s imminent demise without prompting auds to slit their wrists. After a theatrical run Feb. 11, limited cable/educational exposure seems possible, despite pic’s dated stylistic approach to an urgent topic.
After a litany of bleakness, Byck provides a survey of eco-innovators and entrepreneurs out to thwart, reverse or ameliorate the effects of global warming via wind turbines, appliance recycling and common-sense conservation efforts such as the conversion of black rooftops to white. At the same time, it’s haunted by more ambitious films such as Laura Israel’s “Windfall,” an indictment of the wind-power industry, and Ondi Timoner’s “Cool It,” which throws the efficacy of so many eco-efforts into question. For the well-informed audience, which is its target, “Carbon Nation” will seem more enthusiastic than convincing.