Climate Wars The past, the present, the future

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					 Climate Wars                                                                                                sCienCe

 The past, the present, the future
                                                                                                             TX Date:	   07	September	2008
                                                                                                             Duration:	 3	x	50	minutes	
                                                                                                             Television Marketing Helpdesk:
                                                                                                             wwtelevisionmarketing@bbc.co.uk
 BBC Science & Nature website: bbc.co.uk/sn/                                                                 	



 episode synopses
 1. The Battle Begins
 In	the	1970s,	the	world	seemed	to	be	falling	apart.	From	acid	rain	to	overpopulation	and	resource	
 depletion,	ecological	concerns	were	big	news.	And	it	was	at	this	time	that	climate-change	first	
 became	a	hot	political	issue.	But	it	wasn’t	global	warming	that	frightened	scientists,	it	was	the	
 complete	opposite:	a	new	ice	age.
  	
 This	programme	traces	the	history	of	climate	change	from	the	beginning	and	examines	just	how	the	
 scientific	community	managed	to	get	it	so	wrong	back	in	the	Seventies.
  	
 Dave	Keeling	is	one	of	the	great	unsung	heroes	of	climate-change	science.	His	painstaking	
 measurements	of	carbon	dioxide	in	the	atmosphere	–	from	as	early	as	1958	–	gave	the	world	the	first	
 hard	evidence	that	levels	were	increasing.
  	
 It	wasn’t	long	before	concern	started	to	grow	that	global	warming	was	a	reality	that	could	affect	the	
 human	race	in	catastrophic	ways.	In	the	first	episode,	Iain	looks	at	the	early	development	of	scientific	
 research	into	the	phenomena	and	uncovers	the	climate-change	science	pioneers,	including	a	
 shadowy,	secret	organisation	of	American	scientists	known	as	“Jason”,	who	wrote	the	first	official	
 report	on	global	warming	as	far	back	as	1979.
  	
 However,	almost	as	soon	as	global	warming	became	an	issue	of	official	concern,	along	came	the	first	
 sceptics.	Iain	investigates	the	origins	of	the	sceptic	movement	in	the	Reagan	administration	in	the	
 USA.	He	shows	how	most	of	the	arguments	that	are	still	being	used	by	the	sceptics	today	originated	
 in	a	little-known	report	written	in	1981.
  	
 By	the	late	Eighties,	global	warming	had	become	a	serious	political	issue.	Margaret	Thatcher	became	
 the	first	world	leader	to	argue	for	action	to	reduce	emissions	of	greenhouse	gases.	It	looked	as	if	the	
 world	was	uniting	to	take	action.	But	it	turned	out	to	be	a	false	dawn	because,	in	the	Nineties,	global	
 warming	would	be	transformed	into	one	of	the	biggest	scientific	controversies	of	the	modern	age.




for further information on all programming visit bbcworldwidetv.com
 Climate Wars                                                                                                sCienCe

 The past, the present, the future
                                                                                                             TX Date:	   07	September	2008
                                                                                                             Duration:	 3	x	50	minutes	
                                                                                                             Television Marketing Helpdesk:
                                                                                                             wwtelevisionmarketing@bbc.co.uk
 BBC Science & Nature website: bbc.co.uk/sn/                                                                 	



 episode synopses
 2. Fight Back
 This	film	investigates	the	global	warming	‘backlash’	–	the	intense	debate	about	the	reality	of	man-
 made	global	warming	that	raged	during	the	1990s	and	into	this	century.
  	
 At	the	start	of	the	Nineties,	it	appeared	that	everyone	was	united.	At	the	Rio	Earth	Summit,	the	world	
 signed	up	to	a	programme	of	action	to	start	tackling	climate	change.	Even	George	Bush	was	there	
 –	the	first	George	Bush,	that	is.	But	the	consensus	didn’t	last.
  	
 The	programme	examines	the	scientific	arguments	that	developed	as	the	global	warming	sceptics	
 took	on	the	climate	change	consensus.	The	sceptics	attacked	almost	everything	that	the	scientists	
 held	to	be	true.	They	argued	that	the	planet	was	not	warming	up	and	that,	even	if	it	was,	it	was	nothing	
 unusual.	Certainly	whatever	was	happening	to	the	climate	was	nothing	to	do	with	human	emissions	of	
 greenhouse	gases.
  	
 The	film	looks	back	in	search	of	the	scientific	truth,	exploring	everything	from	the	‘medieval	warming	
 period’	to	the	‘urban	heat	island	effect’.
  	
 There	is	also	a	detailed	look	at	the	experiments	undertaken	to	establish	the	pattern	of	the	Earth’s	
 temperature	over	the	last	1,000	years.	The	development	of	the	political	and	economic	battles	is	
 followed	as	the	scientific	evidence	about	global	warming	grew	in	strength.
  	
 The	film	also	reveals,	as	the	science	became	more	settled,	the	strategies	pursued	by	the	sceptics	and	
 their	political	allies,	including	the	George	W	Bush	administration,	to	remain	on	the	fence	in	order	to	
 delay	action	to	tackle	climate	change.
  	
 Some	of	the	key	global-warming	sceptics	are	interviewed,	and	we	reveal	how	their	positions	have	
 changed	over	time.




for further information on all programming visit bbcworldwidetv.com
 Climate Wars                                                                                             sCienCe

 The past, the present, the future
                                                                                                          TX Date:	   07	September	2008
                                                                                                          Duration:	 3	x	50	minutes	
                                                                                                          Television Marketing Helpdesk:
                                                                                                          wwtelevisionmarketing@bbc.co.uk
 BBC Science & Nature website: bbc.co.uk/sn/                                                              	



 episode synopses
 3. new Challenges
 Today,	the	scientific	debate	over	whether	global	warming	is	happening	is	all	but	over.	Even	many	die-
 hard	sceptics	now	concede	that	the	planet	is	getting	warmer,	and	humans	are	largely	to	blame.	But	
 there	are	still	many	unanswered	questions.
  	
 This	film	investigates	why	there	is	so	much	confusion	over	what	changes	global	warming	is	going	to	
 bring,	and	why	this	has	led	to	uncertainty	over	what	should	be	done	about	it.
  	
 Understanding	how	the	climate	works,	and	predicting	how	it	will	change	in	the	future,	is	one	of	
 science’s	greatest	challenges.	Iain	discovers	how,	60	years	ago,	scientists	began	their	experiments	
 with	little	more	than	a	dishpan,	a	Bunsen	burner	and	a	turntable.	Today	they	rely	on	massive	super-
 computers	to	model	the	effects	of	greenhouse	gases	on	the	climate.	But	still	they	struggle	to	
 understand	the	complexity	of	the	climate	system.
  	
 Journeying	to	Greenland,	we	meet	scientists	who	are	trying	to	fill	in	the	gaps	in	the	climate	models.	
 We	also	discover	how	scientists	are	becoming	increasingly	concerned	that	their	models	are	
 underestimating	the	speed	of	changes	already	under	way.




for further information on all programming visit bbcworldwidetv.com

				
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