Friday, July 14, 2006

Global warming documentary on Sunday

The documentary "Global Warming: What You Need to Know", hosted by Tom Brokaw, is on the Discovery Channel on Sunday night at 9 pm (anyone here have cable?). It features interviews with a number of scientists including Michael Oppenheimer and Steve Pacala from Princeton, footage from the Arctic, the Andes and the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu, and discussion of what the average person can do to reduce emissions.

I'm glad to see more global warming films on television, though I must admit they can make me feel for the Tuvaluans for a reason other than climate change. If the threat of rising seas was not enough, the Tuvaulans have to deal with all the writers, reporters, photographers and camera crews all hoping to capture life on world's lowest lying country. Don't be fooled by the images in the documentary: the main atolls of place like Tuvalu and Kiribati are not ideal tropical vacation spots. Yes, they are palm-lined islands fringed by colourful reefs. They are also hot, crowded, narrow strips of land with few resources, few amenities and even fewer places to dispose of waste (the photo is a beach in Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati). You need to treat traveling to a Pacific atoll the way you should a national park: tread softly and pack out what you pack in. I'm very glad to see the plight of the small island nations in the Pacific publicized on TV. I just hope the film crew picked up after themselves.

3 comments:

tim said...

No, I don’t have the cable. I have seen plenty of propaganda to spend another hour of my life watching it too. Here a good piece of statistical analysis that I have read today. I found it very sound. You can take a look yourself:
http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/home/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf
I know you would say Energy Commerce – biased information from enemy camp. First of all I would like you to read and form your own opinion. I specially enjoyed Social Network Analysis. I think it is very objective statistical analysis of the group of data and a group of scientist claming to publish in peer reviewed journals. It has very good insights into process of peer review. I understand not everyone has mathematical skills. This paper is 91 pages long, but the core is just about 50 pages.

If I would write a paper I would put pretty much the same. But, I don’t think I am wordy enough for that.

teresa said...

i just watched part of the climate doc (its actualy only half over right now) and enjoyed what i saw. they did a good job of bringing together a lot of scientists working in different climate related areas. the information in it is clearly presented but pretty basic, what really makes the show a winner (for me at least) are the excellent cinematography and the visual effects (i really wonder what the budget was..). the footage is beautiful and dramatic, images will stick in your mind.

simon, you dont need to worry too much about flocks of tourists heading to kiribati after seeing it i dont think. unlike you, i dont think most folks would like the idea of swimming out of their house cause the water is up to their doorstep.

tim, you seem to do a lot of reading in this area. do you also work in the climate field?

Simon Donner said...

The use of social network analysis in the report (to assess whether the paleoclimate community is insular) is interesting, given that the author of the report, selected by the committee without any clear oversight, chose two colleagues as co-authors.

Seems to me the social network analysis would point to something like the NAS report as a solution to the debate over the "hockey stick".