Promising TV Series on Climate Change

A promising series is airing on the Showtime cable network in the US on Sunday evenings. If you’re in America, you can see the first episode here. It’s aimed at awakening a broad audience to the climate issue.

The first episode is very respectful of the science. I saw no exaggerated claims expressed or implied. Yet they pulled no punches; the coverage is story-driven and emotionally salient. It’s late in the game for this level of professionalism to appear, but far better late than never.


  1. I sympathize with these guys in many ways. I certainly don't like the way that the climate change issue has been bent into the romantic-greenie anti-tech anti-nuke worldview. (*)

    But they must have watched a different program than I saw. I saw no excessive claims of any sort.

    While current extreme events were discussed, they were discussed with just the sorts of risk oriented arguments that you need to present to a lay audience without delving into expected values and variances and such.

    This is not a clinical trial - you don't wait until you pass a T-test to take action. That is akin to waiting to buy insurance until you are sure that your house is on fire. There are reasons to expect things like severe droughts in Texas and Syria or hot summers in Russia and floods in Pakistan and north India, etc.etc.

    The program said no more than this. It just tied that to the sort of storytelling that most people need to understand it.

    (*) My admitted cultural affinities with that group notwithstanding

  2. Yes, comments have been removed. One of mine about the campaign to discredit Al Gore, with reference to the recent persecution of Professor Torcello. I've put in a further one that is so buried they have so far left in, citing this:

    The truly shocking censorship was of the most popular one, an accurate indictment by one Mike Roddy of Breakthrough, Nordhaus and Shellenberger, literate and lacking in any kind of language that would flag it. We "verified" commenters get in but clearly that one was impermissible.


  3. I sympathize with these guys in many ways.

    The Breakthrough Institute??

    Eli Rabett commented "unfortunately others are in the years of lalala". Yeah methinks. The tired old accusations of alarmism. Their opinion piece is just petrified old crap to me. Jeebus (er, nuclear technobus) to the rescue! Never cry wolf! pfff...

  4. I don't /can't log in at NYtimes, but my hunch is there could well be a system glitch/bug/shoddy programming. Perhaps you just need to klick "read more" several dozen times to find Mike Roddy's comment. I didn't have the patience to click it all.

    Because, anyhow I'm very pleasantly surprised about the quality of the comments, incl. many of the "NYT Picks" and the "Recommend" numbers. People were really getting who is doing the "scare tactics" and didn't swallow the insult of that piece. Last time, many years back, I saw much much worse at NYT. Heck, I'm almost sensing a sign of hope from over the big pond!

  5. Martin Gisser, no, it's not a glitch. Likely it's a waste of time, but I am in the habit of using my "verified" status when I can on climate-related material at the grey lady, and Mike is a friend and colleague, though I opine that he sometimes overstates his case. Our comments are passed without approval. I saw it late at night and early in the morning, and then it was removed, after receiving hundreds of votes. It was first until then. This is also not the first time these actors have used their leverage to remove unwelcome material.

    You're right, the regular NYTimes commentariat is a feature rather than a bug and quite a bit to the left of most of the staff.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, this has been quite a week for exposure. First Tol, and now Revkin:

    As mt notes, the program itself is unexceptionable, so the prior labeling is probably intended to prevent those who most need to see it from watching it. The reactions from the religious people were surprising to me, but with my life experience I try to avoid dissing people's faith in favor of suggesting they look to stewardship and actually read their texts (killing, violating the environment, and profiteering were not derived from Jesus's teachings, I assure you). Dr. Hayhoe got it just right, nice woman.

  6. Watched the first installment, and while it's educational, beautifully filmed and sincere, I can't help thinking it preaches only to the choir. Harrison Ford and Don Cheadle are trained actors, and actors famously "lie for a living". We need to get away from learning about the world from celebrities whose life skill is to suspend disbelief in order to make fiction real -- it has the unintended consequence of implying that what the actor is espousing must be in some way fiction. Add to that the fairy tale of Don Cheadle heading off to West Texas where he will accidentally come across a preacher married to a climate scientist, and you have cut yourself off from the skeptical folks you are trying to convince. And to assume that which you are trying to prove by travelling to Syria with Friedman to examine the war caused by global warming's attendant droughts – well, it’s highly informative about daily life in Syria and about as far removed from science as you can get. But I’ll keep watching to learn more about palm trees and the like and in the hope that it gets closer to the nub.

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  1. Susan, I pointed to an article in the New York Times on the topic that Michael raised. In what universe is that un-curious?

    [ Let's not start a flame war, please. Susan's broad characterization of Walter has been elided.

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