Movies

What’s up with the weather?

Yesterday, I saw a documentary from Frontline/Nova called What’s up with the weather?. I hate to admit but I have not seen An Inconvenient Truth yet.  I have heard lot of good things about it but have not yet seen it. I was having conversation with my friend Oliver where he was telling me story about his neighbor, who works in the fossil fuel industry. Oliver told me that the guy essentially discarded the whole film as a figment of imagination.

I think this documentary by Frontline/Nova is created before Al Gore’s film but the message seemed to be the same. It started with making clear distinction between Weather (short Term/Regional) and Climate (long term/global). It clarified that they are mainly talking about Climate which has nothing to do with hot summer that one region has. In a typical Frontline fashion, they showed the both sides of the story. It was interesting to see the same response from the people have vested interest in usage of fossil fuel such as Coal/Petroleum etc. Many people who are called “Greenhouse Skeptics” basically said…

  • Increasing CO2 levels is good for atmosphere because it helps photo synthesis and this earth will be greener
  • Since model created by different scientists differ on the actual effect of the increased level of CO2, we should just discard all those models.

I finished the documentary with this impression…

  • There is a relationship between human fuel consumption and the green house effect.
  • It is not true that increased CO2 level will just make earth greener even though and CO2 will not stay in the atmosphere. Even though initial experiments show that Trees grow faster with increased level of CO2, this CO2 will eventually released back in the atmosphere when trees follow normal lifecycle of death & decay
  • It is true that there is no exact model to describe the effects here. Considering amount if interrelated factors involved in this problem, this probably is one of the most difficult problems human kinds is trying to solve. But this does not mean we should discard  results.
  • Not only different models have different temperature raise as the final outcome,  but they also don’t exactly know what will happen because temperature increased.
  • Worst of all, Even though there are technologies in the run for being substitution for current energy sources, none of them is practical.  It talked about cost of producing solar energy/wind energy and it not being reliable, it talked about the fact that 10% of the earth’s surface will need to be covered in wheat to manufacture enough alcohol for sustaining energy demands or conventional nuclear reactors will be done with nuclear fuels in another decade or so if they try to support 100% of the demand. One of the MIT professor rightfully said that is is not bad that we have a problem but it is bad that there not much research happening in coming up with alternative ways. Other person showed an interesting perspective by saying “hey 100 years ago, science would not predicted what happened in this century, maybe there will be some great solution to this problem too”.

Anyway, it is a great documentary. I am looking forward to finding time to see An Inconvenient Truth, hopefully I will understand it more because of this film.

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