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National Geographic: Six Degrees That Could Change the World (2007)

Cast: Alec Baldwin
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Nat'l Geographic
Genre: Documentary, Political & Social Issues, Nature & Science
Running Time: 90 min.
Languages: English
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Driven by speculation that planet Earth's average temperature could rise as much as six degrees Celsius by the year 2100, the filmmakers at National Geographic speculate about the effects that each new degree would have on both mankind and the world we live in. By highlighting the effects of global warming on such areas as the Amazonian rainforests and the ice fields of Greenland, experts offer chilling insight into the possibility that man's constant quest for energy could ultimately bring about our downfall. After separating the facts from controversial speculation, the time comes to explore the means by which man could use technology and other methods to try and prevent the planet from overheating. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

We're Freaking Doomed by JPielaszczyk July 4, 2008 - 1:10 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
The Mogambo Guru often uses that phrase when covering the financial aspect of our converging catastrophes. It's appropriate too for this film's focus. Simply broaching the subject merits high ratings, but flaws in this National Georgraphic production deduct points. Spoilers ahead warning.

Part of the problem is that mysterious semi-permeable membrane in our nation's capital that permits the osmosis of political nefariousness into ostensibly objective institutions like the NGS. Thus, we see our top scientist, James Hansen, bravely tapping away on his laptop in the middle of traffic, but we get no reference to Mark Bowen's Censoring science : inside the political attack on Dr. James Hansen and the truth of global warming. We get lots of data on carbon dioxide, but no reference to the political pressure against mandated US vehicle fuel efficiencies. Not a peep either about the collusion between big business and government to destroy urban public transit and foster the car/suburb paradigm that took place a half century ago. A headline from today notes "GM MIGHT (my emphasis) Add Mini-Car to Lineup." Ya think?

The film's narrator states that major emission reductions must take place within ten years, or else, but in the two years since then carbon dioxide levels have continued to rise. They need to stop rising, level off, and decline. The easier changes are those effected sooner, but politicians can promise 80% reductions by 2050 while leaving office next year and retire to Paraguayan strongholds. Somebody else's kid is supposed to deal with the 79% remaining reductions in 2049.

Then there's the techno-worship. aka That magic button must be around here somewhere. Thus we get graphics of mirrors in space, and the crew hard at work on a fusion machine which the narrator finds sketchy. We get actual and proposed massive dikes on the Thames and surrounding NYC, but the talking head notes that we can't dike the world. Overpopulation? Not a peep about it. No political "third rails" for us, thanks.

The strong points include the footage of planetary trauma: like a dear uncle wasting away from a lingering disease, we see one man's fifty-year documentation of a retreating Himalayan glacier. What happens to unemployed Arctic-ish sled-dogs? Some get snarly and lose weight while semi-abandoned on short ropes, others get liquidated by former owners. Take a good first look at the face of the rescue worker.

The aware and mobile survivor guy has a well-equipped pack on his back most of the time. That's good, but my readings point toward the merits of a well-stocked (and defended) home base, plus allies. Good too is the riff on America's addiction to cheeseburgers. You want global impact with that? The US water footprint (a large part of which comes from raising cattle) is twice Japan's, ten times China's.

I learned that during Europe's catastrophic heat wave four or five years ago the trees were so traumatized that they were emitting carbon dioxide instead of oxygen, and that this phenomenon was pronounced enough to be detected by satellite imagery.

One blogger posted: Billions will die; get over it. Some would call that cynical.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.00)
2 Votes
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The End of the World as We Know It
Climate change, social turmoil, human overpopulation, media/political denial . . .

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