Climate Change
One Degree Matters



  "The fact of the matter is that today, stuff-selling mega-corporations have a huge influence on our daily lives. And because of the competitive nature of our global economy, these corporations are generally only concerned with one thing... the bottom line. That is, maximizing profit, regardless of the social or environmental costs."

–– David Suzuki
 

 
Climate Change
One Degree Matters

 
Evidence for climatic change is taken from a variety of sources that can be used to reconstruct past climates. Reasonably complete global records of surface temperature are available beginning from the mid-late 19th century.

For earlier periods, most of the evidence is indirect—climatic changes are inferred from changes in proxies, indicators that reflect climate, such as vegetation, ice cores, dendrochronology, sea level change, and glacial geology.


One Degree Matters follows social and business leaders as they travel to Greenland and experience for themselves the dramatic effects of the melting of the ice cap and come to understand the planetary effects of climate change and the impacts these will have on society and the economy.

The film brings to the screen the latest science from the Arctic and shows why a further rise in global temperature of one degree matters for the future of humankind.


Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years.

It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average (e.g., more or fewer extreme weather events). Climate change may be limited to a specific region or may occur across the whole Earth, such as global warming.

While there are some groups and individuals that believe that climate change is a hoax, it is deadly real for other animals living on planet Earth.


Glaciers are considered among the most sensitive indicators of climate change.

Their size is determined by a mass balance between snow input and melt output.

As temperatures warm, glaciers retreat unless snow precipitation increases to make up for the additional melt; the converse is also true. Glaciers grow and shrink due both to natural variability and external forcings. Variability in temperature, precipitation, and englacial and subglacial hydrology can strongly determine the evolution of a glacier in a particular season.

Therefore, one must average over a decadal or longer time-scale and/or over a many individual glaciers to smooth out the local short-term variability and obtain a glacier history that is related to climate.

Several journalists have argued that efforts to downplay the significance of climate change resemble the campaign by tobacco lobbyists, after being confronted with new data linking cigarettes to cancer, to shift public perception of the discoveries toward that of a myth, unwarranted claim, or exaggeration rather than mainstream scientific theory.

A world glacier inventory has been compiled since the 1970s, initially based mainly on aerial photographs and maps but now relying more on satellites. This compilation tracks more than 100,000 glaciers covering a total area of approximately 240,000 km2, and preliminary estimates indicate that the remaining ice cover is around 445,000 km2.

The World Glacier Monitoring Service collects data annually on glacier retreat and glacier mass balance From this data, glaciers worldwide have been found to be shrinking significantly, with strong glacier retreats in the 1940s, stable or growing conditions during the 1920s and 1970s, and again retreating from the mid 1980s to present.

The most significant climate processes since the middle to late Pliocene (approximately 3 million years ago) are the glacial and interglacial cycles. The present interglacial period (the Holocene) has lasted about 11,700 years. Shaped by orbital variations, responses such as the rise and fall of continental ice sheets and significant sea-level changes helped create the climate.

Other changes, including Heinrich events, Dansgaard–Oeschger events and the Younger Dryas, however, illustrate how glacial variations may also influence climate without the orbital forcing.

Glaciers leave behind moraines that contain a wealth of material—including organic matter, quartz, and potassium that may be dated—recording the periods in which a glacier advanced and retreated. Similarly, by tephrochronological techniques, the lack of glacier cover can be identified by the presence of soil or volcanic tephra horizons whose date of deposit may also be ascertained.



Hot 'Climategate' Debate


The Climatic Research Unit email controversy also known as "Climategate" began in November 2009 with the hacking of a server at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

On 20 November, two weeks before the Copenhagen Summit on climate change, an unknown individual or group breached CRU's server and copied thousands of emails and computer files to various locations on the Internet.

The story first broke in the climate sceptic blogosphere, with columnist James Delingpole popularising the term "Climategate" to describe the controversy. Climate sceptics alleged that the emails revealed scientists manipulating climate data and suppressing their critics.

Climate sceptics said the documents showed evidence that global warming was a scientific conspiracy. All these accusations have been denied by CRU spokepersons, and the CRU's researchers stated that the e-mails had been taken out of context and merely reflect an honest exchange of ideas.

The mainstream media picked up the story as negotiations over climate change mitigation began in Copenhagen on 7 December, with some media outlets (e.g. Fox News) giving the controversy increased coverage. Because of the timing, scientists and policy makers speculated that the release of emails was a smear campaign intended to undermine the climate conference.

In response to the controversy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released statements supporting the scientific consensus, with the AAAS concluding "based on multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change caused by human activities is now underway...it is a growing threat to society."

Six committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct. The Muir Russell report stated, however, "We do find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA."

The scientific consensus that global warming is occurring as a result of human activity remained unchanged at the end of the investigations.