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Discovery Channel – Global Warming What You Need To Know

The basic message of the 1 hour and 27 minute special program “Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw” is that Global Warming is real and the Earth will continue to warm. The Documentary film originally aired in 2006, and featured a host of respected scientists.

Discovery Channel Global Warming001At the time some conservative blogs and media sources were critical of the film for not being “balanced”, but the information presented was also supported by 1000’s of peer-reviewed studies that were the source papers for the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC ) report, which was fully published a short time later in 2007. As the film was reporting basic verifiable facts there was little need to point out or give equal time to insignificant data points or anomalies, especially when those facts/studies were often conducted by Think Tanks and Institutes that were typically funded by those parties contributing to Global Warming (i.e. the fossil fuel industry).

Discovery Channel, in conjunction with NBC Universal created this USA version of the Global Warming story, using quite a bit of the same footage as some BBC documentaries such as “Are We Changing Planet Earth”. It was of interest for me to see just how the stories diverged and what information was chosen to make points for the different audiences.

Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know (Full Video) 1:27

Some Highlights of the Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know Video Include:

The USA is only 5% of the world’s population, but yet is responsible for releasing 25% of the carbon dioxide emissions.

China will surpass the USA eventually as the Chinese Government plans to add a coal power plant every week for the next seven years.

The international community could easily insist that the USA have legal responsibilities well after China and perhaps India’s greenhouse gas emission surpass the USA because it could be argued that the USA was primarily responsible for not only being the historical largest emitter but also because US Congress rejected the 160 nation ratified Kyoto Protocol, that would have reduced global emissions.

25% of US carbon dioxide emissions comes from transportation.

Cement, Iron and Steel Manufacturing emit more carbon than transportation.

New York City is becoming the big green apple. Fossil Fuel burning taxis and buses are being replaced with hybrid electric power. Wind power now powers the lights at Staten Island. New Green skyscrapers are being built: Hearst Tower, seven World Trade Center, and the Solare Luxury apartment building.

Typical US family emissions are 50 tons of CO2 per year that come from the electric grid which is typically powered by fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas.

About half of the families emissions come from each of their gas guzzling cars at 15 tons per vehicle. The electric appliances used to heat, clean, entertain in the their home use almost the same amount. Food transport 5 tons per year. Business travel over the year uses an additional ton of CO2.

50 tons a year x 100 million US families contribute a significant percentage of the 7 billion tons the USA emits from all sources in a year.

Discovery Channel Global Warming002What can be done, what are the alternatives?

  • If Americans simply replaced one conventional light bulb with high efficiency fluorescent bulb it could reduce the equivalent of 1 million cars fossil fuel cars on the road.
  • Adjusting the temperature inside the home by 3F degrees warmer in the summer and 3F degrees cooler in winter would save another 1/2 ton of carbon per year.
  • Turn off lights that aren’t being used.
  • Unplugging Computers, TVs and stereos when not in use, because many of those devices still consume up to 40% of normal power just while in standby mode, that could save almost another two tons of carbon per year.
  • Buying locally grown food, buying high efficacy appliances, using more insulation, even trash
  • Replacing a gas guzzler with a hybrid electric car can save up to 8 tons of carbon per year.
  • Use more public transport

Other noteworthy facts:
China has a serious air pollution problem now and will have to reduce the reliance on coal if they wish to clean up the air.

The warming blanket of CO2 that surrounds the planet is projected to double in 50 years and triple in 100 if current trends continue.

To keep catastrophic global warming from taking place scientists say that by 2050 global greenhouse emission must be reduced by 50%.

Documentary Film Review:
“Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw”
(Rating: 4 out of 5 stars) I believe the Documentary film as the title suggests does explain most of the what the majority of people need to know about Global Warming and Climate Change and the information is presented in a clear and concise manner.

The facts that the film presents are easily verifiable using basic search engine tools, as well as info published by those NASA’s James Hansen and Princeton professor Michael Oppenheimer.

What I don’t think was stressed near enough in the film was that over the course of history there have been multiple times previously that mass extinctions have occurred with only a few degrees of temperature change.

Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know Photo Gallery


Green-Eco-EV News Reporting by Ken Green Burridge

kenneth green burridge

Kenneth Burridge test-drives electric Nissan LEAF in Melbourne Australia

EV of the Year Judge, independent green journalist, photographer, author and sustainability activist that has published over 1000 articles. Mr Burridge’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries and 300+ major cities. He is originally from the USA, but has been residing in Australia for the last seven years. Connect to Ken Burridge on: Twitter, facebook, Google+Linked in or website