After The Warming
James Burke's after the warming is made possible by the support of viewers like you with additional support from the W Alton Jones foundation.
This is the Global Information Network. It's January 1st 2015. I'm here to mark the 50th anniversary of the time management authority is James but.
I need you. I wonder if I could ask you to take a look at something.
Like 540 million starving for 2015. Three quarters of the world's tropical rain forest. So 2020 brings hurricane strength storms in 2022 subsidence caused by sea level rise but the damage is raging. New York toxic waste spills throughout Europe. Full scale evacuations ordered in New Orleans greater temperature increases are still to come.
I found out the other day in some old library is a videotape from 1990 and that was how they felt we'd turn out. Funny how they missed out some of the changes we would really care about. I mean you know hamburgers traffic jams log fires and went to. A place called Miami a time when the Japanese weren't running everything.
That world has disappeared so fast hasn't it. We're all still living in a kind of future shock.
But we're only going to get down by understanding what caused it. Why climate change really happened back in the 20th century.
So I'm going to show you why. With the aid of some state of the art 2050 technology but I think you're going to enjoy.
This technology standby mode.
I know in reality I'm in the planning for management authorities the latest virtual reality.
Generally the database here is got a detailed working model of the entire world that the PMA uses to test out planetary management scenarios on with simulations of anywhere so real you can do things to them as if they were real. I'm going to use a generator like this. To recreate time and places from the distant past up through the 20th century to today to look at what happened when technology first began to change the planet when what we did started to change the weather instead of the other way round. The greenhouse effect. In other words on how the greenhouse effect scale forced them to make decisions that would radically alter the way we run the world. And that would give us the life we lead today in the second half of the 21st century after the warming.
Several million years ago. A massive and prolonged drought in Africa drives our very distant ancestors out of the trees and onto the grasslands.
Those of us who happen to be able to walk upright stay alive because we can see food over the top of the grass. Those who can't become history well prehistory by about 70000 B.C. we've moved north out of Africa and we're living in caves from Killarney to Vladivostok. Almost human living on a diet of mostly mammoths and berries. And then the weather turns disastrously cold and life in the cave becomes iffy to say the least. With all that lousy weather the vegetation out there becomes pretty stunted. And so there's a lot less mammoth around on the hoof but you've still got to eat. Which is why this chilly climatic event probably triggered the most important thing in our history up to the advent of sliced bread because it favors a previously unimportant characteristic Some of us some of us from time to time give the odd helpful grunt 12 showing each other how to chip flint tools like these. And then we start to use a grunt for something else.
You start to grunt about catching the mammoth or about the hunting strategy lessons we start to put up on the.
So thanks to this change in the way we invent the basic way for dealing with every problem from then on.
Show and Tell.
Every other major event in human history has to do with the weather and the greenhouse effect is because both of them have a big effect on living conditions on the planet.
For instance really serious changes in the weather depend on how far we off from the sun. And every 100000 years that changes because the shape of the Earth's orbit changes. And them every forty one thousand years. The earth tilt back and forwards towards or away from the sun. And when it's tilted away the ice caps get colder.
So when the earth is farther from the sun in orbit and tilted away it gets so cold you have yourself an ice age. The greenhouse effect kind of runs things in between the ice age. The effect is caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere like carbon dioxide that stop the heat from radiating back out into space or greenhouse gas it gets warmer less cool. How much gas that is depends on trillions of little pounds floating in the ocean surface that breathe in terms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere here.
If the weather comes down in style with most of them gone more carbon dioxide gets left in the atmosphere so the planet warms up again when it's warm enough the little plants multiply again.
So in between ice ages the contact like a kind of planetary thermostat switching between warm and cool.
Well for several billion years these time I think ups and downs bother only dinosaurs and fish and other prehistoric nonentities until as I mentioned we turn up and eventually learn to talk during the last ice age.
Now they reckon that it took only a few thousand years for that clever language trick to spread among humans all around the planet when almost all round there were a couple of places we hadn't been able to get to. Then again the one that took a hand I said.
But one of the things the last ice age did was to force us to leave home in search of food. The other thing it did was to freeze the sea water into ice so the sea level went down between 50 and 15000 years ago by more than 300 feet.
So that search for food drove some of those eco refugees the ones whose descendants we call American Indians out of their caves in Siberia across the valley that is now the Bering Straits to Alaska to go on and Central America all the way down to Chile. The other place the same kind of walk about was here. Where the prehistoric travelers migrated across a wide plane with rolling hills and a great lake walking from New Guinea to Australia across what is now the bottom of the Gulf of Carpentaria and then around 15000 B.C. the weather switched again.
The world warmed up an average nine degrees. The ice melted the seas came back up and flooded in there they were Americans or this case Australians for good.
As the planet went on heating up the sea level went on rising. Carving out the Gulf of Mexico and Hudson's Bay flooding the North European plane and creating the British Isles and filling the Gulf of sewers maybe even originating the biblical flood story when it was over there was the modern world.
But as the seas rose so did the rivers and lakes. So with high temperatures and plenty of moisture around the world's great rivers in America India China and the Middle East. The land became incredibly fertile.
Back then with only holiday weather and loads of water around and with wheat and barley growing everywhere. They were out of their caves and running farming villages. A flash.
The most spectacular effects of all this hard stuff happened here in the Middle East sometime around 7000 B.C. probably in Iraq they were farming so much grain they had a surplus that you could swap for things like cows. So to save them having to heat real people real sacks of corn around to do deals they started just using tokens to represent them. Then they started dressing as tokens onto a wet clay top to make marks to represent say the tokens for three sheep in three colors.
Those marks were the first ever writing. One of mankind's greatest inventions triggered.
By good farming. And as writing spread. So did the trading it was designed for.
Around 3000 B.C.. This happened.
Massive droughts all over the Mediterranean catching the new agri business. Crowds are disappearing with their populations rising.
In the case of Egypt the whole country turned into desert except the strip of land on either side of the night. Kept fertile by the rivers annual giving flood.
Well the chores for the Egyptians was easy.
Either you organized a way to save every drop of those annual life giving flubs or you were a dead duck which is why this particular change in the weather is so uniquely meaningful because it will generate generated civilization. Which is what turned out to be. Because when you get organized to. Do.
All those ancient civilizations were kicked off by everything that came with running water supply math to design the irrigation network surveying and engineering to let out. And straw bricks to build it geometry to measure reservoir volume metallurgy to make the tour. A calendar to get the river from the right. Management to run into tax collectors to cream off the profits of the state bureaucracy to spend the.
Money when the ancient Egyptians had got themselves all that they built themselves over the great temple complex. KONDRACKE up the Nile the most spectacular thing in the Ancient World. One. Hundred.
And. Forty of these giant columns. And this is just one corner in the largest temple ever built.
At the Imperial City of Thebes on the banks of the night.
The Egyptians call this the chosen place.
What had happened was. That the weather had changed them from groups of freewheeling individuals into a hierarchical society with rigid rules all ultimately dictated by the weather.
Just like a planetary management authority. Today in 2050. Then just like we do now they got very lines from watching what the weather would do next. That's why all over the public buildings they went on and on about.
This climate change forced the ancient Egyptians to develop civil engineering techniques to tackle the local problem of flooding from the Nile. Today in 2050 we tackle the global problem of flooding from the sea with exactly the same techniques.
The next major weather change generated a historical whodunit what happened to the great lost civilization of my scene is described by Herma as the Golden City of Heroes who ran the Mediterranean and 3300 B.C. anyone the Trojan War or they might have done a bit better if they had a weather forecast. Since one of the things this machine is exceptionally good at is simulating weather patterns. Take a look at a rerun of what the Mycenaeans had come because of the drop in temperature in growing ice.
Can the polar front will weaken and the westerly Mediterranean winds are going to push further north. Here's the usual Atlantic storm track that brings wet summers to southeastern Europe and carries its rain on down into the eastern Mediterranean. But now because of these Mediterranean winds the system will stall in Europe instead of heading on southeast and you'll get really major precipitation here in the Hungarian plains. So you can look for a catastrophic flood watch there for several decades. So people there should head east for safety. Meanwhile further south the only rain around now will be brought in by the Mediterranean weather system. But unlike the old high altitude Atlantic storm tracks this ones down low so it'll bump up against the mountains of western Greece and dump all its rain which means that from 2200 B.C. for maybe a century you're not going to see any rain at all beyond the western Greek mountains and throughout this entire area.
And where was my scene right there on the dry side of those mountains sure enough within one generation of the fall of Troy and twelve hundred B.C. and the start of that catastrophic drought the Mycenaeans had abandoned their palaces and cities and thanks to a change in the weather disappeared without trace.
A thousand years later disappearing without trace down this secret mile long 300 foot deep ravine through a mountain was a favorite stunt of a shifty bunch of middle eastern moneybags called the Napa team.
The original hole in the wall.
That they were able to pull this particular vanishing trick was due to yet another spectacular degree improvement in the world's weather. But before I explain take a sneaky look at what it was they were hiding got to descend to the ravine.
Just around that corner. Down here in what is now modern Georgia. Surrounded by this fancy architecture lived 30 hours.
With shops. Factories bought homes and local and in the middle of a barren desert. All the food and drink they could ever need.
Impressive. No. And. All. Because of the weather.
And as this seems an apt setting to put the whole vaguely theatrical story into proper perspective let me give you the big picture. Meteorology was.
Around 300 B.C.. The climate goes warm and moist.
Tons of food everywhere. Calm seas great traveling weather and most important in northern Italy. The Alpine mountain pass is now stay open all year round. This arrangement proves irresistible to the ancient Romans who promptly rush out and kind of take over from Portugal to the Persian Gulf Scotland to the Sahara the known world. After a while they bump into another bunch the Chinese doing exactly the same thing for the same climatic reason in their known world because the good weather has also opened up the Silk Road and the sea routes from the Far East. So the trading begins between the two superpowers and guess who are set to make oodles of boodle as middlemen because they are shooting at what the history books always for some reason call a crossroads there.
Yes our friends here the nifty Nabatiye us up the trade routes from China and India come caravans of sugar Ginger silk parrots elephants teeth frankincense and myrrh. Down the other way goes damask from Damascus Golas from Gaza as well as asbestosis Yemen and other special offers or masterminded from Nabatiye and HQ. This hole in the ground Aliase the fabled city of Petra.
Fable because being a hole in the ground entirely surrounded by mountains with only one way in down that ravine most people didn't even know it was here which suited the patrons to a tee.
Living down a hill was no problem for the Petrak because apart from being hot shot entrepreneurs there were also the world's greatest plumbers. See this groove.
It carried a clean water pipe on it run all the way down the ravine down to the city and it found out along similar grooves cut into every cafe's carrying the plentiful rainfall all over the city into big reservoirs so that would be water in the one month a year it didn't rain.
Who knows how long that might have lasted here. Living in a self-contained biosphere nipping outside only from time to time to make serious amounts of money. Living a life so like ours in 2050 lush. But limited. If it hadn't been for the bloody weather again because around 580 guess what the global temperature went down once more.
No all over the Roman Empire that meant different things to different people in different places and none of it good.
For. Example. Way up in Northern Europe for your average sun loving Italian legionary on overseas posting. It began to get a bit draftable good but it wasn't the now regular lizard just howling across the sky. That road finished to the Pax Romana.
It was that different things to different people stuff I mentioned because for a bunch of uncouth sheepherders called the Hum's in Central Asia the climate change meant freezing drought and cold for the road because the Hum's promptly upped sticks and moved in.
Neighbor. Who moved in their neighbors. Who moved in their neighbors causing a whole load of barbarian tribes to jump out of Asia right over the Roman empire thus giving birth to the domino theory and the dark ages.
Meanwhile back here in the mountains of Petra. Never mind the geopolitics all they knew was it stopped raining. The plumbing stopped working. The caravan stopped coming and appropriately in the road conditions were to obtain here.
From then on the place became deserted.
Five hundred years later the temperature jumps and good times are back again this time for a bunch of travelling crazy's called the Vikings here in the Arctic wastes of Greenland.
Up to this time worlds least visited place.
In 1982 a Viking called Eric the Red came here to Greenland because with all the warmth the Atlantic pack ice had melted so it wasn't difficult also because he was on the run. He called this place Greenland because it was grassy and went back to get some friends.
986. Fourteen ships and five hundred settlers landed here together with the silted pigs. Course these cows sheep goats and the whole shebang and set up to Greenland colonies on the West Coast. Anyway with the long warm summers there is plenty of pasture ridge and hay for the animals throughout the winter. For fun. The Greenlanders play dice and board games. They live in turf houses and they each have their own spoons.
They had two serious problems one of them was wood. As you can see there isn't any. So in 1002. Eric sun leaf Eric sun set off with five men and came back later with a load of timber from a trip down Baffin Land to Labrador and maybe even as far as New England. These trips became a regular event with people even building houses in winter over in vien land as they called America.
Around 13:00 the temperature dropped again. By 1851. The sea ice was so thick. The route to Iceland was blocked. By 50 50. There was only one settlement left to live here on the final trading ship came in from 1861. The last news to reach the outside world was in 14:00 night.
About a wedding in this church.
And then. Silence.
Centuries later a few of the Greenlanders were dug up first and stay where they had been buried.
I'm not reveal their second problem. They do not eat meat. I'm dressed in European clothes so when it got very very cold they didn't imitate Eskimos where I can eat fish. So they froze and stall.
Who knows if they had adopted as we did for instance when we stopped eating beef around 2020 to help prevent deforestation the Vikings in Greenland might have survived. And a hundred years later Columbus would have had to learn Danish. OK the next major weather change triggered another one of those solutions to a climate problem that we would end up using ourselves to. This time it was handling change with technology. Take a look at this 16th century art and you'll see what I mean. As you can see this is an old monster winter scene. You know why that's such a big deal because painting the winter was a new thing because here we are in the Little Ice Age the beginning of which froze out those Greenlanders and caused the kind of extreme changes in lifestyle that a European O.M. would bother to paint because this painting contains the new artificial environment technology.
This there are high tech arms to the new cold weather the new style weatherized manor house of the period of the new features stone walls and gravel surrounds to keep out the wet and the mud. No more open colonnades and courtyards steep roofs and guttering to handle a lot of rain. But in spite of the cold they still put in big glass windows.
That's because this change in the weather was to trigger the use of a new technology the townhouses from medieval bombs. It is something you and I would recognize as a particularly good example of it up there.
It's changed their lives almost as much as greenhouse technology has changed ours. It was the chimney. But what it did to them. At one stroke it drove the social classes of pot where they all used to eat and sleep together around one central fire in the great main hall. They now split up living separately in small heated rooms.
They kept out the drafts with new tricks like tapestry plasterwork paneling curtains enjoying the new privacy with cuts and four poster beds. Love took on a new romantic meaning. They even bought it because they could do it in front of the fire. And no the house was warm enough for them to put in the flashiest of household consumer items big windows.
Some of the aristocratic houses have small heated offices in them so the accounts could be kept and the estate administration could go on throughout the year instead of stopping in December when the egg froze.
So the economy picked up. All in all the new indoor life was pretty Hanigan new indoor amusements became all the rage like making your own music.
All that to keep them nice and warm. Funny thought isn't it from our point of view. Which reminds me of all the stuff I've shown you by far the most meaningful to us in our greenhouse world is what you're about to see.
This was when it happened when the first manmade greenhouse effect began. In eighteenth century because this was when the climate stopped doing things and we started doing things to it. With a jump in global average temperature of oh maybe 4 degrees by 1750. England had had three decades of the most knockout corn growing weather and maybe a thousand years.
So the millers. And everybody else were up to the RIAs in bread.
In every sense of the word the effect of this change would eventually turn us from farmers into factory work for the first time give us the power to change the weather. And.
See. The rising temperature bro. Hot moist summers and mild winters.
And you remember that all around the state management. Well that's a tradeoff with real developments in agricultural techniques. Big harvests and a crop field for time. Would it have been. So. The price of food dropped like a stone. Big harvests also meant more work. So people made more money.
Now when wages go up and prices go down historically people get married much earlier and have many more children so the population went up like a rocket. So now you had a lot of newlyweds with a lot of money to spend on a lot of houses to furnish. What a market for household goods. The guy who set up this place in Colebrook Dale. Abraham's Dorby. I suppose is one of the two. People who gave us the problem we knew.
Back then Dobby was profitably intercoms time cooking pots because with all those extra mouths to feed it you couldn't get rid of them fast enough.
Darbies problem is making it fast enough and the trauma of air was. To melt on your Needwood. Firewood. Of which England was out. Which is why DARBEE. Well one of his lads really came up with a really neat trick. There was tons of coal around here. This place is called Colebrook Dayle but it had impurities in it when I got into the spoiling. This Coke is cold with the impurities burnt out of it and it will make high quality iron just as fast.
The iron making industry took to the new idea with all the abandon of an alcoholic in a brewery and none more so than a friend who was looking for high quality dependable Ayane for cylinders that wouldn't crack under pressure for a new thing called a steam engine.
Coke made that possible. So because of that.
Movement in the winter Abraham Darby changed the world because his idea made possible the development of steam. And as you see the problem is we live with in 2015. Because of Abraham Darby kicked off the industrial government and woke everybody up to the colossal profits to be had from manufacturing.
Well. Almost everybody. This particular guy is famous for sleeping till noon. But what do you do at night. Thomas Alva Edison out to his friends midnight inventor ordinary.
He used to say I can never pick something up without wanting to improve on it. And I suppose in that sense he invented the idea of consumerism but his real genius lay in finding or creating a gap in the marketplace then developing a product to fit that gap that he could sell all over the world.
Which is why he was the other fellow to give us Greenhaus because almost single handedly Edison invented the idea of the industrial laboratory here at West Orange New Jersey. And in doing so invented inventing one way or another he and his backroom boys came up with no less than 1000 to 93 different patents on everything from phonographs to automatic patents. But it was this that we in 2050 have most to thank Edison for.
Well not exactly but what came with it sockets fuses relays meters switchboards. In other words the entire electricity supply industry and not to labor the point you make electricity by spinning magnets past wire coils you spin the magnets on a shaft you spin the shaft with a steam engine you make the steam by boiling water and you boil the water by burning.
Yes Abraham Darby's modest ideas for using coal.
To make. Was by now fueling spectacular industrial expansion. And in particular. The fastest growing transportation system in history. Railroad. Coal. Miners. Have. Lived. The best friend.
You hold together and you get what we in 2050 would describe as a vicious circle. I want the people in 1885 in describing us onward and upward. So I'll run through the process. How do you decide which you prefer to call for America to build railroads to deliver coal more railroads need more and more coal. So you dig even want to make even more audible even more and so on and so on.
So the chimneys of the industrial world with massive amounts of greenhouse making carbon dioxide released by the burning coal. That is. It went up there 20th century chimneys. But as you'll see into our 21st century.
However it wasn't all railroads burning fossil fuel and making carbon dioxide by 1910. It was what we in 2050 would call international greenhouse lunacy of every kind. Thanks to two more western inventions. Here's the first. The idea of making guns with standard identical interchangeable bits what you call spam Paul's caught on like nobody's business industry because with it you could make zillions of identical components with things cheap by the same manufacturing process. So that was the second new Western idea what we call mass production.
Mass production is about to do things to the entire world because in the West a rapidly increasing population quit the farms for the factories and the bright lights of the big city. For a new way of making money called the working week and the new and irresistible prospect. Of owning things. So consumerism was born. And with it the expectation that it was a God given right for people to have more of everything. And then after that more again.
All of which kept the factories and their fossil fuel demand in production lines and materials processing going night and day everyday of the year but could go on. Wouldn't they run out of stuff.
Well of course as you know they didn't because quite early on while casting about for a solution to the supply problem they happened to notice that other parts of the world appeared to be positively over and over with exactly what was required to. And the reason why the Europeans were able to go on having their industrial revolution go on burning oil and coal was because unlike any empire that went before they had the means to make their wishes felt across the entire planet. They had steamships railways and telegraphs to organize it all and adequate means of persuasion. And. Heres how you did it. So the place you are interested in. Is. Mineral. First thing you do. Is to build. But. Only from the. To.
The mine. Then you use the trains to bring in all the equipment you need to remove the minerals plus all the necessary.
Work. You do not build railroads to anyone else. Nor do you train the locals to be managers. Net result you wipe out what the local economy was putting ministration and transportation systems to suit your business and shape the company to your needs. Of course once the railroads were in you didn't have to limit yourself to just taking away all the news you could lay.
Alongside the track you put down stations to produce a sense of like rub a few extra little luxuries my coffee right back up thus creating a profitable market for these goodies.
Like. When it all seemed to work like an absolute Chone. So. Massive Western investment poured out to the companies and back from then Newport's came nice cheap cloggers of rubber from. Plantations in.
The from refrigeration Compston Argentina. Sugar from refineries in the Caribbean. Copper from snowshoers in Africa. Tropical Fruit. From pockets in Central America. Bringing them all well and truly into the grip of the industrialized world.
This would turn out as you will see to cause serious greenhouse grief about a century later. Because what you had created here were banana republics or tin republics or copper republics or whatever countries depended for their survival on one or two products. And their success in the Western marketplace. I said the colonies would cause greenhouse problems 100 years later. But it was what the colonies helped make possible first explosive Western industrial growths that would ring alarm bells a lot sooner than that because of the way the West now began to use fossil fuel on a big enough scale to do serious things to the planetary carbon cycle.
Let me show you the power of the carbon cycle.
Oh sorry. If you were waiting to see something happen that was it the carbon cycle at work. Every living organism is part of a carbon cycle.
The whole world is full of carbon.
Most of it locked up forever.
But. Several hundred billion pounds worth of it is free to move around in the form of a gas. Carbon dioxide a greenhouse gas for instance. Every spring plants breathe it in to help with air growth. And then every autumn they dump it in the form of dead leaves that rot and release that gas back into the atmosphere. The key to the whole process. Is Out There.
Be. A amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is regulated by the ocean.
Because whenever there's a little excess they absorb it. Keeping the planetary carbon cycle is valid.
Well I used to until the industrial revolution of the new lifetime if created.
By the 1950s when publicity films were hyping consumerism and the electric gates it made it all possible what had really made it possible the worlds oil fields and coal fields and forests looked inexhaustible. So these people went on using them as if they were by 1957 this free wheeling lifestyle was dumping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide nitrous oxide CFC use and to be thrown into the atmosphere at a rate of over 5 billion tons a year. And nobody knew it was happening.
But they were about to.
It was here at the weather station 11000 feet up the side of a Hawaiian volcano called Mount alone. But they first found out what was actually going on. You. Know. At the time people had been looking at ice cores drilled out of the Greenland ice cap ice cores that contained trapped air bubbles frozen in the snow that stacked up year after year in ice layers an annual atmosphere.
And they had 160000 years of ice claims.
They analyzed all the air in those bubbles. And they got. This. Over thousands of years.
Here's the carbon dioxide level in black going up and down. But look here in blue. Is the temperature right. Exactly. And look at this. These two levels linked in the same way. Over the same period of time to the methane level set. Up here in mid-Pacific well away from industrial pollution. From 1958 on they started measuring the amount of carbon dioxide in the modern atmosphere. And they got this. Down in spring up in. Spring. Autumn. Spring autumn. Remember the part. Of the overall trend. Of. Manmade excess that. Too much for the oceans to warm. And at the same time look at methane level. And another greenhouse gas. And. Look at this. Global temperature rise over the previous hundred years. When it didn't need a Ph.D.. Especially when you look at two other. The trend. Fossil fuel emission. And. Deforestation. None of those things. Was going that way. The scientists got the graph and reached for their diaries to set up a conference in.
1970 climate change 1:53 environment for the ozone layer 76 greenhouse gases. Then the politicians got involved 1982.
In 81 the White House 83 the National Academy 85. And again 86 ozone and again 87 environment 88.
A call for action on call for action. Ninety covert action for action.
And while the talking went on the data people were producing amazing climate change computer models who divided the planetary surface up into nearly 2000 squares and the atmosphere into nine levels. And then at each point with those 17000 boxes of at joined you worked out how dozens of constantly varying climatic conditions could interact with a colossal number of calculations to do a simulated Tenia run could take a supercomputer 100 hours.
And even then the results were pretty primitive. And not everybody agreed with the results anyway. The aim of all the news was to work out something we already know of course. How soon the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will double and when we would get global average temperature rises of between 10 and 15 degrees and that date depended on which computer model agreed with 2030 2050. Or 4:33 that uncertainty wasn't good enough for some people. We need more research they say. Maybe it's not going to happen at all or if it did it would take thousands of years like these things always do.
Well as you know that turned out to be wrong.
What changed everything was a totally unexpected discovery in those ice cores.
It was more. Like a detective story. This is a section of ice core drilled out of the Greenland ice cap which is always there whatever the climate and the air bubbles trapped in the annual ice layers. The older the deeper you go contain what happened to be in the area of agreement at the time. One set of those bubbles revealed something about what the weather could cause that was different in every way. From all is of course throughout history the development of language the beginning of civilization the disappearance of my scenery the rise and fall of Rome the Vikings and America the great medieval frees up all of that Peanut's. Compared to what the bubbles in this slice of ice core told them I said get ice cold bubbles contained in the air at the time. Or anything blowing in the wind. Ten thousand seven hundred twenty years ago when this for. The wind from Canada started to blow in the pollen of a flower. And as the years went by more and more came a new flower was growing over in Canada. The mystery was.
It shouldn't have been. That flower. Only like extreme cold and with the last Ice Age ended. Canada should have been too warm for it. So what happened here. They found another clue in the same bubble. The composition of the air in them confirmed a catastrophic drop in temperature. Why. The answer to that question came from an entirely different piece of research.
Into how the ocean works. Because it turned out that's what ran the climate. Watch this. Here's the gulf stream flowing on the surface. Warming up as it comes through the tropics north up the Atlantic around Iceland. The winds evaporate some of that water so the water gets saltier the salty water is heavier so it sinks. Five billion gallons a second down to the bottom of the Atlantic. Then it flows south into water river 20 times bigger than all the rivers in the world then east and then north up the Pacific where it hits the continents and comes back up to the surface where it turns south and eventually it comes back down through the tropics heating up as it goes to become the warm gulf stream again. This bit here in the North Atlantic where evaporation makes the Gulf Stream so salty that it sinks is what drives the whole thing.
But see that salty water didn't see the warm Gulf Stream pulled up to fill the gap and was no more warm. The temperature will drop. So the ice cap would expand with world wide.
Just like it did 10000 dog years ago. But for the not to sink would have to be listened to.
And one of us could do some. Kind of scale. This giant prehistoric Canada held by ice is about a warming up or.
So billions of tons of fresh water suddenly poured down the St. Lawrence into the Atlantic making thousands of square miles of ocean surface Gulf Stream water too fresh to sink. Stopping the entire ocean circulation so no more warm Gulf Stream coming north. So a massive fall in temperature and expansion of the polar ice age conditions. World one.
That was the key to everything change the saltiness of the Atlantic and you change the world's weather. And here were the kicker. I told you the amount of pollen build up gradually as the temperature went from warm back to ice age. I didn't say how long it took. Only 70 years.
Back in 1989 when they found that out they realized something horrendous. If the opposite happened on the account it became BORSHOFF the temperature might rise just as fast as it had once formed.
But the water would only get more salty if it evaporated.
Just what was going to happen when the world warmed up thanks to greenhouse effect. Well do we have one small flower to thank for what they did with that knowledge.
Stay tuned for part two of James Bourke's.
After the warming. James Burke's after the warming is made possible by the support of viewers like you. The. First.
50. And here to mark the 50th anniversary of the time my authority is James can eat you.
This time I want to use the management authorities virtual reality generator to move on and see what happened between 1994 and 2050 and to trace the way the 20th century greenhouse effect scare turned out to be a trigger for something much more important which is why I'm going to concentrate on the greenhouse effect did to and how that lead to an entirely new way of managing it.
But first let me go back to 20th Century Greenland back in 1991 things weren't looking so if you see what I mean thanks to new Atmospheric Research and analyzing prehistoric bubbles trapped in the Greenland ice cap they'd fingered where the manmade greenhouse effect was coming from.
Four main gases in the air and in 1991 those gases were on the up.
Carbon dioxide that came mostly from burning fossil fuel methane from flatulent cows paddy fields and garbage.
Nitrous oxide from industry and fertilizers and CFC is the most powerful greenhouse gas used in air conditioners and fridges spray cans and foam packaging.
The big question was how soon would the green house warm up start to take effect that a 10 degree drop 11000 years ago that they discovered in those ice cores had thrown the US back into an ice age in only 70 years just because of a change in the saltiness of the Gulf Stream.
So with the heat come just as fast.
By 1994 when it was realized that global warming might also change the Gulf Stream. There were two things they need to do. Find out how the ocean would react and do something about the trouble that they were generating greenhouse gas. And like nobody in pursuit of a lifestyle of West East Europe and Russia are about to have a third world wonders what they were up to.
What you're looking at here is the average 20th century oil dependent Western a greenhouse by turning the world away after one by. Dumping a billion pounds of oil based plastic packaging a year trashing six hundred million trees a year in junk mail and newsprint spewing out 140 million tons of carbon emissions from gas guzzling cars to us in 2050.
All this fancy lifestyle is just so much carbon methane nitrous oxide and CFC.
Sorry back in 1994. That was your great grandparents sending the Western greenhouse gas levels that way they were the first bunch. Now for the second bunch who were about to do more or less the same thing. Up to now they've done a pretty good job of generating greenhouse because their technology was old leaky energy intensive obsolete junk.
Back. In the old communist world things were marching to a new tune. Consumerism was now flavour of the month. And so was increased industrial production at any cost. No problem. They were sitting on the world's second biggest co-present. Already burning a billion times a year. Pollution you wouldn't believe. Their power stations put out twice the Western carbon levels and they quadrupled output since 1950. And one of the ways they were planning to pay for modernization. Was by exporting coal.
So their greenhouse gas emission levels were going the same way as the West is that way. And if you go to China where there was a plan to give every citizen a CFC making Fritsch by the year 2000 was putting it mildly.
So what about the third.
The third world who as I mentioned wanted the greenhouse generating industrial world lifestyle just as soon as they could get their hands on it. Let me just remind you why they were so keen to follow the others into the greenhouse. A hundred years earlier the West had colonized the third world to get its hands on the resources the third world had and the West needed to fuel the industrial revolution going on at the time. In almost every case that meant developing the one resource each colony had and of course developing absolutely nothing else. So when the economy became independent I suppose the last thing you could say they became was independent because by 1994 Thanks to all that had gone before.
Where they found themselves.
Were just passing through the place. But almost everything they had was a western input. And as for export. We're still sending the same old single proto palm oil Raba in Cuba. So I'm. Still stuck with supplying industrial world markets. And if demand for whatever it was dropped they were in deep trouble.
So they were desperate to diversify industrialise provide a Western lifestyle for their own people if they could afford it. Fortunately Western aid was there to bridge the economic gap. Back in the 70s and 80s.
A third world country.
Picking up billions of dollars in a piece of cake just as long as what you wanted to do was take the turn so you then leave the hole in all the heavy equipment you would need to build gigantic centralized power stations.
More than 90 percent of all third world aid in those days went for these big energy projects. What you might want is big energy for who might be around out there in the wilds to need it.
Didn't seem to matter too much. So the third world plan was to use these power stations and roads and such to turn themselves into modern Western style greenhouse generating.
Industrial countries with machines. Which left only one rather awkward problem.
Industrial machinery demanded a few things they didn't. Like. Fuel to run the machines equipment and spare parts to maintain the machines. I expect to set up the machines organization to plan production by the machines. Oh and of course. The machine. That's OK. You buy the stuff and that's OK. The banks will lend you the money because back then in the mid 1970s the recently very rich Middle East moved just like that oil prices are absurdly swimming in money. That has to be lent to anybody. Which is why by 1994 the third world is 1.2 trillion in debt and just the interest is costing them a cool 50 billion a year. That's a dollar note. Hard currency which they do not have because they order books are now empty because the West is slapping big import duties on their goods to protect their own workers.
However. The move for modernization does involve massive expenditure on Western luxuries for the few.
Massive unemployment and starvation for the rural Many people also flooding from the villages to pack the cities sending the unemployment and birth rates sky high. All that you're up to here in hock. What do you do. To sell the farm.
So. By the mid 1990s the developing nations are stripping themselves of any natural resources they happen to have to pay off their debts.
Which jump for a billion. If the interest rates go up by 1 percent which they do frequently. Anything left up to that. To pay their fossil fuel bill. No about the quickest money raised around your friendly local rain forest.
All you have to do is cut it down and sell it. The Japanese are crazy for tropical hardwood and will take anything you chop.
This in turn causes massive increase in greenhouse gas because the missing trees no longer absorb carbon dioxide and the fertilizer you now have to put in the forest clearing to make things grow that emits another greenhouse gas. Nitrogen dioxide. But after a while with the trees all gone.
The soil is no good whatever you put on it so it floods easily on the roads emitting another greenhouse gas methane all this is a process by which you tell your local forests into your local deserts.
Which is why by 1994 off the world's rain forests look like this. The prediction is that if things go on the same way there won't be a tropical tree left standing by 2017 fine. So there you are.
The late 20th century top to bottom Western consumers East European industrialized is third world asset strip each one doing their thing.
In the name of what I believe they used to call the good life. But to at least one small group of people. By 1994 the full cost long term effect of the. Good life on the planet. Was looking distinctly here.
Population 9 billion by 2027 and rising. Most of it third world economic growth rate 3 percent a year. Oil and gas production falls. Coproduction goes on rising. Atmospheric carbon emission from fossil fuel rises to 11 billion tonnes. Meeting and emission doubles. Carbon emissions from deforestation. Doubles. Result. An average global temperature rise of up to 10 degrees at the equator. And nearly 25 degrees at the poles. And all that that brings with it. I said this information to one small group of people I should have said.
One group of small people. These. Are.
Grandparents. Born in 1994 and probably the first generation whose health would be so closely affected by the state of the planet. Which as you have just seen increasingly in need of intensive care. The media got so worried about this. They made their own prognosis.
The first indications of the catastrophe to come begin to strike in the last years of the 20th century when a series of massive droughts ravages the USA the Ukraine and the eastern tropical rain are now been destroyed by 2015 attempts of land reform to halt deforestation in South America trigger and are dead from starvation. World population jumps to 9 billion. Greenhouse effect brings vacation and famine devastation and death in the summer of 2020 or the Carolinas.
Two billion dollars worth of damage and so while there are forest fires burning out of control throughout the Mediterranean.
Devastation and loss of property there in Cairo Dhaka and parts of London and 20:24 as sea rise reaches overwhelmed considering their technology back then that wasn't really all that accurate.
The numbers were a bit high.
That's But when they got it really wrong with the argument about whether or not the greenhouse effect was actually happening at one time which was irrelevant the question was what to do about the fact that scientific opinion thought that it would strike sooner or later still for some people that wasn't good enough reason to spend money preparing for the eventuality even though they paid to insure their lives their homes and the national defense against much less likely events. Mind you Greenhaus insurance wasn't going to come easy.
It would involve cutting back drastically on energy use and restructuring the world economy to fit getting the third world to hold back on development and handling whatever disruption Greenhaus itself might bring. One solution had already been suggested in a 1989 Dutch government report five years later.
It was on the UN agenda.
Before it was hard to swallow but effective. It looked at the problem in terms of time. Stopping the greenhouse effect by cutting fossil fuel use dead. That would be economic suicide. But how could they take to do that. It would need an immediate Hoving the global carbon emissions from 6 Pridgin down to 3 billion tons a year for the next hundred years to hold the average global temperature rise to about 8 degrees by the 21:00 in 1994 at the UN delegates heard how that could be done.
The total global carbon budget over the century to twenty one hundred would be three hundred billion tonnes. Split that 50 50 between the industrialized nations and the third world and then divide that out based on each country's average emissions say back in 1990 and the size of the adult population that gave everybody a fixed share of carbon. And how long it took to use it up would depend on their rate of emission. That's when some people got a shock at her rate. Portugal for instance had 111 years worth. But even super efficient Japan only had 82 years left. The US would run out of her carbon emission rights in only 11 years. Look at Luxembourg and the rest of the industrialized world was in the same kind of trouble. The answer to this problem lay with the Third World. Large populations and lack of industry gave them tons of spare Koppen rights they didn't need. So third world countries with carbon rights they were never going to use could swap them with industrialized countries. Not for money but for things like reforestation programmes expertise and education programs alternative energy systems agricultural now and so on. And with this kind of deal everybody was a winner. The third world got to know how it could never otherwise have afforded and all the industrialized nations got the extra carbon emission rights they needed. In other words the industrial world bought time and the rest got the technology to leapfrog past fossil fuel use directly to the new generation of renewable energy systems and nobody broke the agreement nobody did business with them. So now you can have yourself a time table. The advanced nations cut emissions 75 percent by 2050 and the third world catches up with those levels by 2050.
I mentioned meds.
Here's the medicine to pay for a fund to help the Third World get started on this plan. Any time an industrialized country uses fossil fuel it pays an extra 6 percent tax into the fund. Well you can imagine how the first well-fitting here and the UN reacted to that proposition.
But after all they were the people who created the greenhouse problem in the first place. So when did they go for it.
No no no. 2000.
That. Decision until 2000 was actually seemed to trigger the beginning of a major change in the balance of power. And I suppose a long term change in lifestyle too because of the advantage the delay would give to the eastern Pacific Rim countries Taiwan South Korea Singapore and above all Japan.
Meanwhile why did it take the international community for six years to make up its mind. Because most governments ignored the key fact.
That the scientists had no doubt that the greenhouse effect would happen. They just didn't know exactly when and exactly how much.
But most of the world's politicians if you couldn't identify and quantify a problem you couldn't do anything about it. So most of them felt well to be fair some action was taken.
Reports were written. From 1994 to 1996. A lot of talk happened.
And then unfortunately reality intervened with a series of the worst droughts in living memory and the summer of 97 98.
The effects were devastating.
The problem was back then American grain fed most of the world and the Reserves usually lasted about 90 days. This time as the farmers began to fail the reserves went down to just 14. The price went up four times. Third world markets went on the rampage. Thousands of deaths by rioting followed by hundreds of thousands of death by starvation.
Then at the end of the century the problem shifted out of the Third World refugee camps and into comfortable west western living room.
In 1999 the US was stopped in its tracks by a third catastrophic drought that dried up all the rivers and water holes got Hoffecker trees farmers for the first time in history. The US was short of food.
It was perhaps no coincidence given the situation that the Pacific Rim led by Japan really started to flex their economic muscle in the political arena pushing hardest of all for greenhouse action. Because whatever happened they would win.
If the rest of the world decided to cut back on fossil fuel use and especially oil that would be nothing but good news for the Pacific Rim. Japan was four times as energy efficient as the West ready and only burning half the fossil fuel which had been burning 20 years before. So while the west retooled away from fossil fuel the Pacific Rim could grab the markets.
That may be one reason why the first full scale planetary management computer model was Japanese design.
Then events accelerated three major military confrontations in the Persian Gulf began to change people's attitudes to fossil fuel.
In 1999 multinational troops were back in the Middle East again.
And by this time the US was importing more than half the oil sheen which is why this was to be the turning point. In the whole story.
Squeezed between drought fuel dependence and political pressure the U.S. finally joined the international Greenhaus effort and that tipped the balance.
The way it was now clear for a new international agency that would tackle the twin problems of greenhouse effect and energy worldwide. So early in 2000 that agency the planetary management authority was inaugurated.
And yes you guessed it its headquarters we're here on the eastern Pacific Rim.
It had taken them 43 long years since that first greenhouse effect warning back in 1957. And that delay was to prove meaningful. But with the PMA up and running they can now get that planetary carbon budget going. So technology for carbon deals were going on all over the place. The U.S. with Burkina Faso Japan was around to Burundi Luxembourg with anybody. Economically backward totally unknown third world countries suddenly found themselves and their problems center stage. And their debts canceled.
The only reason the new PMA worked. Was because it was in everybody's interests. That's why from the start it was getting data from every major international source. So it was able to coordinate research and provide planet wide database access to everybody. So the dreaded greenhouse effect had succeeded in getting some action because it was a double opportunity for third world countries to phase out fossil fuel.
They couldn't afford anyway. For the industrial countries to develop alternate energy resources that would make them independent of oil. But before the end of that year they knew they were right when the PMA issued its first status report.
Produced by that new Japanese planetary management model.
You may recall the headlines archives to just report to the average global temperature plus 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit expected at three degrees by 2010 sea level plus one foot forecast repeated African droughts increasing tropical hurricanes rapidly growing global refugee problem. No accurate data yet on the deep ocean reaction to us.
OK time to move on.
Everybody in 2050 remember this beautiful Australian beach. For the worst possible reason.
Here in 2010 along the coast from the city of Darwin came the action that was to give this decade the bloody name it has in the history books. A pretty when you think about how well he'd been doing up to that point back in 2002 the first thing that PMA had done was to make the atmosphere Fund International and to pay for that.
The second thing they done was to put the wind up everybody about what those planetary forecasts meant.
You're throwing it all away.
So it. Just got.
Within one year the Western fossil fuel doubled and an international task force was formed to go all out for renewable energy systems and the public pent up.
Energy independence was a new catchphrase. The media campaign.
But the real trouble for most people with this great planetary plan approach was OK you cut back on the oil and the coal the gas. How do you stop the lights going on. Not to mention the economy.
Well there are two answers to that question that I'm standing on one of them renewable energy. This is a local mini scale hydroelectric dam. And there were thousands of potential sites for this kind of thing all over the world. You could even get one small enough to run your own home. Instant energy is zero greenhouse.
Here was another trick. Wind power over just the U.S. alone was equal to about 870 billion barrels of oil a day.
Matter of fact high tech windfarms like these would end up generating 10 percent of world energy needs at half the cost. And the country short of land. Put them out to sea. On the other hand. This was the stuff the third world had coming out of its ears back then. It's called bio. Stuff like corn and rice husks sugarcane above all dead wood.
Nature's garbage if you like. You pump up biomass and it makes great fuel. And if you grew plantations or fast growing trees on marginal land that was your fuel source. And if you replanted the trees as fast as you use them. They absorb the carbon you released by burning the biomass. And how about.
Dung. Don't laugh. All you had to do was leave it alone to ferment. It made fuel gas by the ton.
You could also get greenhouse free geothermal power from hot water and steam just by digging a hole in the ground.
Especially along the Pacific Rim. That's why China was able to cut back on coal so soon.
But by far the most promising renewable with solar power. Back then there were two kinds. This one is solar thermal power you reflect sunlight on the pipes filled with oil on the boiling hot oil then turns water into steam that turns a turbine and gives you electricity. On any scale from mega power to.
Zero greenhouse but because it needed direct sunlight its use was a bit limited. That's why we have these things all over the deserts in 2050.
Solar Cell Technology was a lot more flexible. All you need here is light. It hits electrons in the silicon So the electrons move. Basically that's electricity. And by 2003 they were mass producing strips of this stuff cheap. Power on any scale you chose no matter how remote the site. And because they also worked in cloudy weather you could use them all around the planet.
You cover land the size of Nevada with these things and they would generate enough electricity to meet the world's demand and no greenhouse. There was one other way to cut back without pay. And besides renewable energy. And that was to get efficient.
I know it looks quite green house energy.
Well it was just.
The irony was all the technology in here was already generally available to cut energy use in half. And that was quite a saving. Buildings were using the equivalent of OPEC's entire oil production every year and putting 900 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere in doing so. Crocket problem. And you could really drink to success. So take a look at some of the things they can do.
Even back then heated cavity was made in new high insulation materials. Modularized environment control hardware and all. RUN FROM YOUR OWN Energy management screen.
What will the weather be like here today.
This should show shower temperature give me Environmental Control on the ground floor of the house if the temperature.
Rises above that. Cool it down to that. And while you're at it close the blinds. Lying.
I now know why we're on the subject of Windows. You could have double glazing light sensitive film that would cut your energy budget by letting light in but not heat out all.
You could keep hot sunlight out like this or see it again. Speaking of hot light seen one of these.
It's an old 20th century incandescent. These things used to use 90 percent of their power making heat. The new warm light compact fluorescents that they brought in around 2000 lasted ten times longer. Was about a quarter of the power and put these things. Back on the museum because the new replacements saved fifteen hundred pounds of carbon emission at the power plant. And that was the trick. Energy efficiency saves you from having to build extra power plants and that cut back on greenhouse effect. Here's a perfect example. Back in the year 2000 these new fridge of a seven times more efficient than the ones before. Two hundred and fifty million of these in the third world would save you enough electricity to save you from having to build 90 billion dollars worth of coal power generating plant or 200 billion dollars worth of nuclear giving these away.
Cost just six billion. Made sense.
Well as you know all this caught on like a house on fire if you'll forgive the phrase new indoor amusements became all the rage like playing with your house close the blinds.
Face the Music. I said all the technology was all ready to you. So how do you get people to use it.
Well they gave the power companies tax breaks for giving this stuff to their customers. They doubled the price of energy to reflect its true social costs but with efficiency we're only using half anyway. And if you were efficient. You've got a cheap mortgage.
Meanwhile outside the greenhouse effect continue on third world coastlines.
You either got out of there or the hurricanes would kill you if you were one of the 13 million people in Mexico City you have no water.
Bombay was one giant epidemic in 2007. The BMA made family planning programs mandatory because cutting the population would cut back on energy use. Some third world countries ignored the rule until they lost their carbon trading rights.
From 2008. A dozen major tropical storms in two years rolled out of Bangladesh northern Australia the Caribbean and Florida wrecking everything in their path. And costing hundreds of thousands of lives. But that's not why I'm here in a graveyard. You remember that incident I mentioned at the Australian beach that was at the end of the decade when the refugee problem exploded in 2010. A total of 2 million people tried and failed to cross the militarized frontiers of the northern Mediterranean. The Mexican-American border and in the worst incident that beach Darwin went a quarter of a million Indonesians.
Many of them armed tried to come ashore along 20 miles of coastline. The Australians had no choice but to fire if fired upon which of course they were.
It took 12000 casualties swayed the boat people to go home and most of them never made it back home alive.
There are refugee graveyards like this all over Southeast Asia.
Meanwhile. If you still had a car.
Too bad. Governments began to copy what the Italians have done in Belgium back in the 1990s. They slept massive charges on anybody driving into the city. Mind you with traffic like this you didn't do too much of that anymore. And anyway with Timah communication costs dropping like a stone.
More and more people were already working from home coming into town only once a week or so. So the call wasn't the business essentially it used to be. So that cleared the way for another idea. You know very well in 2015.
Which was why the cities themselves began to train because those higher energy taxes paid for extensive new high tech underground mass transit system. Lead.
To. By this time the world was just beginning to look like our world. In 2008 a series of major accidents at nuclear power stations around the world brought the decision the nuclear phase out was probably a good idea. By 2009 carbon emission trading was already buying the third world expertise and technology transfer in eco agriculture industrial management power generation family planning reforestation.
The next PMA status report came out Pachuca's three degrees. Sea level has one foot two inches. Carbon Emission reduction on target technology transferred to the third world accelerating special relationships developing between America and Africa Europe Russia and South America.
China and Japan over two million deaths from starvation forecast high temperatures in Siberia Western Canada New Zealand continuing jobs American grain year increasing death by starvation more extreme weather temperature rise by 2020 expected at five degrees. There is still no news on the deep ocean.
OK the next decade 2010 to 2020 was when local energy systems really began to change things. In the industrialized countries. People started moving out of the cities to live and work in small communities. Some of the more developed small third world countries were becoming energy independent. For the first time ever. And with major advances in telecommunications like the new optical switching systems everybody uses today. Half the people in the West were not working electronically from their homes. In the country. So business travel was way down. So this guys went to work on changing to forestry was the coming thing and the cowboy was avenging Britain.
This was one of the new integrated mini Ronchi is well some people might call them a museum on account of the fact that this was the decade when we finally stopped eating beef. I mean only really seriously rich people do this in 2050 OK. Let's take a look at what was going on up to 2020.
The first problem concerns the most fundamental resource on the planet water. The old 20th century supply systems couldn't cope with the new conditions. Major rivers in Russia and the US ran dry. In the middle east. The country at the head of one river shut off supplies to the two downstream countries and they sent in fighter bombers to turn them back on.
Even Twentieth-Century high tech wasn't good enough. Now.
The flood barriers built back in the 20th century like this one in London were reaching that limit.
That same year there were thousands of miles of fever going up in Australia Bangladesh and Indonesia. And if you lived on some Pacific Islands.
You were already swimming. This was the other hot news from the ocean. Here's a PMA satellite view of the annual spring plankton growth happening and their trick was they sucked three billion tons of carbon a year out of the atmosphere kept the world cool.
Now with the temperature up they were dying off. So the carbon was staying in the air heating us up.
But the news was better from what used to be the frozen north. If you were a Canadian or a Siberian you'll grain output was rocketing.
And this year is nearly double over because for the first time the Arctic ports were free advice.
Here. In America and Europe.
By now they were losing whole regions of crops and forests to the heat. And in solar powered experimental labs like these emergency research programs were trying desperately to develop new strains that would grow in hotter drier conditions. They succeeded. That's when they developed the cactus potato. You love to hate in 2050.
I. Mentioned forestry That's because this really was a decade of the tree.
With the plankton gone from the oceans the forests were the only other hope for taking carbon out of the atmosphere that you could do much about third world deforestation was way down. And they traded their carbon emissions for some of the most advanced forestry techniques in the world. Techniques were changing what a forest was. Look. This is about to be a fancy trick. But not all of you may be familiar with because this is not what it appears to be down here. Coca plantation up there.
A pine forest. Grove Forestry is called over the third world it was taking the form of extractive reserves where do you find stuff like rubber palm oil coffee. Food trees. Coca. But you brought them inside the forest. So you get two bites at the cherry so to speak the forest.
And alongside this mix and match the straight eight hundred thousand square mile global tree replugged program that would eventually suck seven hundred eighty million tons of carbon emissions out of the air every year in every sense of the word as I said. Forestry had become a growth industry. Well. In some places.
It was. Particularly in South America where the PMA had its first military confrontation down here they'd been a vicious war gone for 50 years.
Ever since the local cattle barons have grabbed thousands of acres of farmland for ranches. In 2019 the PMA hit the governments involved with carbon trading sanctions backed up by an international sea and amp blockade. It worked. South-American land reform was forced through and the guerrillas started coming back out of the forests. And with land reform. Came the real end of deforestation. The 20:20 PMA status report was mixed news.
Well at least deforestation was now off the agenda just for 2020.
Plus 5.4 degrees and sea level plus to feed Western fossil fuel use down by half step in developing countries forecast major vegetation losses in the U.S. Europe and Russia continuing worldwide water shortages long term sea level rise. There is still no good data on the deep ocean reaction.
So those forests were finally safe but safe. Protected it must be said by the sky high taxes on beef that had already begun to shut down the Great South American ranchers. I always heard that put paid to the great American hamburger. And cut the meat from flatulent cows. OK one more stop before the modern world.
Get out there and let me just punch a man.
In China 200 million a. 50 million refugees in Bangladesh and a fifth of the country gone. Unfortunately most of the half billion people at risk worldwide from sea rise lived in the third world. Egypt for instance has lost half its industry. Under the North European manufacturing centers of either gone or their own stones. And if you own property in southern Florida.
Well now you don't blame it on breaking it up. Maybe I'm not get any Am I getting out.
The closer we've been getting to the mid-century target date the more the PMA has been trending out status report on the effect that there is a crisis management. Because. That's really what has been all along. And. You know the result.
It's cost 20 million deaths from starvation and floods. Fortunately it was just that one nuclear exchange in the Middle East.
They went through that 10 year recession after 2000 tons of fossil fuel coming back. But they came out of it with renewable power systems on the energy independence that gave every cut. Of course we still have local was ever going to put the worldwide conflict compact old oil dependence. They've gone for good. We've reached the fossil fuel cutback target. OK. Mainly because the PMA fits everybody's energy use. Now the big difference is in the way we live I suppose because the real international commodity now is.
Not that old 20th century Japanese history education really paid off.
Especially in the new China Japan Federation. But it really doesn't matter where you come. Down.
There's no way on earth you can be out of touch today. So most people live in small towns and it's. Self-sustaining is the buzz word these days. And as for how the world looks. Well the 20th century wouldn't recognize it. We've got a lot of forests. And Forest to solar panel.
Scotland wasn't always like this.
Nor was Kansas. Central Australia. Or the Riviera. Or even Massachusetts.
So. I guess all in all the PMA gets mixed reviews. But. What you would expect. It took 50 years to change people's habits. The hardest thing of all. Has been getting everybody to recognize. Our. Common. Interests. Come to think of it. In a Mongolia's still doesn't.
Is a real long term global So in fact the great house will turn out to be what it did to the old world when previously isolated communities all over the planet can plug into the world's communication systems and supplies education programs because now they have the technology in the form of local independent solar energy systems but give new meaning to the old 20th century say you remember power to the people.
Well here we are back in the real reality of 2015. I hope you were impressed by the magic machine here. He better be we're going to be needing to come out to the PMA data center and I'll show you what I mean.
You see what I meant about the virtual reality being as good as real reality you can't tell the difference.
Except. Real reality. We have to live with.
I mean of course the new forecast came out today in a way the purpose of this whole program has been to lead to it because they finally got the data on that deep ocean reaction. The reaction you recall is always going to take 50 years to carry through. So it does present a much happier man could have done about it. To live in my exclusive take a look.
This is the ocean circulation system called the Atlantic Conveyor. Normally warm gulf stream going up the surface of the Atlantic is evaporated by the winds up here. That makes it sort of salty heavier so it sinks to the bottom and pulls more warm Gulf Stream water north from the tropics to fill the gap and leave it behind. That Sinking mechanism drives the whole system along. Now just suppose the conveyor slowed down with less warm water coming north. The temperature should drop right. But the greenhouse effect has changed all the rules because now there's a massive amount of extra carbon in the atmosphere.
Every year. Nobody else is going down to the surface by that can be the gulf is dumped in the bottom of the ocean. What. Go down.
What because now it looks as if this is happening something is affected the conveyor. With the global change in the weather all that rainfall and melting sea ice have diluted the North Atlantic gulf stream. So it's now much less salty than it used to be.
The whole system has slowed down taking the carbon down leaving more. You have to warm up more. Over the next 50 years at least maybe twice as much. So you know what that means real carbon emission levels down to where they were in a time before the Industrial Revolution. I think we're going to be a public company and free. I want to be like.
You know crazy great grandparents from the 20th century would never have fitted in here with their uncontrolled. Do your own thing lifestyle. Too little too late all that good for us. But I suppose some good did come out of it. We have a world we take care of. A Pacific Rim world clean tech efficient renewable community conscious. Above all. Orderly.
Still it's a pity you can't rewrite history. We might have avoided so much. Especially those 20 years between 1980 and 2000. When all they did was argue about whether or not they wanted to tell you. I was thinking about that the other day. You know the is the one thing. The attitude that's going to sort of increase. It always reminds me of that joke about the fellow who falls off a skyscraper. You know.
I think it explains everything that's happened. For the 17th floor. And somebody calls out to ask him how he's doing. He shrugged. So far so good.
So the 20th century left the problem to us. And we knew so.
But it was one thing.
And it didn't. Matter.
James Burks after the warming has been made possible by the support of viewers like you with additional support from the W Alton Jones foundation.
This is PBS.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
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- Journalist James Burke reports from the year 2050, where humans and the Earth have survived global warming. Using an innovative device called the "Virtual Reality Generator," a computer effect that projects different environments on a location, Burke shows various scenarios of global warming and illustrates the potential effects of today's actions. Burke also addresses the impact of climate change on historical events (and vice versa).
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Director: Slee, Mike
Distributor: Maryland Public Television
Executive Producer: Eaton, Leo
Host: Burke, James
Producer: Sattin, Richard
Producing Organization: Maryland Public Television
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- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Maryland Public Television
Identifier: DB2-0094- 57212 (Maryland Public Television)
Format: Betacam Digital (Digi Beta)
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- Chicago: “After The Warming,” 1990-09-30, Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 21, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_394-65h9wd4r.
- MLA: “After The Warming.” 1990-09-30. Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 21, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_394-65h9wd4r>.
- APA: After The Warming. Boston, MA: Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_394-65h9wd4r