I watched the first episode of the Years of Living Dangerously documentary. I thought it was very good. Quite powerful. It covered the drought in the US South-West which – as I understand from the Pielke Jr-Holdren debacle – has likely been influenced by climate change. It covered the link between the extreme drought in Syria and the civil war. It discussed how deforestation is having a significant impact on our emissions, something I hadn’t quite realised. It also spent quite some time focusing on how religion (and politics) is influencing people’s views about climate change. Katherine Hayhoe was involved in this part of the documentary and I thought she did a really great job.
I can see how some will howl about it being overly alarmist and others will claim that “there is no link”, often – it seems – by playing strawman games. Consider this article by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, which says,
But claims linking the latest blizzard, drought or hurricane to global warming simply can’t be supported by the science. Our warming world is, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, increasing heat waves and intense precipitation in some places, and is likely to bring more extreme weather in the future. But the panel also said there is little evidence that this warming is increasing the loss of life or the economic costs of natural disasters.
How does this paragraph even make sense? They use sentence three to support sentence one, despite sentence two largely contradicting sentence one. So, as far as I could tell, this documentary didn’t present anything that wasn’t consistent with the evidence and didn’t seem to be presented in a manner that was overly alarmist – although, maybe that’s my bias as I do think there are things to be alarmed about. Maybe it’s time to consider responding to those who claim something is too alarmist with “what, don’t you think people can handle the truth?”. Of course, I don’t think we should be using alarmism as a way of achieving some goal, but we also shouldn’t sugar-coat what the future is likely to hold.
Anyway, those are my thoughts, for what they’re worth. The first episode of the documentary is well worth watching and – if you did so – you could then make up your own mind about it’s merits – or not.