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Climate Wars
(3)New Challenges jw
18 Nov 2009 at 09:30p.m.

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Today, the scientific debate over whether global warming is happening is all but over. Even many die-hard sceptics now concede that the planet is getting warmer, and humans are largely to blame. But there are still many unanswered questions.

This film investigates why there is so much confusion over what changes global warming is going to bring, and why this has led to uncertainty over what should be done about it.

Understanding how the climate works, and predicting how it will change in the future, is one of science's greatest challenges. Iain discovers how, 60 years ago, scientists began their experiments with little more than a dishpan, a Bunsen burner and a turntable. Today they rely on massive super-computers to model the effects of greenhouse gases on the climate. But still they struggle to understand the complexity of the climate system.

Journeying to Greenland, we meet scientists who are trying to fill in the gaps in the climate models. We also discover how scientists are becoming increasingly concerned that their models are underestimating the speed of changes already under way.


Climate Wars
(2)Fight Back jw
11 Nov 2009 at 09:30p.m.

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Dr Iain Stewart investigates the counter attack that was launched by the global warming sceptics in the 1990s.

At the start of the 1990s it seemed the world was united. At the Rio Earth summit the world signed up to a programme of action to start tackling climate change. Even George Bush was there. But the consensus didn't last.

Iain examines the scientific arguments that developed as the global warming sceptics took on the climate change consensus. The sceptics attacked almost everything that scientists held to be true. They argued that the planet wasn't warming up, that even if it was it was nothing unusual, and certainly whatever was happening to the climate was nothing to do with human emissions of greenhouse gases.

Iain interviews some of the key global warming sceptics, and discovers how their positions have changed over time.


Climate Wars
(1)The Battle Begins jw
4 Nov 2009 at 09:30p.m.

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In the early 1970's scientists warned that we faced a new ice age. Now theyre convinced the greatest threat to civilisation is global warming. In between times V and until very recently V confusion has continued to reign in the issue of climate change.

This authoritative series travels the globe to chart this astonishing scientific turnaround, and shows how we know what we know. Over three episodes V The Battle Begins, Fight Back and Fight for the Future V it explains how we became aware that climate change was happening, examines the proof that it is a man-made problem and asks how close we are to the point of no return.

First episode of Climate Wars, Dr Iain Stewart traces the history of climate change from its very beginning and examines just how the scientific community managed to get it so very wrong back in the Seventies. Along the way he uncovers some of the great unsung heroes of climate change science, and introduces us to a secret organisation of American government scientists, known as Jason, who wrote the first official report on global warming as far back as 1979.

He shows how - by the late 1980s - global warming had already become a serious political issue. It looked as if the world was uniting to take action. But it turned out to be a false dawn. Because in the 1990s global warming would be transformed into one of the biggest scientific controversies of our age.



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