Years of Living Dangerously

This new documentary on Showtime is pretty good (despite the appearance of Thomas Friedman), and this is the premiere episode.

One of the most interesting aspects of the show is that it emphasizes economic issues. The standard tactic of the climate change denialists is to argue that it’s happening, we can’t do anything about it, and it would hurt our economy to take measures to reduce emissions; but this show focuses strongly on the fact that climate change is doing us economic harm right now.

The denialists are, of course, squinking furiously against it already, but they lie. They lie hard.

By the way, Harrison Ford, one of the sponsors/narrator of the show, has also done an IAmA on Reddit lately — he seems to be a cool and admirable dude.


  1. David Wilford says

    There’s already a growing awareness of how a rise in sea level will impact real estate in Florida, where properties with water frontage are worth big bucks.

    While most residents in South Florida still have no worries that global warming could dramatically lower housing prices, land-use attorney Sam Poole has already developed a plan to sell his house in a low-lying Fort Lauderdale neighborhood.

    Poole has heard some scientists predict that the first financial effects are probably two decades away, and he wants to sell in about 10 years, well before panic sets in, assuming governments do nothing quickly to combat climate change.

    “I don’t want to wait too long,” he says.

    In fact, some leading South Florida scientists project the first effects are one decade away, not two, but Poole’s concern about sea level remains a rarity among homeowners in South Florida, where property values continue to boom in waterfront neighborhoods.

    There are hints, however, that the real estate industry is preparing for change.

    Len Berry, director of Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Environmental Studies, reports developers have quietly contacted the university to check out projections of how much sea level will rise in the coming decades as they look for future safe investments.

    William Hardin, a professor of real estate at Florida International University, says he’s telling students, “If you truly believe in global warming, you’re going to have an issue being in real estate in South Florida.”

    Read more here:

    Denialists will insist it’s as safe as houses, of course… :^p

  2. says

    That’s the thing about the upper-levels of income… they can pass off the harm being done and still rake it in. It hurts them more to stop screwing the planet up tomorrow, because they figure they’ll be dead and not have to worry about it. That their kids have to deal with it doesn’t matter either, because there will be enough money stashed away that they can get rich on the clean-up.

  3. scienceavenger says

    By the way, Harrison Ford, one of the sponsors/narrator of the show, has also done an IAmA on Reddit lately — he seems to be a cool and admirable dude.

    Despite being arguably the most commercially successful actor ever (and by a long shot), Ford doesn’t seem to have much use for Hollywood. He apparently flies in to make his movies, and then goes right back to his modestly build (relative to his wealth) house in Montana as soon as he can.

  4. nich says

    Harrison Ford did an IAmA? Hmmm…he is often featured on listicles of Most Difficult Celebrity Interviews. I’d figure he’d be the last person to do an IAmA but his answers actually seem genuine and thought out. I guess when you aren’t being paid millions to host a talk show and the best question you can come up with is “Could Indiana beat Hans in a fight?” he’s more approachable…

  5. says

    @4… yeah, that’s still true. From said AmA…

    I think we would all like to know: Who shot first? Han Solo or Greedo?

    I don’t know and I don’t care.

  6. unclefrogy says

    not exactly an uplifting film.
    the process of disruption of the population caused by the drought and the government’s response to it in Syria is echoed by the policies proposed by the conservatives in Texas.
    No need to do anything the market will solve the problem like it has in the past with boom and bust cycles works every time.
    it is unemployment payments that cause unemployment.
    we need to cut spending and cut regulation to free business and the market to solve the problems.

    I am glad I will unlikely see the middle of the century.

    uncle frogy

  7. Rey Fox says

    Despite being arguably the most commercially successful actor ever

    Remember that John Ratzenberger has been in every Pixar movie.

  8. raven says

    but this show focuses strongly on the fact that climate change is doing us economic harm right now.

    And more to come.

    1. Estimates are the USA will spend 1/2 trillion USD in the 21st century adapting to climate change.

    For the world, it is 15 trillion USD.

    These are just estimates. No one really knows too much right now.

    2. The first world rich countries will do OK. They have the money and technology. It is the poor ones that will get hit the worst.

    It’s looking like Kiribati, the coral atoll nation will be abandoning their islands in the mid-21st century. Already due to sea level rise and human activities, they have problems with salt water intrusion into their ground water supplies.

    AFAIWCT, the Egyptian government is planning to abandon the northern Nile delta, part of their agricultural area. Since the Nile doesn’t reach the sea, delta sinking, sea rising, salt water is moving up the delta steadily.

  9. says

    There were a lot of female names among the lists of producers, science advisors, etc. That was good to see.

    The Minister of Forestry seemed like he would fit right in with far-right politicians in the USA: say one thing, do another — and always act on the side of the big corporations.

  10. raven says

    author of the sea level chapter for the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. … highest climate change scenario is 52 to 98 centimeters (20 to 38 inches.)

    Sea level rise is going to be a problem but probably no where near as bad as we once thought.

    1. The latest IPCC report is projecting 52-98 centimeters, end of 21st century. This is down from their 1 to 2 meters.

    2. The real problem isn’t sea level rise per se, but sea level rise with a high tide and huge hurricane storm surge. Like what happened with Sandy in NYC and New Jersey.

    3. We have a poor understanding of what will really happen though.

    4. The failure of the polar vortex sent record cold down to the USA, a miserable winter for many. Some models predict this, some don’t. One researcher says we need ten years of data to know. Well, that isn’t going to be very useful.

    The point is, this could end up being the new normal for the northern hemisphere, colder winters, hotter summers.

    5. California with 38 million people is in a record 3 year drought. Things are past desperate. Seems like every drop of rain has multiple interests claiming it.

    Same with the Colorado river basin.

    And this is predicted by the models, i.e. rain fall belts will move north.

    The entire world is doing one giant experiment and we are going to find out the outcome as it happens.

  11. atheistblog says

    PZ, You missed other important points other than Thomas Friedman.

    katherine heigl, so called freaking Climate Scientist, has to say in this video, of course God is in control. I am evangelical, I am good christian. Well, it’s easy for her, a PhD Scientist to see the man made Green House Effect, but how in the hell a uneducated red neck gonna understand when she says god is in control, but in this on trust me, I am Climate Scientist, other than that God is in control. WTF ?!
    I bet katherine heigl is all for banning all other conservatives belief except climate change.
    Don’t you see the problem ? When she and fellow red neck accept god is in control, why red necks has to listen to her when someone other red necks say they speak words of god ? Frigging idiotic.
    And next thing, don’t go to Indonesia, come and Cascades, and Rockies, look at Washington state and look at all other National Forest lands, frigging deforestation in our federal government controlled land.
    I am tired of this frigging christian culture. There is so much wrong in culture of Christianity, if its not for natural resources and wealth, chritian culture is no better than any middle eastern culture or other underdeveloped countries religious culture.

  12. says

    “Despite appearance of Thomas Friedman”

    Actually, I thought he did a commendable job here. He’s in the opining with wit business, and while we can complain about some of his opining, he tends not to be wholly boorish about it — he ain’t no creationist.

    And on this topic, he contributes. Keep him in the tent, pissing out.