HBO's Award-Winning VICE Exposes Climate Deniers and the Dire Consequences of Sea Level Rise
The third season of the Emmy-winning news series VICE debuts today at 11 p.m. on HBO. The first episode covers the pressing issue of sea level rise. VICE Media founder Shane Smith travels to the bottom of the world to investigate the instability of the West Antarctic ice sheet and see how the continent is melting. Then, the VICE crew heads to Bangladesh to capture the impacts of rising sea levels on this South Asian country.
"From the UN Climate conference to the People’s Climate March to the forces that deny the science of global climate change," says HBO, "this extended report covers all sides of the issue and all corners of the globe, ending in a special interview with Vice President Joe Biden."
VICE is an innovative media company whose correspondents cover stories that traditional news outlets often overlook. HBO partners with VICE to produce the weekly series. And the season premiere has good timing because next week Robert Swan will take his 2041 team on this year's International Antarctic Expedition to show the firsthand effects of climate change on the continent.
"Antarctica holds 90 percent of the world’s ice and 70 percent of its freshwater," says VICE Media founder Shane Smith. "So if even a small fraction of the ice sheet in Antarctica melts, the resulting sea level rise will completely remap the world as we know it. And it is already happening: In the last decade, some of the most significant glaciers [in Antarctica] have tripled their melt rate."
Antarctica is getting all of this attention because if "it starts melting at the same rate as Greenland, we're in for trouble," says Smith. And yet, "in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence," says Smith, there's a small, but vocal group of climate deniers that have skewed public perception of climate science and stonewalled efforts to take meaningful action in addressing climate change.
VICE gets an inside look at these self-proclaimed "skeptics" at their annual International Conference on Climate Change hosted by the Heartland Institute, who are funded by the likes of Exxon Mobil and the Koch Brothers. As Upton Sinclair famously said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
Watch these two trailers to get a sneak peek at the season premiere of VICE:
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Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for 2020, the second-warmest year the globe has seen since record-keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA. Record-high annual temperatures over land and ocean surfaces were measured across parts of Europe, Asia, southern North America, South America, and across parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. No land or ocean areas were record cold for the year. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
Figure 2. Total ocean heat content (OHC) in the top 2000 meters from 1958-2020. Cheng et al., Upper Ocean Temperatures Hit Record High in 2020, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
Figure 3. Departure of sea surface temperature from average in the benchmark Niño 3.4 region of the eastern tropical Pacific (5°N-5°S, 170°W-120°W). Sea surface temperature were approximately one degree Celsius below average over the past month, characteristic of moderate La Niña conditions. Tropical Tidbits
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