The Climate Question: Degrees of Change

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The Climate Question: Degrees of ChangeClimate Change has become one of the biggest, most complex issues of our time. And the warnings from some of the world's leading scientists are getting louder. But skeptics remain. Despite the data, many are unconvinced the science is on target.

So we ask: is climate change man-made and, if so, what can we do to stop it? From the crumbling ice caps of the Arctic to the shifting sands of the Arabian Gulf, Al Jazeera takes you around the world to see first-hand the impact mankind is having on our planet.

Against the backdrop of a major UN Climate Change Conference in Qatar, join Nick Clark as he looks at the efforts that have been made to address Climate Change, the failures of previous agreements and the challenges that lay ahead.

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Comments and User Reviews

  • Jeremy Hughes

    I was explaining the other night, to my mother, a person that believes whatever Fox news tells her, has no grasp of world or US history, and still has an iron belief in the religion hoax, the fact that we may as a species, have already have set in motion a series of events that could be innevitably leading us to our own extinction, at first she was wide eyed and skeptical, but after simply bringing up the ancient ruins of Long Beach tide pools, she finally seemed to admit that I was right, things have changed a lot, just in my life. When I was a kid, where I live in Norcal, winter snows usually brought us 6+ feet in the winter, we used to jump off our rooves every year into the deep snow. Now, for the last I dunno, 10 years or so, we have not gotten more than 6 inches, then it melts, and a few weeks later, some more inches, melt, etc. Every farmer I know claims that the seasons have changed forward by a month, this year they were still harvesting in NOVEMBER. THIS IS unheard of for our area, generally crops are pulled mid October.

    The worst part is even if the industrialized first world countries get their s*it together, the s*itheads will still just hide in third world countries with no local pollution laws and the game will continue.

    I used to think a world government was bad, but Sagan made me realize it's not, and the people pumping out mass propaganda against it, are really just warlords and a** holes realizing their time is up.

  • Abiezer Coppe

    This report, as with all others, seeks to confuse “Global Warming” with “Man-made Global Warming.” These are two very different things. I have yet to see a “scientist” prove that Global Warming is directly man-made – they cannot directly point to cause and effect. In fact, in “An Inconvenient truth” Gore uses the data the other way around. History shows us that the earth naturally warms and cools, without human intervention. I do not deny the possibility, but we need a real analysis of this problem without the obfuscation. However, Cap n’ trade gives away the true driving force behind the “Man-made Global Warming” theory is the continued transfer of wealth from poor to rich.

  • Slartibast

    " I do not deny the possibility, but we need a real analysis of this problem without the obfuscation"

    Real analysis? Pick up some books or shut up. It is more about a cognitive problem of understanding that foster denial. It is too obvious that this is about psycology.

  • Abiezer Coppe

    Psychology of what? I am prepared to believe that humanity has its role in warming, but lets not forget that the natural environment has a role too! There is no psychology in this report, it is based on emotional stimulus and response (to cuddly polar bears!). We can only make conclusions when we have all the information put forth in a balanced way. If only one side of the argument is ever put forward and when it is propaganda and how is that balanced? How will Cap and Trade solve anything, other than making the rich richer and pollute more? There seems to be very little in the way of a real environmental approach or solutions put forward.

  • Slartibast

    YThen it is lack of understanding what sciense is and what it does. And that is a psycological problem. Thinking it all are about politics and money when the heart of sciencebased knowledge is neutral to all that.
    It is about humans tendency and psycology, we are still natures childeren that have problem with the sciences.

  • Abiezer Coppe

    I agree, science is neutral. This program is not scientific, and hence not neutral. The very first words of the program are “The climate of Planet Earth is changing, the natural order is being turned upside down millions of people are at risk…” This is the type of political rhetoric that brought us the “Red scare” and the “War on Terror.” We need a Scientific approach, and this program is not it.

  • Slartibast

    We have been doing the scientific approach for 20 years and it has become a political/capitalistic/belief problem that people use money and resources to deny and you are influenced in that.
    This is not scare tactic, it is reality coming biting us. I have been reading science about this for 15+ years and this is just reality for me. I'm not scared or politically influenced.
    This is informing of what we think is coming or already is here.
    Understanding ecology and the different processes in nature tells us that we have a catastrophy (in number of dead and suffering) coming.
    Science in multiple disiplines agree and share the understanding, nothing new for those that have been working with these problems.
    Billions of people are going to die in direct consequens of human shortsightedness and lack of perspective outside of own lifes needs.
    The "red scare" and "war on terror" came from the same sort of people that suppport the deniers. The totalitarians, the right wing fascistic "capitalists" that have been influencing US' soul for decades.

  • http://www.facebook.com/richie.cahill Richie Cahill

    Half of republicans now believe in Global warming... the sea change cometh.

  • fonbindelhofas

    "However, Cap n’ trade gives away the true driving force behind the “Man-made Global Warming” theory is the continued transfer of wealth from poor to rich."
    thats the thing greedy fu.ks are negotiating and trading, have 0 to do with stoping pollution.

  • fonbindelhofas

    @Slartibast, Abiezer Coppe
    dont be so naive, do you really believe that major agendas did not infiltrate science? oh yes, it did, long time ago, 2 much
    money are at stake for those greedy fu.ks. for god sakes obama win Nobel Peace Prize and that tells us ALL about new scientific and intellectual community

  • Slartibast

    Science is not your thing I understand.
    With this type of "knowledge" and philosophy (or lack of any..) no wonder we are doomed.
    As someone said; maybe coming down from the trees was a bad idea in the first place

  • southab403

    The earth is definately warming. If it's purely natural cycle or us humans have contributed to it by speeding up the cycle, it's happening. There has been increased CO2 during other cycles of warming. Whether it's driving it or a concequence of it is what the whole debate is about.

    Carbon trade is a dead end deal. As we are talking about a global problem, preventing others to pollute their environment with development restrictions so we can put a check-mark in our "fight towards CO2 pollution" is totally bogus.

    As the world's companies and ecconomies are designed to thrive on growth and consumerism, I don't see a compromise happening soon. IF governments could be satisfied to feed, clothe and supply a decent living standard to their populace without having to send armies around the world, sanction weird trade partnerships where high quality material is basically given away (not available in country), while high volumes of crap quality stuff is sold to the home populace, maybe we could get a grip on this out of control system.

    Why does Canada sell the majority of it's high quality produce and lumber to the states, while importing tasteless produce from the US? I can travel to the states and find a fence package for 1/3 of the price and way better quality of wood than I can find at home here, and the wood came from here. Why is that?

  • PaulGloor

    Ok, here's the lowdown from my pattern seeking brain for all those who deny mans involvement.

    1. Population, aka 'growth': As human population increases, we need to feed, move and occupy ourselves and expand our living and production space.
    2. Energy expenditure: the majority of which is from fossil fuels, directly produces greenhouse and toxic gasses. Related directly to population above. More people, more use.
    3. Cleared land or otherwise destroyed habitat: Land which formerly processed surplus CO2 is no longer able to process as much, or in some cases, not at all in the case of desertification or building a concrete jungle. Directly related to both of the above.
    4. Environmental damage: Caused by toxic chemicals, damaged food web, migrating species like invasive plants, insects and animals, 'unexplained' weather patterns etc. further reduce the planets natural capacity for greenhouse gasses. Directly related to all of the above.

    Emissions increase, capacity decreases.
    You don't need god damned science to see a correlation here. I'm sorry, I just hate s*upid and s*upid is saying it needs more study when that's all that's been happening for the last what... 30 years ?

    Once you wrap your brain around that, start reading and observing and put the data together to see how it affects life, the food web and weather for yourself instead of taking it spoon-fed from some 'professional' dick with an agenda or subsidized paycheck.

  • PaulGloor

    Coming down from the trees was the hand that mother nature dealt us, and we took it up willingly. I'm sure shes having some regrets...

    Save the Twinkies !

  • http://www.facebook.com/koopernikos ???????? ????????

    climate change sceptics eh? anybody who is not sceptical is not a scientist. it is the very essence of science to be sceptical. as soon as you drop your scepticism you are not a scientist anymore

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomazzkosirr Tomaz Kosir

    Just to be clear... Quatar is not worth to mention about co2 emissions....

    USA:
    POPULATION : 314,838,000
    CO2 EMISSION : 5,461,014,000 TONES

    UROPEAN UNION:
    POPULATION : 503,492,041
    CO2 EMISSION : 4,177,817,000 TONES

    CHINA:
    POPULATION : 1,347,350,000
    CO2 EMISSION : 7,031,916 TONES

    Sooo to be clear... EU and China suck... BUT USA is mega-cowfart-breath...
    Why even talk about Quatar when its clear whichones really don't gimma Phukk?

    (Added by wiki info... Thanx Wiki!!!)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=644961821 Fabien L'Amour

    Oil producing countries are part of problem as they provide the petrol that is burned to produce a large part of the CO2 emissions. The Quatar production is at least 1.2 millions barrels per day. I agree they don't emit the CO2 but are a serious part in the chain.

  • http://1iotofoto.wix.com/otofoto oQ

    The whole world is part of the problem but the demand is what drives it.
    1i

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BYHC4RSPU2QLVZS6UX4GQ7NR7M AllanA

    Yes population is a direct cause of climate change. And increases in countries that are producers of CO2 gases are the ones that really need to curb population control, but that's so insensitive, isn't it?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BYHC4RSPU2QLVZS6UX4GQ7NR7M AllanA

    Thank you again Al Jazeera for another well done doc. You have done something that I see very few docs do on climate change, and that is give a voice to the young generations. Even though it was relatively short, at least it's a start.

    The naysayer in this doc needed to questioned better. He stated there has been no real change in Antarctic and he flat out wrong. I just saw a great doc and scientist that spent the winter there and the did report real change. The winter ice came very late and icebergs are melting and revealing the land underneath for the first time in history.

    Tried to find that doc, but can't at the moment. It was actually a really good doc from, I think Scandinavian scientists.

    I wonder when population reduction will become part of the climate resolution? I'm looking at you young generations..............

  • Dennis Nilsson

    In the BBC documentary "Earth.The.Power.of.The.Planet", among others, we learn about our planets history. It is that it has been hotter and cooler than today. And also that the sea-levels hav been higher and lower than today.

    The thing we have to do is to adapt our societies to the changing climate.

  • PaulGloor

    Just watched the doc you suggested, you forgot to mention that the other half of the documentary is all about humans and their impact on the climate. How, over geological time there have been severe changes in the earths climate and how they involved mostly meteorites and fire raining from the sky. And about how humans, who operate on a much shorter time scale, have been putting the cycles in danger. Yes, the earth can and will keep marching on until all the conditions that support life here wind down but it will take millions of years to recover fully.

  • hisxmark

    Free and endless space?! It costs about $10k to put one pound in orbit. That means a 150 lb. man costs about $1.2 million dollars. If he wants dinner it costs more. A pint of water weighs about 1.25 lb. and that comes out to $12.5 k.

  • hisxmark

    Well, if the arable belt moves north, it will be tightned. That means fewer people can be fed. Oh, sure! We could feed everyone now. But we don't. People will still be stupid and greedy, as the climate changes. And the climate is changing far more rapidly than it did in the past. And it is not just climate change. It is pollution, the vanishing fisheries, the acidification of the ocean and the rapidly collapsing marine ecosystems.

  • http://www.facebook.com/josephlinglee Joseph Lee

    Do you want to be the last person that survive a nuclear Armageddon? I sure the hell don't, because it will be a slow and lonely death...

  • http://www.facebook.com/josephlinglee Joseph Lee

    I wonder why Al Gore is so quite now....

  • a_no_n

    because after years and years of having to explain the same things over and over again to people too stupid/paranoid/deluded to accept the truth, he probably doesn't see the point anymore

  • a_no_n

    actually no...a scientist is a critical thinker...climate sceptics are not critical thinkers because they have to ignore vast swathes of evidence to form their conclusions!

  • http://www.facebook.com/roger.gordon.169 Roger Gordon

    How can you judge global weather climate by taking in account only 100 years? That graph the handsome women showed us is only just that short period so it is not relevant. And as Lawson said south pole is expanding. UN reports that CO2 levels in atmosphere have risen by 20% since 2000, So what CO2 content in atmosphere is only 0.04% there are other greenhouse gases like methane it traps 25 times more heat per mass unit than carbon dioxide. The Earth's methane concentration has increased by about 150% since 1750. Microorganisms breaking down difficult to digest material in the guts of ruminant livestock and termites produce methane that is then released during defecation.
    According to the International Erosion Control Association, which tracks overgrazing, the world's cattle herd went from 720 million in 1950 to 1.53 billion in 2001.
    In other words, a kilogram of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car every 250 kilometres, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days (New Scientist magazine, 18 July 2007, page 15 ).

    So maybe people should concentrate on more what they are consuming as food and how they are producing it.

    Today people should change their lifestyle and adapt to new realities so shifting to vegetarianism or at least slowly reducing eating meat to at most once a week as it used to be common before second world war.

  • Devon Griffiths

    I don't think its practical (or feasible) to have everyone go vegetarian - livestock are good for making use of marginal land that can't be farmed, so you would be losing a great deal of (local) food production, especially in areas lacking arable land. Plus, you would be driving species whose only crime is to provide for us, extinct, or nearly so.

    I do agree with a massive reduction of meat consumption back to pre-WW2 levels though. We shouldn't be growing crops to feed livestock. We should be grazing them on marginal lands where no crops can be grown, with only small food inputs for the winter months, such that we get back much more food than we put in (currently, we only get back about 10%). It takes too much food to feed these animals primarily with crops. We need that food for ourselves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/malte.schulzeboeing Malte Schulze-Boeing

    This is just propaganda. Yes there climate change exists but it is not due to CO2 emissions and there is nothing you can do about it.
    Why is it that all the planets in our solar system are heating up? And what is the suggested solution here? Cap and Trade? Not even your most extreme tree hugging hippies by into that, because it just a capitalists favored tax system run by guys who really dont give a crap about the environment, who just want to control the world.

  • dstrange

    Whether you believe it or not, atmospheric CO2 and the earth's temperature are nearly directly proportionate. The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the warmer the planet is. There are mountains of evidence to support it; archaeological, fossil, direct observation, etc. To say it is propaganda is just ignorant.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZMK6YNWJACHQ5CRCJW5TNYFURI KsDevil

    but the good news is that eventually, the problem will go away.
    First the oil will end, then natural gas will end, then methane will end, and finally, coal will bu all used up. That's pretty much all the carbon elements in the standard energy market.
    Once those are gone, the Earth will slowly soak up all of that carbon and climate change will return to more natural cycles.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=550355183 Jeremiah Mangrum

    I love how they argue against global warming, climate change, and activism for renewable/clean energy technologies and then turn around and spend millions spraying aerosols into the atmosphere in an attempt to "reflect solar radiation" back into space to combat global warming due to anthropogenic activities.

  • http://www.facebook.com/glen.hale2 Glen Hale

    Few Years ago we had Global Cooling.. follow the money will give you the answer..

  • http://www.facebook.com/craig.hartfield.56 Craig Hartfield

    I remember back in the 70s it was 65 degrees F in earlyJanuary Its all about picking money from your pocket. Back in those days we were supposedly headed for an ice age! There are plenty of alternative fuels to burn. Been for a swim lately.

  • a_no_n

    scientific understanding has matured...Science isn't like a religion, when something is discovered to be wrong, that thing is changed, hence why we don't call it global warming or think of it as an approaching ice age anymore, because we discovered it was more complicated than both of those scenarios in the nineties! You're only a couple of decades behind current thinking dear, not far to catch up on now!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cantankerous4ever Tom O'Brien

    Call it what you may, engage in heated dialectics over causation, indicate hypocrisy and contradiction, debate rates, duration, and extent of change; regardless, you have to be blind not to see that climate is changing and it is having and will continue to have significant consequences, Al Jazeera provides a visual, global overview and a necessary modicum of science to illuminate the effects of climate change. With desertification being the fastest expanding ecosystem considering how Earth will feed and water humans and other creatures is daunting.

  • Martin.Gorringe

    I've noticed the climate changing, right now it's freezing outside and last summer it was quite warm.
    Climate is always changing, over thousand year cycles.
    When it was heating up (that stopped 15 years ago) so was every other planet in the solar system.

    Al Gore and the corrupt IPCC can shove their carbon taxes where the sun don't shine

  • Al Scott

    Yes, the climate changes. Whether WE the People cause it? C'mon, smarten up.

    The issue is CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Except by charting the actuals, we discover that the rise in CO2 levels follows the rise of the planets surface heat by 600 years.

    So, I don't feel very guilty.

  • huskamute

    They always show the graph from last century, the peak of 1998 and forget the thousands and millions of years the earth been changing. It prob is happening, but not direct cause from fossil fuels, we still warming up from the ice age! And anyhow it aint the fuels you want to worry bout all the trees cut down citys built. (According to the ninth century Anglo Saxon Chronicle, the Weald measured 120 mi (193 km) or longer by 30 mi (48 km) in the Saxon era, stretching from Lympne, near Romney Marsh in Kent, to the Forest of Bere or even the New Forest in Hampshire.) Nearlly all gon now, I exspect all over the planet trees and woodland habitats cut down, and the trees breath in the carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.

    Also look up chernobyl the wolfs and other animals are doing great even in the radiation, just shows people towns citys, people taking over the land is much worse for the environment. Well things like rats do well spose lol as they adapt, they getting bigger stronger cleverer and immune to poisons.

  • huskamute

    Ks Devil so true. We only been round 100,000 years cant stop the earth unless GOD had anything to do with it! Better of to prepare for the worst. But instead it will be the more C02 in the air the more TAX collection are bloody fuel at £1.50 a litre.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.jacobson.507 Mark Jacobson

    Yes, but what if we're inducing an artifical or premature period of chaotic weather that threatens our own existence? not in 65 million years has there been such a high rate of extinctions. If we have a chance to clean up our act and be responsible for what we put into the atmosphere, ground and water then we should act quickly before it's too late.

  • Mark Bert

    The data? You mean the skewed data from thermometers sitting in the hottest places possible? Pollution is bad... yah we're doing plenty of that. CO2 has minimal affect on the climate, a little water vapor has much more influence. Get rid of these freaking nuclear plants. I suppose there is life that will adapt but very little, and you about the animals doing great in the radiation forgot to notice that they are living like 1/4 average lifespan.

  • sejn

    An idiotically false premise. There is no debate scientifically. This film is more lies from the same people who denied the negative health effects of smoking to further corporate profits.

  • L. E. Alba

    read "Merchants Of Doubt" or watch the documentary on Amazon or here pretty soon.