Global Warming – What You Need To Know

The Review by Big Cat Rescue:


Maria at Crew Creative sent Big Cat Rescue a pre screening of Global Warming – What You Need To Know and asked that we write a review. The two-hour special presents the facts and leaves it up to the viewers to determine their own truth about global warming.  This documentary was a heart pounding look at what we have done to this planet and the effects that we are reaping in our life time.  It presented the facts and the evidence to back them up in an engaging manner and opened our eyes to the body of science involved in coming to the conclusions that scientist now almost universally agree upon.  In the end we were still given hope if we start now to make the changes necessary to stop our destruction of the planet.  Click on the Play button > at the bottom left of the mini screen below to get an overview from someone who knows what a couple degrees in temperature can mean.

Big Cat Rescue Volunteer Reviews:

“A program like that should be shown in every school and on every tv around the world as it is about a matter that effects us all. The show tells us all the information we need to see that it is a real problem and it is happening right now. If we want a planet for future generations to enjoy we must use what we learn from this program to change the world around us now.”

Brian Czarnik


“I thought it did an excellent job of explaining a very complex subject and suggesting easy things the average person can do to help curb global warming.

I found that, just when a question popped into my mind (e.g. “What about the effect of developing countries like China on global warming?”), the documentary would answer my question.

I do think that — to be balanced — it would have been nice to give time to some scientists who feel there is no such thing as global warming, rather than saying 99% of scientists believe global warming is real and human-caused.  When I have heard the “anti-global warming” scientists speak, they generally discredit themselves — for example, they don’t believe in it because it conflicts with their religious beliefs.

But I was very impressed with the documentary.  It makes a very compelling case for global warming yet stresses that we have control over the future of the planet and still have some time to make positive changes.”

Patricia Massard


“I watched the Tom Brokaw special and was really disturbed. It was very compelling to the point that my next car may be a hybrid though it might not make personal economic sense today.

I thought it was a great eye opener and I am really glad they offered some hope at the end. The world has a big job to do in order to get everyone to help. People who are concerned about their own daily survival, will have hard time investing in something that has such a macro effect.”

Thanks for sharing this with us.

Denny Mitchell

The Facts:

The Facts About Global WarmingWHAT IS IT?

  • Global warming is the gradual rise of the earth’s surface temperature, thought to be caused by increased emissions of greenhouse gases (the “greenhouse effect”), specifically from human activities.  -Environmental Protection Agency
  • A mere six degrees of global warming was enough to wipe out up to 95 percent of the species alive on Earth 251 million years ago., Bristol University, The Guardian
  • The Sun provides the Earth with the heat it needs to support life, but a drop of only 1/10th of 1% of the amount of the Sun’s energy reaching the Earth can spawn an Ice Age.



  • The average temperature in the U.S. in 2005 was almost one degree above the 1895-2004 mean, which will make 2005 one of the 20 warmest years on record for the country.


-NOAA (based on preliminary data)

  • Of the top 20 hottest years on record, 19 have occurred since 1980.
  • Computer models suggest that average global surface temperatures will rise between 2.5°F  and 10.4°F by the end of this century, a rate much larger and faster than any climatic changes over the past 10,000 years.  -National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
  • Many scientists believe that temperatures are rising so fast, the Earth’s climate may reach a threshold – the tipping point – when there will be nothing we can do to ‘undo’ global warming.



  • In 1980, sea ice covered nearly 1.7 billion acres of the Artic, about the size of the United States. In the last two decades alone, the Artic has lost an area roughly twice the size of Texas. If the melting continues at this rate, computer models predict that by 2060 there will be no sea ice at all during the Artic summer.
  • One hundred years ago, there were more than 150 glaciers at Glacier National Park in Montana. Today there are fewer than 30.
  • The Patagonian glaciers at the Southern tip of South America have lost 10% of their ice in the last seven years.
  • If just the Greenland icesheet melts into the ocean, it could raise global sea levels by 23 feet over the next few hundred years. Coastal cities, including New York and London, would be completely flooded. Low lying countries such as Bangladesh – with much of its land mass at sea level – would be nearly wiped out.
  • Every year, nearly a thousand square miles of farmland in China turns to desert. Since the 1950s, the rate has doubled.
  • In a study of the polar bear population in the Arctic town of Churchill, Manitoba, along Canada’s Hudson Bay, the number of bears has declined from about 1200 back in the 1980s to less than 950 today.  This 22% decline is directly related to early break-up sea ice in the region.



  • Some scientists argue that the increase in greenhouse gases has not made a measurable difference in the temperature. They say that natural processes have caused global warming.  –World Book Encyclopedia
  • “There is no reason to believe that this 10,000-year-old cycle of solar-induced warming and cooling will change, said Dr. Sallie Baliunas, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “I believe that we may be nearing the end of a solar warming cycle. Since the last minimum ended in 1715, there is a strong possibility that the Earth will start cooling off in the early part of the 21st Century.” –National Center for Public Policy Research



  • Earth’s greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that helps regulate the temperature of our planet. The sun heats the Earth and some of this heat, rather than escaping back to space, is trapped in the atmosphere by clouds and greenhouse gases, keeping the Earth at a sustainable temperature for human life.
  • While many greenhouse gases occur naturally, human activities are adding gases to the natural mix at an unprecedented rate.
  • More than 5 million acres of Amazon rainforest are lost every year to loggers and farmers.
  • In the century between 1850 and 1950, human activities burned up 60 billion tons of carbon fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas. Today we burn the same amount every 10 years.
  • The United States pumps more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other country in the world. Each of us contributes about 22 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, whereas the world average per capita is about 6 tons.  – Environmental Protection Agency
  • Right now the U.S. makes up only five percent of the world’s population, yet we are responsible for a staggering 25% of the carbon dioxide that’s released into the atmosphere.
  • Unless we reduce emissions and develop new energy alternatives, the blanket of greenhouse gases that surrounds the planet will double in the next 50 years, and triple in the next hundred.



  • Alternative energy sources that do not emit carbon dioxide include the wind, sunlight, nuclear energy, and underground steam. Alternative sources of energy are more expensive to use than fossil fuels. However, increased research into their use would almost certainly reduce their cost.  -World Book Encyclopedia
  • Everyday steps:
  • High-efficiency appliances can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 450 pounds a year.
  • Recycle aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic, cardboard, and newspapers. Recycling can reduce your home’s carbon dioxide emissions by 850 pounds per year.
  • When running errands, combine trips so that you are not using your car for single-purpose trips.
  • Carpool: Leaving your car at home just two days a week will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 1,590 pounds per year. – Environmental Protection Agency
  • Turning the thermostat down three degrees not only saves money – it keeps one ton of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
  • If every American household switched just one traditional light bulb to a long lasting energy-efficient fluorescent bulb, it would be the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road.

Global Warming Timeline:

254 Million Years Ago

Global warming of just a couple of degrees at the end of the Permian era led to mass extinction.

55 Million Years Ago

A several degree warming period at the end of the Paleocene era triggered a mass extinction.

10,000 Years Ago

During the last ice age, the Earth was just 9-16 degrees cooler than it is today.


  • A Swedish chemist named Svante Arrhenius coined the term “greenhouse effect” when he hypothesized in an article that global temperature is related to the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide.


  • Climatologist Charles Keeling was the first to measure carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on a continuous basis, and he was the first to report that global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide were rising. His documentation was graphed, and became known as the Keeling Curve.


  • At this time, the science of global warming consisted of a few determined scientists whose predictions about the fate of our planet were either furiously debated or widely ignored.
  • The four strongest El Niños on record have all happened since 1980.


  • Temperatures in Chicago reach over 100 degrees and kill 739 people in five days.


  • Larson B is the largest expanse of ice on earth, located on the eastern end of the Antarctic Peninsula. This plate of ice has been in deep freeze for the last 12,000 years. During periods of warmth, parts of the shelf have melted away, and small icebergs have splintered from its edges. But in the summer of 2002, something unprecedented happens. A chunk the size of Rhode Island falls into the sea.
  • Northern China has been gripped with severe drought since 2002. China inhabits 21% of the Earth’s population, yet the country only has 7% of the world’s water.


  • More than 30,000 perish when a record-breaking heat wave grips an ill-prepared Europe.


  • January 1: Across Southern Australia, the New Year blasts its way into the record books. In the capital of Sydney, temperatures top 113 degrees. By the end of January, the most destructive brush fires in 20 years rage throughout the country, killing nine people.
  • August 29, 2005: Katrina is the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Gulf States, reaching speeds of 175 miles an hour and ravaging 100 miles of coastline. In only a few hours, the tourist town of Gulfport, Mississippi is nearly leveled by the category 4 storm. Nearly 80% of the city of New Orleans floods. Thousands are killed.
  • Australia recorded the hottest year on record.
  • The Amazon rainforests recorded the driest year on record.
  • The worldwide record for number of hurricanes is smashed with 28 officially designated storms, including the most deadly to hit the U.S. in nearly 100 years.
  • The Kyoto Protocol is ratified by more than 160 nations. It sets legally binding target dates for many industrialized countries to cut their global-warming emissions. Despite the United State’s role in drafting the treaty, the current administration has yet to sign the Kyoto treaty. Also reluctant to sign is Australia, the 14th largest producer of greenhouse gases, and the world’s largest exporter of coal.


  • February: The island of Tuvalu in the South Pacific saw the highest tide they’ve ever seen at 11 feet. If the oceans continue to rise, many of these small island countries will simply vanish into the sea.
  • April 16: A sandstorm blows more than 300,000 tons of sand on the capital of Beijing.
  • May: Canadian wildlife officials were astonished to find the first polar bear/ grizzly hybrid in the wild.
  • Glacier National Park in northern Montana is seeing the ice melt faster than at any time in recorded history. As the ice melts, more ground is exposed. That ground absorbs more of the sun that used to be reflected by the ice. As the ground warms up, the ice melts even faster.
  • The Great Barrier Reef experiences the third bleaching event in the last eight years. Three thousand individual reefs join together to cover more than 135,000 square miles of the ocean floor. Currently, the warm temperature of the water is preventing the algae from provided the nourishment and protection the corals need. The coral is repelling the algae, resulting in a colorless, dying coral reef.
  • Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere today are higher than anything we’ve seen in the past 600,000 years. Never, since human beings first walked the Earth, have carbon dioxide levels been this high. This shows that the present day climate is very unusual.


  • If temperatures continue to rise at their current rate, in 2100 the Earth may hit the 4-degree mark, known as the tipping point. This is the point at which Earth’s climate will reach the threshold of no longer being able to ‘undo’ global warming.


The Scientists:

A Selection of Scientific Experts from the Film

Dr. James Hansen
Chief, NASA Institute for Space Studies
New York, NY

Dr. Michael Oppenheimer
Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs
Princeton University
New York, NY

Dr. Stephen Pacala
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ

Dr. Daniel Nepstad
Ecologist, Amazon researcher
Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Research Center
Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Dr. Mark Serreze
Senior Research Scientist
National Snow and Ice Data Center
Boulder, Colorado

Dr. Greg Holland
Director, Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division
National Center for Atmospheric Research
Boulder, Colorado

Dr. Nick Lunn
Research Scientist
Canadian Wildlife Service
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Stephan Harrison
Director, Climate Change Risk Management
Glaciologist / Senior Research Associate
Oxford University Centre for the Environment

Bob Spicer
Professor, Earth Sciences
Director of the Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)
Open University, England

Professor Peter Cox
Science Director, Climate Change at
the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Exeter, England

Dr. John Hunter
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre
University of Tasmania, Australia

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg
Marine Biologist
University of Queensland
Queensland, Australia

Professor Lin Er Da
Agrometeorological Institute
China Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Hilia Vavae
Senior Meteorologist
Director of Meteorology Office
Tuvalu Island


The Press Release:


Special Takes Viewers Around the World to the Front Lines of the Research–

SILVER SPRING, MD – Discovery Channel visits global warming tipping points across the globe, talks to the world’s leading experts and examines the latest evidence to determine the facts about global warming in GLOBAL WARMING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. Produced by the global alliance of Discovery Channel, the BBC and NBC News Productions, and hosted by award-winning journalist Tom Brokaw, the two-hour special presents the facts and leaves it up to the viewers to determine their own truth about global warming. GLOBAL WARMING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW premieres Sunday, July 16, 9-11 PM.

“In the case of global warming, knowledge is more than just power – it is a crucial ingredient in how we choose to live our lives,” said Jane Root, EVP and GM of Discovery Channel, The Science Channel and The Military Channel, U.S. “As our planet evolves, Discovery Channel is there dissecting the science happening all around us into useful, vital information.”

GLOBAL WARMING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW will decode the buzzwords and arm viewers with an arsenal of clear definitions and visual depictions to explain the greenhouse effect, carbon dioxide emissions, CFCs, effects on weather and rising sea levels. Visceral CGI and cutting edge climate computer models will help viewers see into the future at a world significantly changed by unchecked global warming.

The special will take viewers to global warming hot spots where the planet is most affected by climate change – into rushing sub-surface rivers deep in Patagonian glaciers; into the drought-stricken Amazon; on coral reefs ravaged by rising ocean temperatures; into a massive Chinese coal mine, and many more.

The international team of experts, including NASA’s top climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, and Princeton University professors Michael Oppenheimer and Stephen Pacala, will discuss the current realities of global warming and predict the future of the planet. Many of the experts will address natural warming and cooling cycles going back 600,000 years, and discuss if the present warming trend is unnatural.

GLOBAL WARMING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOWwill demonstrate how much carbon dioxide the average American family produces and present a graphical timeline of global warming throughout history. Finally, the special will look at technical solutions, both great and small, from giant gas injection rigs in the ocean, to more efficient architecture in cities, to what the average American family can do to slow global warming.


GLOBAL WARMING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW is being produced for Discovery Channel by the BBC and NBC News Productions. Michael Mosley is the executive producer for the BBC. Carol Williams is the executive producer for NBC News. Paul Gasek is executive producer for Discovery Channel.

Discovery Communications is the leading global real-world media and entertainment company. Discovery has grown from its core property, the Discovery Channel, first launched in the United States in 1985, to current global operations in more than 160 countries and territories with 1.3 billion cumulative subscribers. DCI’s over 90 networks of distinctive programming represent 25 network entertainment brands. DCI’s other properties consist of Discovery Education and Discovery Commerce, which operates 120 Discovery Channel Stores. DCI also distributes BBC America in the United States. DCI’s ownership consists of four shareholders: Discovery Holding Company (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB), Cox Communications, Inc., Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, the Company’s Founder and Chairman.

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