Aired Tuesday October 21st, 2008 at 8:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
This program was screened at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21st at the Salt Lake City Main Library. Learn more!
For years, big business - from oil and coal companies to electric utilities to car manufacturers - has resisted change to environmental policy and stifled the debate over climate change in America and around the globe. Now, facing rising pressure from governments, green groups and investors alike, big business is reshaping its approach to the environment and responding to the Earth's looming environmental disaster. With the election looming, FRONTLINE producer Martin Smith investigates what some businesses are doing to fend off new regulations and how others are repositioning themselves to prosper in a radically changed world.
FRONTLINE: HEAT, part of "PBS Vote 2008" election coverage, confronts the defining story of our time in a two-hour FRONTLINE investigation airing Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008, from 8 to 10 p.m. on KUED-Channel 7. In addition, KUED will host a special screening and panel discussion around FRONTLINE "Heat" that night at The City Library at 7 p.m.
"I have reported on the Cold War, the breakup of the Soviet Union, the rise of Al Qaeda, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," says Smith. "But nothing matches climate change in scope and severity."
The world needs to dramatically cut the carbon emissions responsible for wreaking havoc on the planet's climate, according to Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, whose organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), shared last year's Nobel Peace Prize. "If we don't take action immediately, we face a crisis," Pachauri tells Smith. "Climate change is caused by human actions, and we need to do something about it. The sooner we realize that, the better."
With that sense of urgency in mind, Smith traveled to 12 countries on four continents to investigate whether major corporations and governments are up to the challenge. HEAT features in-depth interviews with top policy-makers and with leading executives from many of the largest carbon emitters from around the world, including Chinese coal companies, Indian SUV makers and American oil giants. The report paints an ominous portrait. Despite increasing talk about "going green," across the planet, environmental concerns are still taking a back seat to shorter-term economic interests.
According to Dr. Pachauri of the IPCC, the onus is on the developed world to lead the way. In the campaign trail, both Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama have announced their plans for a new energy policy that will cut carbon emissions. Optimistically, they suggest that the "greening" of American business heralds a new era of sleek technologies and opportunities for innovation. What they tend not to emphasize is cost and, on the part of every consumer, sacrifice.
In his interview with FRONTLINE, California's attorney general, Jerry Brown, reminds Smith that it won't be easy. "Our wealth, our society, our being is driven by oil and carbon. It's intellectually dishonest to somehow say we can get some light bulbs or get a Prius, and then we're all done. No, this is going to take massive technological innovation. It's going to take changes in the way we live and work. And it's going to take cooperation of unprecedented degrees among business and government and among countries. That's where we are, and that's why there's no other word except 'daunting.' I'm hopeful. I'm cautiously optimistic. But I would have to say one has to approach this with great humility."
To supplement the broadcast, UtahNOW is airing "Turning Down the Heat" on Friday, October 17, at 7:30 p.m. The special explores innovative strategies that Utah individuals, companies and agencies are using to reduce their carbon emissions. Guests will include company and government representatives, as well as local environmentalists who are reshaping the community's approach to the environment.
The screening and local program are made possible in part by a grant from FRONTLINE and local funders.
Array ( [area] => pressReleases [action] => details [id] => Mjk5 )
Array ( )