In an eye-opening report, NOVA shines light on how and why people across the U.S. and the world are “going solar,” using the sun’s energy to power homes, businesses and even whole communities. But can an individual consumer really make a difference by adopting solar power? And will solar technologies ever make a significant impact on the accelerating energy demands of the global economy?
In the 1970s, at the height of an energy crisis, solar power looked like the trend of the future; President Carter even installed solar panels on the White House. But then, as oil and gas prices dropped, solar lost ground and failed to make a significant contribution to the nation’s power grid.
Now, with rising energy needs and wars in the Middle East once more pushing energy prices higher, the question arises: Could it be time to take solar energy seriously? In “Saved by the Sun,” NOVA shows viewers how innovative technologies, new business models, financial incentives and grassroots concerns about climate change are driving a renaissance in solar energy around the world.
NOVA “Saved by the Sun” examines the future of solar energy and the provocative mix of scientists, economists and ordinary citizens who are pushing the envelope of solar power’s untapped potential.
At 9 p.m., FRONTLINE hits the topic of global warming head on with a segment entitled “Hot Politics,” where FRONTLINE and the Center for Investigative Reporting go behind the scenes to explore how bipartisan political and economic forces prevented the U. S. government from confronting what may be one of the most serious problems facing humanity today. The film examines some of the key moments that have shaped the politics of global warming.
“The way it happened was the equivalent to flipping the bird, frankly, to the rest of the world … on an issue about which they felt so deeply.” That is how former New Jersey governor and the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Christine Todd Whitman describe the U.S. withdrawal from the Kyoto agreements in “Hot Politics.”
As more and more Americans look for a response to the realities of climate change, FRONTLINE correspondent Deborah Amos investigates the political decisions that have prevented the United States government from confronting what is one of the most serious problems humanity faces today.
In February, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that global warming is “unequivocal” and asserted with 90 percent confidence that greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide (CO2), from human activities, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, are the main cause.
Yet, as correspondent Amos reports, since 1992 — from when then-president George H.W. Bush insisted that the first world climate change treaty make CO2 emission targets voluntary -- to former President Bill Clinton’s failure to pass a promised broad-based energy tax or to push for U.S. Senate ratification of the Kyoto treaty to President George W. Bush’s 2001 reversal of a campaign pledge to push for mandatory limits on CO2 emissions and his complete withdrawal from the Kyoto process — the executive branch of the U.S. government has failed to join in the climate-change agreements that much of the rest of the world has chosen to adopt.
NOVA’s “Saved by the Sun” airs Tuesday, April 24, at 7 p.m. FRONTLINE’s “Hot Politics” airs at 9 p.m. that same night.
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