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APRIL 13 | SUN 10PM
MICHAEL C. HALL
It’s the biggest story of our time. Hollywood’s brightest stars and today’s most respected journalists explore the issues of climate change and bring you intimate accounts of triumph and tragedy. YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY takes you directly to the heart of
the matter in this awe-inspiring and cinematic documentary series event from Executive Producers James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger. YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY premieres Sunday, April 13 at 10PM ET/PT – only on SHOWTIME®.
Each correspondent delves into a different impact of climate change – from the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy in the New York tri-state area to political upheaval caused
by droughts in the Middle East to the dangerous level of carbon emissions resulting from deforestation. The project will portray the current and intensifying effects of climate change on everyday Americans and demonstrate how they can take action and be part of the solution.
YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY will combine the blockbuster storytelling styles of Hollywood’s top movie makers, including James Cameron and Jerry Weintraub, with
60 Minutes ’ Joel Bach and David Gelber’s reporting expertise, to reveal critical stories
of heartbreak, hope and heroism as the race to save the planet continues.
When it comes to our warming climate, Americans are suffering from a lack of public engagement and vocal leadership to convey the real story. In collaboration with the
YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY team, Vulcan Productions will create a public engagement campaign to educate and activate audiences around the country. Leveraging the momentum of the series and using tools and information on a dynamic series website,the campaign will empower everyday people to connect with leaders and to encourage them to share where they stand on climate issues. The National Wildlife Federation will create an expansive educational program. To learn more about how to get involved, visit: www.yearsoflivingdangerously.com.
CORRESPONDENT: ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
Arnold Schwarzenegger joins an elite team of wild-land firefighters as they battle a new
breed of forest fire, one made more deadly by climate change. And he discovers another
killer, one wiping out trees at an even faster rate than forest fires.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Pocatello, ID; Driggs, ID; Missoula, MT; Superior, MT
CORRESPONDENT: MATT DAMON
Matt Damon takes us on an investigation of the impact of extreme heat and heat waves on human health and mortality. Rising temperatures are a silent killer of thousands, tens of thousands and perhaps even hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. With a focus on startling new research from leading scientists, epidemiologists and investigators from the Centers for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency and UCLA's Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, MERCURY RISING reveals the way that climate change and rising temperatures are becoming a public health emergency – locally, nationally and globally.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Atlanta, GA
CORRESPONDENT: HARRISON FORD
YEARS correspondent Harrison Ford travels to Indonesia to investigate how corruption, illegality and the world’s seemingly unquenchable appetite for palm oil have combined to ravage the landscape and make that country one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases through deforestation.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Java, Sumatra and Borneo, Indonesia; Mountain View, CA; Sunnyvale, CA; Los Angeles, CA
AGAINST THE WIND
CORRESPONDENT: AMERICA FERRERA
Renewable energy, once considered too expensive to deploy on a large scale, is making major inroads in the United States. To traditional energy producers, the shift to cleaner energy sources such as wind and solar represents a threat to their interests in the market. Through a network of well-funded political organizations, fossil fuel interests are battling to shut down renewable energy standards in the states. Correspondent America Ferrera profiles prominent climate skeptic James Taylor of the Heartland Institute as he crusades against clean energy, and investigates the battle over the future of renewable energy in the U.S.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Beaumont, KS; Topeka, KS; Denver, CO; Little Rock, AR; Las Vegas, NV; Manchester, NH; Lancaster, CA; Washington, DC; Santa Monica, CA
“Everybody thinks that this is about melting glaciers and polar bears…
I think that's a big mistake.
This is 100 percent a people story."
“You’ve got to bring dramatically to people’s hearts and minds an
understanding of what’s going on out there and the rate of change,
or it’s all going to be gone. And we’ll have no place to live.
Our kids will have no place to live."
CHRISTIE AND THE STORM
CORRESPONDENT: MARK BITTMAN
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation of his state’s coastline, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie rushes to rebuild as quickly as possible while steadfastly refusing to discuss climate change. Christie used to acknowledge the scientific consensus on man-made climate change. The New York Times columnist Mark Bittman wants to know why Christie
has changed his tune, and what are the stakes involved in ignoring the issue as New Jersey rebuilds for the future?
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Union Beach, NJ; The Netherlands
CORRESPONDENT: CHRIS HAYES
When Superstorm Sandy killed 24 people on Staten Island, Congressman Michael Grimm worked night and day to help constituents who lost loved ones and were left homeless by the storm. In Sandy’s wake, Grimm, a conservative Republican, didn’t believe humans have much to do with global warming. Correspondent Chris Hayes follows Grimm for a year to see what he can do for the residents of Staten Island – and what he might learn about climate change.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Tottenville, NY; Washington, DC; Greenville, SC; Racine, WI
CORRESPONDENT: M. SANJAYAN
When you’re the lead scientist of one of the country’s most well respected environmental organizations – a group addressing climate change – you want to see the proof firsthand. M. Sanjayan travels to the ends of the earth to question some of the top climate scientists in their field as they collect key data unlocking the past and future of our planet’s changing climate.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Tupungatito, Chile; Christmas Island, Kiribati; Hawaii; Maine;
Las Vegas, NV
CORRESPONDENT: THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
The Pentagon has long seen climate change as a “threat multiplier,” a “stressor” that can take a volatile political situation and push it over the edge. YEARS correspondent Thomas L. Friedman witnesses this effect in three Middle Eastern countries: Egypt, Syria and Yemen.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Yemen; Egypt; Syria; Turkey; UK; Kansas; Washington, DC
PRAY FOR RAIN
CORRESPONDENT: DON CHEADLE
Last year, Cargill, the largest privately-held company in the U.S., closed down its huge
meat-packing plant in Plainview, TX. The company said that because of the drought
there just weren’t enough cattle to make it worthwhile to keep the plant open. Don
Cheadle visits Plainview and finds that most people blame the record heat and drought
on the will of God or say it’s part of a natural cycle. Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and Evangelical Christian, has a very different explanation.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Lubbock, TX; Plainview, TX; Portales, NM
CORRESPONDENT: JESSICA ALBA
Can a handful of intrepid business school students create lasting solutions to climate change? The Environmental Defense Fund thinks so. That's why they've set up an innovative program called Climate Corps. Each year one hundred of the country's brightest MBA students are tapped to spend their summer embedded with major corporations, analyzing energy waste and efficiency – and then they propose solutions that often have a major impact on both the planet and the bottom-line costs. Superstar Jessica Alba, an entrepreneur herself, meets three members of Climate Corps and is astonished by the results.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Boca Raton, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA
UNDER THE ICE
CORRESPONDENT: LESLEY STAHL
No place on earth has seen the effects of global warming more than the vast mineral-rich Arctic. As the ice melts, oil companies are scrambling to drill vast quantities of oil and gas that used to be shrouded by impenetrable layers of ice. But what happens to the planet if the oil companies get their way and extract the Arctic’s riches? Correspondent Lesley Stahl goes to Greenland to investigate.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Greenland; Kiruna, Sweden; Washington, DC; New York, NY
THE FUTURE IS NOW
CORRESPONDENT: MICHAEL C. HALL
By 2050, experts predict, the migration of upwards of 150 million people worldwide will be the single most worrisome impact of our climate-changed future. From LA, where he’s relatively safe from these predictions, Michael C. Hall journeys to the low-lying deltaic country of Bangladesh, where the future is now. Rising seas are expected to submerge 17% of this nation, the worlds’ most vulnerable to climate change.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Los Angeles, CA; Bangladesh
“I am doing this because I’m interested in the subject matter of climate change, and I believe it’s real. I believe that the impacts are significant
and that we need to do something about it and try to get in front of the issue. I’m hoping we can learn about building a bridge and figure out how to
speak to people whose ideologies are divergent, so it’s not them against us,
but it’s really us against an issue."
“I am here in a very real world with no character to hide behind.
It is a very different assignment."
CORRESPONDENT: MARK BITTMAN
Natural gas is being touted as “America’s energy source” and a way towards a cleaner, greener future. Correspondent Mark Bittman conducts a year-long investigation to see if that’s true.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Wilmington, NC; Boulder, CO; Ft. Lupton, CO; Ithaca, NY; Vernal, UT; Conway, AR; Washington, DC
CORRESPONDENT: OLIVIA MUNN
Jay Inslee was a leader on climate change in the U.S. House of Representatives. A year ago, he was elected governor of Washington, in part because of his commitment to addressing climate change. As governor, he’s facing a well-financed campaign by the coal industry to build export depots that could ship 100 million tons of coal to Asia each year. Correspondent Olivia Munn profiles the nation’s most climate-conscious governor and reports on what he’ll do about the coal export depots.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Seattle, WA; Olympia, WA; Whatham, WA
CORRESPONDENT: IAN SOMERHALDER
The father: a megachurch preacher who doesn’t believe in climate change. The daughter: an activist trying to shut down the local coal-fired power plant. The daughter’s hope: to eventually convince her father that global warming is happening, and even, just possibly, see if he’ll make it the topic of his next sermon. Correspondent Ian Somerhalder listens in on both sides of the evangelical community’s debate over climate change.
SHOOT LOCATIONS: Asheville, NC; Charlotte, NC; Apalachicola, Fl
OVER THE EDGE
CORRESPONDENT: CHRIS HAYES
Before Hurricane Sandy hit their low-lying seaside community, life was already tough for many residents of Far Rockaway, a poor neighborhood on the margins of New York City. In the wake of the storm, some found themselves pushed over the edge. MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes goes on assignment in this intimate story about life after Sandy.
SHOOT LOCATION: Far Rockaway, Queens, NY
“It is hard for me to imagine half the trees in the American West gone in the next few decades, and it’s scarier still to realize that the more trees we lose,
the faster global warming will speed up.”
How did you get the YEARS’ correspondents
to come together for this project?
DANIEL: We were very selective about the celebrities and journalists we approached for this project. We didn’t want famous people doing cameos – we wanted people who had an authentic commitment to the environment who could bring their own insights to help us tell the story. Then we gave them an opportunity to do something that most of them hadn't done before, which was go into the field as correspondents.
JOEL: Our correspondents were enthusiastic about
the opportunity to work on the series to shed light on issues that are important to them, as made evident by the dedication of these correspondents to combating climate change in their work both on screen and off. For example, Harrison Ford is a Conservation International Board Member; Matt Damon is
Co-founder of Water.org; Don Cheadle is a UN Environmental Program Global Ambassador; and
Ian Somerhalder is the Founder of his namesake organization that is driven to educate and engage youth, particularly as it relates to the environment.
You traveled the globe to film this docu-series. How did you determine which areas to investigate and why?
JOEL: Before we shot a frame of video, we spent a full year researching potential stories, talking to leading climate scientists and developing leads and sources. Once we had several dozen candidates, we winnowed the stories down by what would be the most compelling and drive the most impact. The location was then determined by wherever the story was best told. At the end of the day, about two out of three stories take place in the U.S., so our hope is to further the conversation around climate change at home as well as abroad.
How do you think climate change deniers or skeptics will react to YEARS?
DANIEL: Throughout the development of YEARS,
we've been respectful of all points of view around
climate change. On screen, we feature citizens
honestly expressing their questions and trying to figure it all out, often in the midst of dramatic personal strife. honestly expressing their questions and trying to figure it all out, often in the midst of dramatic personal strife. While I’m convinced by the research and evidence that climate change is real, human caused and that we need urgent action, we don’t just want to attract viewers who agree with this. YEARS is a show for everybody.
Is there hope that people will pay more attention
to climate change and its impact after viewing
DANIEL: Yes. YEARS is our effort to invite Americans, and others around the world, to take a fresh look at climate change so they can truly understand – with their hearts as well as their minds – the profound stakes, the unmistakable urgency and why they
need to lead their leaders to do the right thing.
DAVID: The goal of YEARS is to galvanize a national conversation on the realities of climate change and inspire people to share their own stories and empower them to get involved in solutions. We’re also implementing an engagement campaign that will extend this effort beyond the broadcast to encourage our global leaders in politics, business and religion, as well as concerned citizens, to state where they stand on key climate issues and take action.
Temperature records clearly show that the Earth
has continued to warm over the past century. A 2010
study included ten key fingerprints of human-caused warming, and each fingerprint is moving in the direction expected of a warming globe.
Hasn’t global warming stopped since 1998?
The latest scientific research makes it clear that surface temperatures are continuing to rise. Global records indicate that 2010 was the hottest year on record, and the 2000s were the hottest decade on record. As nearly 90% of all global warming ends up
in the ocean, observations taken there further illustrate that global warming continues at
a rapid pace.
Doesn’t recent cold weather disprove
A short-term cold spell says nothing about the long-term trend of increasing global temperatures.
The normal ups and downs of weather can make it hard to see slow changes in climate. To find climate
trends you need to look at how weather is changing
over a longer period of time. Observing high and low temperature data from recent decades demonstrates that new record highs now occur nearly twice as often as new record lows.
Is there evidence that carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming?
Without greenhouse gases, like CO2 and water vapor, the Earth's surface would on average be 60°F colder than it is now. Humans are adding CO2 to the atmosphere at an unprecedented pace, mainly by burning fossil fuels. There are multiple lines of evidence that point to increased CO2 as the cause
of rising temperatures. As a 2009 NOAA-led report by
the U.S. Global Change Research Program noted,
only the increase in manmade CO2 and the greenhouse effect can explain the rate and magnitude of recent surface temperature warming, the observed atmospheric profile of warming, the observed changes in ocean heat content, and the increased levels of atmospheric moisture, to name a few. The major 2013 summary report and literature review by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that the evidence has gotten much stronger in recent years that human-caused emissions are driving climate change.
Are you blaming global warming for all
No. All weather occurs in the context of a changed climate, which makes many extreme events – especially heat waves, droughts, wildfires, deluges and superstorms – more destructive.
Like a baseball player on steroids, our climate system is breaking records at an unnatural pace. And like a baseball player on steroids, it’s the wrong question to ask whether a given home run is “caused” by steroids or can be “blamed” on steroids. The question is whether, during the steroids era, you were seeing decades old records smashed on a routine basis by many different players.
Are you saying climate change caused Superstorm Sandy?
Climate scientists note that is the wrong question. The question is whether climate change made Superstorm Sandy more destructive – and the answer to that is ‘yes’. Most significantly, Superstorm Sandy added about 1 foot of sea level rise to an already devastating storm surge, causing the flooding of 70,000 additional homes. A recent NOAA study found that most of the Jersey shore will see Sandy-level storm surges every year within a few decades – if we don’t quickly decrease our use of fossil fuels.
What is the scientific basis for the claims you’ve made in the series?
As humanity’s understanding of human-caused climate change is expanding rapidly, the series’ producers and science advisors based their claims on peer-reviewed science and interviews with dozens of the world’s top climate scientists. The climate scientists – both those featured in the series and
those who were consulted – have offered to provide
their contact information to further explain their
findings, should there be a request.
But isn’t it true that there is no scientific consensus on global warming?
Ninety-seven percent of climate experts agree that humans are causing global warming. There is a broad consensus among scientists that the climate is being changed by human activity. The Associated Press reported last year that, “Top scientists from a variety of fields say they are as certain that global warming is a real, man-made threat as they are that cigarettes kill.” Furthermore, science academies from 19 countries, including the U.S., U.K. and China,
have affirmed the position that humans are causing
Isn’t the climate always changing, naturally?
The climate changes when it is forced to change, and now humans are forcing it to change far more rapidly than ever before. Past climate change reveals
that our climate is very sensitive to carbon dioxide. Levels of CO2 in the air have increased 40% over the past 150 years, mainly from the burning of fossil
fuels, which has warmed the planet more than it has in thousands of years.
How did the idea of YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY come about?
DAVID: We came up with the idea of YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY while working as producers at
60 Minutes . We were producing a number of climate pieces, and the more we reported on the issue, the more we knew it was a story that desperately
needed to be told.
We met over a series of lunches and came up with this idea of making a big documentary film, in the model of 60 Minutes , but featuring Hollywood A-list actors as correspondents, with the goal of attracting a large audience to shed light on the issue.
JOEL: Since neither of us knew any big A-List actors, we started making some calls and eventually landed a meeting with Jerry Weintraub. He signed on as Executive Producer, and suggested that we do a TV series to maximize viewers.
Once Jerry signed on, we connected with James Cameron, who had also been thinking of doing a television series on climate change. Once Jim agreed to join Jerry as an Executive Producer, we knew we had a chance to do something special.
Then we had a meeting with Arnold Schwarzenegger. After we showed him our sizzle reel, he signed on
right away. We began work on the project in the
spring of 2011.
Why did you decide to use actors for this project, rather than just leading news correspondents?
DAVID: It was really important to make sure we had reach with this series, so we decided that we would find well-known figures who are passionate about environmental issues, but not necessarily experts.
We didn't want them to be experts. We wanted them to ask questions on behalf of the audience to drive that connection as concerned citizens, and they've done it spectacularly well.
How do we know the sea level is rising?
Sea levels are measured by a variety of methods – sediment cores, tidal gauges and satellite measurements. Each of these methods indicates
that a rise in sea levels has been accelerating over
the past century.
Many parts of the world are low-lying, and tens of millions of people will be displaced even by modest sea rises. Further, rice paddies are being inundated with salt water, which destroys the crops. Seawater
is contaminating rivers as it mixes with fresh water further upstream, and aquifers are becoming polluted.
How does global warming impact droughts?
Climate change warms the ground, which causes greater evaporation. Once the ground dries out,
energy from the sun makes both the ground and air
In addition, climate change shifts precipitation patterns. Scientists have concluded that at least half of the drying in places around the Mediterranean (like Syria) is due to manmade climate change. Climate change also causes earlier snowmelt, reducing the amount of water stored on mountaintops for the summer dry season. Some recent evidence suggests that climate change also weakens the jet streams, which can further extend and exacerbate heat waves and droughts.
How is deforestation linked to climate change?
Deforestation is the second leading contributor of carbon emissions worldwide, after the burning of
fossil fuels. In particular, burning trees – a key
form of deforestation – releases stored carbon
into the air. Research confirms that avoiding
deforestation can play a major role in reducing future
greenhouse gas concentrations.
Can renewable energy sources provide enough power to replace fossil fuels?
Renewable energy can be used to replace higher-carbon sources of energy in the power grid over the next few decades achieving a reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions from power generation.
In some regions of the world, intermittent sources
of renewable energy provide 40% or more of
electricity. There are also hydroelectric and other
baseload (24-hours per day) renewable sources – along with nuclear power.
Although some forms of renewable energy do not provide baseload power, others do. For example, geothermal energy is available at all times, concentrated solar thermal energy has storage capability, and wind energy can be stored in compressed air. Furthermore, energy storage is dropping in price and increasing in performance every year. Energy efficiency and demand response
efforts (intentional modifications to energy consumption patterns) can also minimize the need for baseload power in most regions.
THE YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY AIR SCHEDULE IS AS FOLLOWS:
The sweeping SHOWTIME® docu-series about climate change, YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, will premiere on Sunday, April 13 at 10PM ET/PT. It will continue to air at 10PM ET/PT on Sundays for the first four weeks before moving to Monday nights at 8PM ET/PT starting Monday, May 12 for the rest of the season.
Episode 101 – Sunday, April 13 10PM
Episode 102 – Sunday, April 20 10PM
Episode 103 – Sunday, April 27 10PM
Episode 104 – Sunday, May 4 10PM
Episode 105 – Monday, May 12 8PM
Episode 106 – Monday, May 19 8PM
Episode 107 – Monday, May 26 8PM
Episode 108 – Monday, June 2 8PM
Episode 109 – Monday, June 9 8PM
™ and ©2014 Showtime Networks Inc. All rights reserved. Permission granted for newspaper, magazine, television and radio reproduction by the recipient in the United States solely in connection with press regarding the subject program. All other use without the express written consent of Showtime Networks Inc. in each instance is expressly prohibited. SHOWTIME and related marks are trademarks of Showtime Networks Inc., a CBS Company. “Years Of Living Dangerously”: ©Showtime Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.
Climate change is a fact.
And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could
to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to
be able to say yes, we did.”