Climate change in popular culture
Science historian Naomi Oreskes has noted, "There's a huge disconnect between what professional scientists have studied and learned in the last 30 years, and what is out there in the popular culture." An academic study contrasts the relatively rapid acceptance of ozone depletion as reflected in popular culture with the much slower acceptance of the scientific consensus on climate change.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2015)
- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) - A meteor shower ignites the Van Allen radiation belt and causes abrupt global warming that will render Earth uninhabitable within three weeks, which the United Nations attempts to solve by sending the submarine USOS Seaview into the Mariana Trench to fire a nuclear missile at the flaming belt.
- The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) - Nuclear weapons testing by the United States and the Soviet Union tilt the Earth's nutation by 11 degrees, causing Earth to begin spiraling towards the Sun and global temperatures to rise. The world's governments attempt to solve the problem by detonating nuclear bombs in Siberia to correct the tilt.
- Soylent Green (1973), film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Charlton Heston. Set in a dystopian future of dying oceans and year-round humidity due to the greenhouse effect, resulting in suffering from pollution, poverty, overpopulation and depleted resources.
- Blade Runner (1982), a film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer, is set in a humid rainy climate changed Los Angeles in an alternate 2015, based loosely on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Its 2017 sequel Blade Runner 2049 is also noted for its depiction of a warmer climate.
- Split Second, 1992 film starring Rutger Hauer and Kim Cattrall is set in 2008, in a London that is flooded as a result of global warming.
- Waterworld (1995) starring Kevin Costner. Set in 2500, where the polar ice caps have melted due to global warming and the Earth is almost entirely covered with water.
- The Arrival (1996), starring Charlie Sheen. Extraterrestrial aliens attempt to secretly cause global warming and thereby terraform Earth into an environment more suited to their needs.
- A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), set in climate changed world near flooded ruins of New York City, where global warming has led to ecological disasters all over the world in the mid-22nd century. 2,000 years later, the world has entered a new ice age and is populated by advanced robots known as Specialists.
- The Day After Tomorrow (2004) starring Dennis Quaid. An abrupt shutdown of thermohaline circulation causes catastrophic abrupt climate change, plunging the Northern Hemisphere into a new ice age. As a result the Northern United States, Canada, Scotland, Japan, and Russia are devastated by massive winter storms, and the surviving population of the United States is evacuated to Mexico.
- The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) - Klaatu lands on Earth as an alien delegation to either convince humanity to halt its destructive behavior or destroy it. The film notably updates the original film's Cold War-era concern with nuclear warfare and mutually assured destruction into the contemporary issue of climate change.
- The Thaw (2009) - Melting ice caps defrost the remains of a woolly mammoth infected with deadly parasites, which spread to a research crew sent to the Canadian Arctic.
- The Age of Stupid (2009), drama-documentary-animation hybrid starring Pete Postlethwaite as a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, watching archive footage from 2008 and asking "Why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?"
- Earth 2100 (2009), predictions of possible attempts at adaptation to and mitigation of the effects of continuing global warming
- Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010), - global warming mutates birds to begin attacking humanity
- The Expedition to the End of the World (2013), director: Daniel Dencik, relating to the Greenland ice sheet and the retreat of glaciers since 1850
- Snowpiercer is a 2014 fictional film regarding a problematic solar geoengineering attempt that inadvertently freezes the earth.
- First Reformed is a 2017 film in which an Reformed Church in America pastor discovers the causes and effects of climate change and attempts to take violent action against those he considers responsible.
- Climate Change Denial Disorder is a satirical short film which parodies climate change denial and perspectives on climate change through discussion of a fictional disease.
- Downsizing (2017) - In the future scientists discover a method to shrink humans to size of five inches to solve climate change and overpopulation. The technique fails when only three percent of the population choose to undergo it, with its inventor discovering that humanity will go extinct from positive feedback of Arctic methane emissions within 100 years.
- Geostorm (2017) - Natural disasters caused by climate change lead humanity to construct a network of weather modification satellites in 2019, which malfunction and cause severe weather across the world in 2022
- Fast Color (2018), is set in a future American Midwest suffering from an eight-year drought.
- Bo Burnham: Inside (2021), the special includes several references to climate change and the danger of a climate apocalypse. For instance, the lyric "20,000 years of this, seven more to go," in the song "That Funny Feeling" is believed to be a reference to the Climate Clock showing the time left to reduce greenhouse gas emissions before 1.5 C global warming becomes inevitable.
- The Tomorrow War (2021), melting ice sheets from global warming unthaw a frozen spaceship on Komsomolets Island from the 10th century AD filled with weaponized bio-engineered aliens known as "Whitespikes" in November 2048, which completely overrun Earth and almost completely annihilate humanity by 2051.
- Reminiscence (2021), a film set in a post-apocalyptic future where Miami has been flooded by the ocean due to climate change.
- An Inconvenient Truth (2006) is an American documentary film made in 2006 directed by Davis Guggenheim which covers former United States Vice President Al Gore's campaign related to raising awareness about global warming. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is a follow-up film released in 2017.
- The 11th Hour (2007), created, produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio.
- Signos: Banta ng Pagbabagong Klima, a 2008 Philippine television documentary presented and narrated by actor Richard Gutierrez and aired on GMA Network.
- The Great Global Warming Swindle, a 2009 polemical film that denies the existence of climate change.
- Carbon Nation, a 2010 documentary film.
- Chasing Ice, a 2012 documentary film.
- White Knight, a 2012 documentary film
- Thin Ice, a 2013 documentary film.
- Merchants of Doubt, a 2014 documentary based on the 2010 book of the same name
- Before the Flood, a 2016 documentary
- Chasing Coral, a 2017 documentary
- 2040, a 2019 documentary by Damon Gameau
- Climate Change – The Facts, a 2019 BBC documentary presented by David Attenborough
- Planet of the Humans, a 2019 documentary directed by Michael Moore
- I Am Greta, a documentary following teenaged climate activist Greta Thunberg
This refers to the classification non-fiction, without regard to whether the books are accurate or intended to be accurate.
- The End of Nature 1989 book by Bill McKibben
- Our Angry Earth: A Ticking Ecological Bomb (1991) by Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl
- The Carbon War: Global Warming and the End of the Oil Era 1999 book by former oil geologist Jeremy Leggett
- The Discovery of Global Warming 2003 Spencer R. Weart book
- The Weather Makers (2005) by Tim Flannery
- Field notes from a catastrophe: man, nature, and climate change (2006) by Elizabeth Kolbert
- An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It is a 2006 book by Al Gore released in conjunction with the film An Inconvenient Truth. Based on Gore's lecture tour on the topic of global warming this book elaborates upon points offered in the film. It "brings together leading-edge research from top scientists around the world; photographs, charts, and other illustrations; and personal anecdotes and observations to document the fast pace and wide scope of global warming."
- Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet 2007 book and National Geographic Channel film
- Why We Disagree About Climate Change (2009)
- Requiem for a Species (2010)
- Merchants of Doubt (2010) by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, which examines the history of climate change denial and its relationship with the tobacco industry playbook.
- This Changes Everything (2014)
- The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2015) by Elizabeth Kolbert, which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.
- The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016)
- Losing Earth (2019)
- The Uninhabitable Earth (2019) based on a 2017 magazine series of the same name
- On Fire (2019)
- How to Avoid a Climate Disaster (2021) by Bill Gates
Climate fiction (sometimes shortened as cli-fi) is literature that deals with climate change and global warming. Not necessarily speculative in nature, works may take place in the world as we know it or in the near future. The genre frequently includes science fiction and dystopian or utopian themes, imagining the potential futures based on how humanity responds to the impacts of climate change. Technologies such as climate engineering or climate adaptation practices often feature prominently in works exploring their impacts on society. Climate fiction is distinct from petrofiction which deals directly with the petroleum culture and economy.University courses on literature and environmental issues may include climate change fiction in their syllabi. This body of literature has been discussed by a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, and Dissent magazine, among other international media outlets.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2021)
- French metal band Gojira have released several songs about climate change and environmental issues, particularly "Global Warming", "World to Come" and other songs on From Mars to Sirius (2005).
- Climate change is a theme of Radiohead's 2016 album A Moon Shaped Pool.
- Anohni - "4 Degrees"
- Marina Diamandis - "Purge the Poison"
- Australian rock band King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard have released several songs about climate change, and it is a central theme of 2019 album Infest the Rats' Nest.
- Rina Sawayama has said her 2020 single "XS" is a critique of capitalism in the context of climate change.
- Grimes's 2020 album Miss Anthropocene is a concept album about an "anthropomorphic goddess of climate change" and human extinction.
- Years of Living Dangerously, nine-part 2014 Showtime documentary television series
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers had numerous episodes which dealt with global-warming including "Two Futures" Part 1 & 2, "Heat Wave", "Domes of Doom", "The Ark", "Summit to Save Earth" Parts 1 & 2, "Greenhouse Planet", "A Perfect World", and "Planeteers Under Glass"
- "The World Set Free" (Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey), 2014 TV series episode
- South Park spoofed global warming in seven episodes:
- "Spontaneous Combustion", (1999) - Randy Marsh wins a Nobel Prize by discovering that a string of spontaneous combustions around South Park was caused by partners refusing to fart in front of each other and solving the crisis by having the town's residents fart every few seconds, only for the resultant methane emissions to cause global warming and a massive heat wave.
- "Terrance and Phillip: Behind the Blow" - Environmentalists host an Earth Day festival at South Park to raise awareness about global warming, brainwashing its residents into supporting propagandistic slogans using Jedi mind tricks. The boys struggle to arrange for Canadian comedians Terrance and Phillip to perform at the festival.
- "Goobacks" (2004) - Climate refugees from the year 3045 begin using a time portal to travel to Earth in 2004 for work, leading to a controversy mirroring the debate over illegal immigration as they work for low wages.
- "Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow", (2005) - Stan Marsh pretends that a flood caused by him crashing a boat into a beaver dam was caused by global warming, leading to a panic. The episode was meant to parody the government response to Hurricane Katrina, as well as explanations that it was caused by climate change.
- "Smug Alert!" (2006) - Drivers of hybrid cars cause massive emissions of "smug," causing a superstorm which annihilates San Francisco and South Park.
- "ManBearPig" (2006) - Al Gore visits South Park warning about a giant carnivorous monster known as the ManBearPig and takes the protagonists to search for it in the Cave of the Winds, only for it to become evident that Gore is using the incident to get attention. The episode parodies Gore's climate change activism, and reflects series co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone's climate change skepticism at the time of the episode's release.
- "Time to Get Cereal"/"Nobody Got Cereal?" (2018) - The ManBearPig proves to have actually been real and begins attacking South Park's residents, some of whom nevertheless remain skeptical of its existence. The boys are forced to apologize to Gore to get him to help, although he remains self-aggrandizing. At the end of the arc the townsfolk finally admit that the ManBearPig was real and begin negotiating for it to leave, but are constantly unable to accept the creature's terms for its departure. Parker and Stone wrote the episode as an apology for the show's previous depictions of climate change, and Gore himself praised the episode.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation had two such global-warming themed episodes:
- Episode "Deja Q" (1990) - The crew suggests an artificial amplification of global warming using greenhouse gases to counter the cooling effects of dust from the impact of a moon on a planet.
- Episode "A Matter of Time" (Season 5 EP 9) - A passing cloud of dust from an asteroid causes global cooling on a planet, the crew of the enterprise use a phaser to release frozen deposits of carbon dioxide on the planet.
- "The Inner Light" (1992) - Jean-Luc Picard lives a lifetime on a planet experiencing Global Warming and aridification. Ultimately, the climate change becomes serious enough to threaten all life on the planet. This Hugo Award winner is among the 5 most popular out of all 178 episodes in the TNG series.
- The 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon has four episodes dealing with global warming. In "Shredder's Mom", Shredder and Krang use a mirror fixed to a satellite to warm up the Earth if the political leaders do not surrender to them. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles get help from General Yogure to stop them. In Northern Lights Out, a man named Eric Red in Norway plans to melt the polar ice cap and flood all the coastal cities on the Earth by blowing up underground volcanoes, which will make it "easy" for Eric Red and his gang to take over the Earth. In "A Real Snow Job", set in the Alps in Austria, Krang and Shredder use a Zoetropic wave device to melt the world's ice, flooding the coastal cities and making the Earth easy for Krang and Shredder to take over. In "Too Hot to Handle", Vernon Fenwick's nephew Foster has an invention that brings the Earth closer to the Sun, a "Solar Magnet".
- The 1980s Transformers animated series had at least one global-warming themed episode: "The Revenge of Bruticus". There, the Combaticons (a faction of the series' main villains, the Decepticons, created by rebel Decepticon Starscream) use the Space Bridge device to hurl Earth toward the Sun, hoping to destroy the Earth and all enemies. The Autobots are forced to help the humans endure the heat while putting aside their differences with the Decepticons in a race against time to restore Earth to its natural orbit.
- The TV series Utopia is a violent thriller about a fictional conspiracy that has a number of secret agents embedded in key places in government and industry. The conspiracy, known as "The Network", seeks to frighten the populace into taking a vaccine which will, as a side-effect, cause mass infertility. Their aim in doing so is to reduce the number of humans on the planet, in order to tackle climate change, resource shortages and other environmental issues.
- The Simpsons:
- "On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister" (2005) - Springfield Elementary School goes on a field trip to the Springfield Glacier, which is almost completely melted because of climate change.
- "The Good, the Sad, and the Drugly," - (2009) Lisa is assigned to write a report on the year 2059 and becomes depressed after learning about the future effects of climate change, terrifying the class with her reports.
- "White Christmas Blues", episode of The Simpsons (2013) - Global warming causes no snowfall on Christmas for the entire United States except in Springfield, which is cooled by smog from Mr. Burns's nuclear power plant and the local tire factory
- In episode 2, season 1, of the Marvel Cinematic Universe series Loki, "The Variant" (2021), Earth experiences a series of climate-related natural disasters in the mid-21st century implied to have been caused by climate change. Mobius M. Mobius mentions that the extinction of the swallow at that time resulted in ecological collapse. A variant of Loki, Sylvie, evades the Time Variance Authority by hiding in the Roxxcart superstore in Alabama shortly before its destruction by a hurricane in 2050, thus preventing any branches of the timeline.
- Doctor Who, "Orphan 55" (2020) - The Thirteenth Doctor takes Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair, and Yasmin Khan to a spa in the future which proves to be a trap on the abandoned planet Orphan 55. They later discover it is an abandoned version of Earth wrecked by climate change and nuclear warfare, and inhabited by mutant humans known as "Dregs." The episode ends with the Doctor telling them that although it is only one possible future she cannot guarantee it will not come to pass.
- Civilization II is a strategy game released in 1996, in which the pollution created by industrial production and transportation, if left unchecked, leads to desertification.
- Fuel (2009) is a racing video game set in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by extreme weather fueled by global warming.
- In 2008, the TamaTown website featured a game that taught children how to prevent global warming.
- Civilization VI: Gathering Storm (2019) includes mechanics where high carbon emissions lead to ice cap melting, permanent coastal flooding and an increase in the intensity of extreme weather events.
- Battlefield 2042 (2021) is set in 2041 where a global military conflict is driven by the exacerbation of tensions from resource depletion and extreme weather caused by climate change. A massive influx of climate refugees and category 6 hurricanes lead to an economic depression in 2034 and the dissolution of the European Union following the collapse of Germany in 2035. Although technological development causes human society to begin to recover in 2037, a Kessler syndrome event destroying 70 percent of Earth's satellites pushes the world into war between stateless proxies fighting for the United States and Russia.
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