NOVA "CAN WE COOL THE PLANET?" Premieres on PBS

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

On Wednesday, October 28, the award-winning PBS science series NOVA, a production of GBH Boston, will debut CAN WE COOL THE PLANET? a one-hour special that takes a fresh approach to covering the climate change crisis.

"For over three decades, NOVA has produced films documenting the growing climate crisis and what we can do about it. Now is a crucial moment for our planet, and NOVA is continuing  the conversation from whether climate change is happening, to how we are going to solve it—even after we reduce carbon emissions to near-zero," explains NOVA Co-Executive Producer Chris Schmidt.


Powerful New Docudrama RISE OF THE NAZIS Premieres on PBS

As wildfires rage in the American West and extreme weather sparks civil unrest around the globe, it is clear that emission reductions alone may not prevent the dire effects of climate change. By investigating new technologies that may help delay the most devastating impacts. 

In response, scientists and engineers are opening another front in the battle to combat climate change by developing technologies that can help us cool the planet—from enhancing  our atmosphere's natural ability to reflect sunlight, to sucking carbon dioxide right out of the air, to enlisting plants.

NOVA joins scientists and skeptics alike to explore the controversial landscape of geoengineering—the effort to build controls for Earth's thermostat. As the calls for action become more urgent, do we understand the potential risks of these unproven technologies? 

Experts agree that the first step for cooling the planet is preventing CO2 from entering the atmosphere. At the same time, we can find ways to remove it.

Throughout the special, viewers discover the different ways that scientists and engineers are trying to tackle carbon, including Jan Wurzbacher of Climeworks whose industrial fans vacuum CO2 out of thin air; Sandra Snæbjörnsdóttirof CarbFix, who is working to turn captured CO2 into solid stone; Aldo Steinfeld of ETH Zurich, whose tech creates liquid carbon fuels out of sunlight and thin air; and Apoorv Sinha at Carbon Upcycling Technologies, who is working to recycle atmospheric CO2 to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete. But, even if these new technologies can scale up to their full potential individually they could only offset a fraction of the world's emissions. 


PBS to Air Generation Nation - Captures Expressions of American Life And Struggle

As scientist David Keith explains, "We will get to the day where there'll be global celebrations, where we get to net zero day where we bring human CO2 emissions to zero … But on that day, we have not solved the climate problem. All we've done is stop making it worse ..."

If we can't reduce our carbon emissions fast enough, are there technologies that can offer a backstop to extreme climate risks?  

One method scientists are exploring is changing the reflectivity of the planet—making Earth cooler, for example, by brightening clouds. Clouds play a critical role in controlling Earth's temperature by reflecting solar radiation back into space. Sarah Doherty and Armand Neukermans of the Marine Cloud Brightening Project are researching whether we can enhance this phenomena to bounce more light, and heat, back into space.


PBS Science Series Nova Presents The Feature Film "HUMAN NATURE"

They are designing a nozzle system to produce saltwater particles of an optimal size and speed to propel them into marine clouds. Research into the side effects of this method on the surrounding ecosystems is still developing, but outdoor experiments have already begun near the Great Barrier Reef in efforts to cool the waters surrounding the coral. Marine Cloud Brightening is designed to produce localized cooling, but David Keith and Frank Keutsch at Harvard are exploring whether adding reflective particles to the stratosphere could cool the entire planet. To better understand the effects of this form of solar geoengineering, Keutsch and Keith are designing a first of its kind experiment called SCoPEx. 

But with so much uncertainty, some scientists think we are better off investing in a different kind of machine, one developed over millions of years  in nature's own laboratory, with a proven record of safely drawing down CO2 levels: trees. 

CAN WE COOL THE PLANET? introduces scientists exploring natural methods of carbon-capture, from NASA research scientist Lola Fatoyinbo-Agueh, who uses terrestrial and space-based lasers to measure the amount of  carbon stored within forests; to the team at the Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich, which employs artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify where forests can be expanded globally to draw down carbon dioxide and to predict exactly how many trees we could plant and how much CO2 they could absorb; to Whendee Silver, who turns agricultural waste into compost, reducing methane emissions and boosting carbon uptake in soil. 

Throughout the film, experts Scott Denning of Colorado State University,Jane Long from The California Council of Science & Technology, Sheila Jasanoff of Harvard's Kennedy School and Steve Pacala from Princeton University analyze these emerging technologies and offer perspective on each solution's capacity to address the world's rising temperatures and control heat in the stratosphere on a global scale. 

"During production, each scientist we followed echoed more or less this sentiment: 'There is no silver bullet to solving climate change, only silver buckshot.' That sums up what we learned in CAN WE COOL THE PLANET? While it's natural to look to these fresh new ideas with hope and optimism, so many of them are still in their infancy. As every scientist in this film agrees, no technology on its own can fix the problem we face," says filmmaker Ben Kalina. 

"That said, as climate change ripples across the planet, the question has shifted from 'should we research these unknown technologies' to 'which technology can scale up most quickly and be the least disruptive?' adds filmmaker Jen Schneider. "We must be hopeful, but also cautious and data-focused as we think about stepping into this new era of climate risk management—and a geoengineered world." 

While no singular technology offers a silver bullet, rapid changes to Earth's climate mean we have already reached a dangerous tipping point, and as a result, public demand for alternative solutions is rising. As technologies once considered futuristic or taboo enter the mainstream, it's critical that we evaluate them soberly, with optimism for the potential they offer, as well as appropriate caution for the risks they carry. 

CAN WE COOL THE PLANET? pushes scientists and viewers to ask the hard questions as time runs out on conventional solutions to climate change, such as, Can geoengineering can really work? How much would it cost? And what are the risks of engineering Earth's climate? If there is one thing experts can agree on it's that there is no perfect solution, but we have to start really looking at what can scale up, and be maintained for decades, if not centuries.

CAN WE COOL THE PLANET? premieres Wednesday, October 28, at 9 p.m. ET/8C on PBS and will be available for streaming online and on the PBS video app.


PBS To Broadcast Race Matters: America In Crisis, A PBS Newshour Special

CAN WE COOL THE PLANET? is a NOVA Production by Mangrove Media LLC for GBH Boston in association with ARTE France. Produced by Ben Kalina. Co-Produced by Frauke Levin. Director of Cinematography is Jen Schneider. Edited by Rob Tinsworth. Written and Directed by Ben Kalina and Jen Schneider. Senior Producer for NOVA is Caitlin Saks. Executive Producers for NOVA are Julia Cort and Chris Schmidt. NOVA is a production of GBH Boston.

National corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Draper. Major funding for NOVA is provided by the David H. Koch Fund for Science, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers. Additional funding is provided by the NOVA Science Trust.

 About NOVA

NOVA is the most popular primetime science series on American television, demystifying the scientific and technological concepts that shape and define our lives, our planet, and our universe. The PBS series is also one of the most widely distributed science programs around the world, and is a multimedia, multiplatform brand reaching more than 55 million Americans every year on TV and online. NOVA's important and inspiring stories of human ingenuity, exploration, and the quest for knowledge are regularly recognized with the industry's most prestigious awards. As part of its mission to make the scientific enterprise accessible to all, NOVA is committed to diversity and inclusiveness in all its work, from the production process to the range of stories we tell and voices we feature. In addition, science educators across the country rely on NOVA for resources used in the classroom as well as in museums, libraries, and after-school programs. NOVA is a production of WGBH Boston; more information can be found at pbs.org/nova, or by following NOVA on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

About PBS

PBS, with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 100 million people through television and nearly 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS' broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry's most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS' premier children's media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a new 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

About GBH 

GBH is the leading multiplatform creator for public media in America. As the largest producer of content for PBS and partner to NPR and PRX, GBH delivers compelling experiences, stories and information to audiences wherever they are. GBH produces digital and broadcast programming that engages, illuminates and inspires, through drama and science, history, arts, culture and journalism.

It is the creator of such signature programs as MASTERPIECE, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, FRONTLINE, NOVA, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, Arthur and Molly of Denali, as well as WORLD Channel and a catalog of streaming series, podcasts and on-demand video. With studios and a newsroom headquartered in Boston, GBH reaches across New England with GBH 89.7, Boston's Local NPR®; CRB Classical 99.5; and CAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® station.

Dedicated to making media accessible to and inclusive of our diverse culture, GBH is a pioneer in delivering media to those who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired. GBH creates curriculum-based digital content for educators nationwide with PBS Learning Media and has been recognized with hundreds of the nation's premier broadcast, digital and journalism awards. Find more information at wgbh.org

Haute Tease

  • The Kill Team Review – War Drama Delivers with Strong Character Driven Performances

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Kill Team, from A24 Films, Nostromo Pictures and Temple Hill Entertainment, presents the true story of a young private on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan who becomes unwittingly involved in the murders of civilians.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump Addresses Davos Attendees; The Perv and The Pedophile: Wynn Resigns; US Gymnast Doc Sentenced; Challenger

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump, after a turbulent and shocking freshman year, will give his first State of the Union address this week expected to be a continuation of his themes of making America great again, promised and delivered.

     
  • Men’s Gift Guides: 13 Man Cave Favorites

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    This holiday season help the special guy in your life trick out his man cave, making him the envy of his buddies.  Whether he uses his space to watch sports, enjoy home audio and video entertainment, play games, enjoy quality libations, or generally bask in secluded R&R, here's an array of gift ideas that'll help make the man cave a space he craves:

     
  • Victoria Chow, Hong Kong Hottest Wine and Spirits Entrepreneur, Launches The Woods' Annex (CHI/ENG)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Victoria Chow, Hong Kong’s hottest Wine and Spirits entrepreneur, is launching her latest collection of spirits at The Woods' Annex, in Soho Hong Kong. No stranger to the spirits industry, The Woods' Annex is her third high end libation establishment. 

     
  • Del Frisco Grille NYC Review - Tender Twists on Comfort Food Classics

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    When I travel to New York City, I seek out those venues where I can be “one with the natives” and immerse myself in the local culture to get a true sense of an area. Sometimes such gastronomic gems are hiding in plain sight, as is the case with Del Frisco Grille New York.

     
  • HL Arts: Sophie Kipner - Keeper of The Artist’s Secret

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Growing up an abstract artist, Sophie Kipner one day began coloring inside the lines, adhering to boundaries, stifling herself until she found a way back to the magic, the natural artist hiding in every child, and refused to let go.

     
  • Op/Ed: Adding My Voice and Story to the Many Who Were Once Silenced by Violence

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    It's supposed to be another nail in the coffin. Every injustice, discrimination, theft, just one more nail in the coffin, until the injustice and discrimination, the injury becomes the final stake and the coffin and secrets are sealed.

     
  • Beltway Insider: UK Hosts G8 Summit; Obama Heads to Germany; NSA Whistleblower On The Run; Student Loan Vote Stalled

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Barack Obama headed to Northern Ireland this week to participate in the G8 Summit and meet with leaders from the world’s largest national economies to discuss the most pressing global concerns.

     
  • UPDATE: Double Funeral Service Planned for Debbie Reynolds and Daughter Carrie Fisher

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A double funeral service scheduled for Thursday, January 5, has been announced for the actress, legend and author Debbie Reynolds and her daughter, Carrie Fisher who passed away within a day of each other this past week.

     
  • Election 2020: Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Addresses Californians

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders traveled to California this weekend rallying crowds in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. He visited the Islamic Center of Southern California and joined interfaith leaders to address the racism, violence, and hatred. 

     
  • Recovering Hip Hop ”Tik Tok” Singer, Kesha, Earns BillBoard Women in Music Trailblazer Award

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Kesha, the embattled rock-rap star embroiled in a legal battle with her producer, accepted the Billboard Magazine Women in Music Trailblazer Award this week with an emotional and honest acceptance speech.

     
  • Une Femme et des Combats

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    L'élection d'Ursula von der Leyen à la tête de la Commission européenne marque une avancée des mentalités rare au sein d'un organe politique longtemps dominée par des hommes. Mais cette nomination ne parviendra pas à occulter les violences dont sont encore victimes les femmes.

     
  • Pennyworth Review - Prequel Adds Dimension, Color, and Tantalizing Evil to Batman Story

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Pennyworth, a new streaming series from Epix TV, MGM’s premium cable network on Amazon Prime, brings to the screen the story of Alfred Pennyworth and his introduction into the world of espionage in an emerging modern London.

     
  • Big Eyes Review – Delivers Wide Eyed Wonderment

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Big Eyes, from The Weinstein Company and Tim Burton Productions, brings to the screen the unusual and true story of the largest art fraud in American history as seen through the eyes of 1960's artist Margaret Keane.

     
  • Op/Ed: Money Can’t Buy You Health

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    "Healthcare" is supposed to be a big election issue: politicians promise universal and equal "healthcare," or prevent it from being taken away. Everyone wants to be healthy, and a $3 trillion industry wants to keep the money flowing.