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The Warning: How Intelligence and Science Met Climate Change    cover image

The Warning: How Intelligence and Science Met Climate Change 2016

Highly Recommended

Distributed by CineFete, 1586 Fleury St. East, Suite 210, Montreal, Canada H2C 156; 800-858-2183
Produced by Elisabeth Hulten, Paul Saadoun, Coproduction Seconde Vague Productions & Arte France
Directed by Paul Jenkins
DVD , color, 52 min.

High School - General Adult
Global Warming, Climate Change

Date Entered: 06/26/2018

Reviewed by Cliff Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State University Libraries, Bowling Green, OH

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, Senator Al Gore suggested that the CIA and other government intelligence or science agencies share their research and satellite observations with Russian intelligence and science agencies in order to determine if the climate was warming. Both the CIA and Russian surveillance agencies had considerable data on the Arctic gathered over the decades, though there was some trepidation as to whether that data might be shared with an adversary of the previous Cold War. When Gore was elected Vice President in 1992, he formulated the Medea Project, later known as the Environmental Working Group, to be made up from the U.S. and Russian intelligence and scientific communities to explore climate change.

Although NASA had announced global warming in 1988, the Medea Project supplied the scientific evidence for understanding humanity’s influence on the environment. With archival footage and contemporary interviews with U.S. and Russian officials, intelligence agents and scientists, writer and director Jenkins has constructed a fascinating tale of international cooperation to provide an understanding of the human basis for global warming and its consequences. Unfortunately, as the film mentions, climate change has become politicized and the little progress that was made up to the 2015 Paris Agreement may have been compromised by U.S. withdrawal.

The Warning is highly recommended for general audiences. It is not a propaganda film, so viewers should not expect minds to be changed among climate change deniers. It is rather an extraordinary insight into how human societies can cooperate to address the most complex and most dangerous of problems. It is unfortunate that those same human societies cannot agree to accept the responsibility to try to change the course that the sciences assure us the climate will take in the future.