Original Airdate: October 21, 2008
From the Los Angeles Times:
"Heat," which premieres tonight on PBS, is a "Frontline" documentary examining the scientific, social and political forces that have resulted in global warming.
Thorough and wide-ranging, "Heat" takes us from India's cement factories (did you know cement manufacturing is the No. 3 contributor to carbon dioxide emissions?) and the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali to the international empire that is Exxon and the chambers of the Congress.
Not surprisingly, there are times during "Heat's" two very solid hours when a viewer, particularly an American viewer, would be forgiven a whimper or two of despair. The problem seems so enormous. The glaciers are melting, the oceans are dying, the ice caps could be gone in a matter of decades. Drought and wild fires threaten the world, while people continue to denude carbon-fighting rain forests.
Yes, you may have bought a Prius and installed those energy-saving light bulbs, but it ain't helping much. Because your neighbor's still driving that Hummer and the American economy is built on the notion of cheap and plentiful petroleum products with, until recently, little or no thought to what that meant to the
Meanwhile, by exporting the American dream of livin' large to developing nations, we've only internationalized the problem. "The Western model of growth is inherently toxic," proclaims Delhi-based environmental activist Sunita Narain. "It's highly capital intensive, highly resource intensive, it uses a lot of materials, uses a lot of energy and generates a lot of waste. If every Indian was to live like an American, then the planet is doomed."
It's enough to make a person turn off all the lights, pull the covers over her head and weep. But that, of course, is the problem. This is exactly what Americans have done for far too long. Or at least this is what "Heat" argues, and it does so quite persuasively.