Case Number 14077: Small Claims Court


History Channel // 2007 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // July 17th, 2008

The Charge

After 650 million years of climate change, is global warming simply a naturally occurring phenomenon or simply the result of human activity?

The Case

A Global Warning? is the History Channel's An Inconvenient Truth, a comparison that will be made for every documentary about global warning from now till Judgment Day. A Global Warning? features interviews with numerous scientists talking about the major climactic shifts of the past and what that could mean for our future. It moves forward in time, from Earth's iceball past, through scorching heat waves and up to now, when the temperature seems to be rising yet again. The question is: are we the ones turning up the temperature, or is it part of the great circle of life?

While A Global Warning? doesn't really answer that question, it does offer up evidence (backed up with Science!) that we're most likely the culprits behind this next big climate change.

Unlike certain movies I could mention (The Day After Tomorrow), A Global Warning? puts everything puts in an appropriate time scale. The consequences to our actions won't happen overnight, but rather within the next hundred years or more. While there is an alarmist tendency (Super volcanoes! Miami underwater! Dogs and cats living together!), A Global Warning? does make it clear that there's still time to fix things and that we're not going to have to worry about storms that suck in super-cold space-air and freezes people solid in ten seconds.

One of its biggest strengths is its reliance on looking at the past. Rather than just say, "The weather will change catastrophically!" without giving any examples of precedence, we're treated to a bevy of past planetary disasters. It is possible for the Earth to freeze solid. It is possible for the temperature to get unlivably hot. Next, they give the best possible explanations for why this happened then and why we should be worried about it now. For example, at one point, Earth's atmosphere contained a high volume of methane due to volcanic activity which caused massive global warming. Now our actions are causing methane to be released from lakes and melting permafrost, which will exacerbate the current problem.

The History Channel made a special effort with this disc; the package is made from recycled materials. A good idea in theory, but since the actual disc-holder is also made from cardboard, it makes it a pain in the ass to take out the disc. There's a handy list of things to help save energy and the like, too.

The disc also has five deleted scenes, perhaps my favorite kind of extra for television documentaries. They give more information about our effect on the environment (one segment is entirely statistics about carbon emissions) and more looks at the past.

A Global Warning? is a fairly balanced look at the possible effects we're having on our environment and the consequences we might expect.

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile
Studio: History Channel
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Additional Scenes

* None