Watch a Decade of Documentaries on Climate Change & Other Environmental Threats
A still from 'Fire in Paradise,' a FRONTLINE documentary examining the 2018 Camp Fire, including the role of climate change.
In The Power of Big Oil, a new three-part documentary series, FRONTLINE examines the fossil fuel industry’s history of casting doubt and delaying action on climate change, tracing decades of missed opportunities and ongoing attempts to hold Big Oil to account.
The documentary series comes on the heels of a new report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) saying that rapid action is needed in order to reduce planet-warming emissions of greenhouse gases and limit climate disaster, and outlining possible ways in which the world can take action to cut such emissions in half by 2030.
“We are at a crossroads,” IPCC chair Hoesung Lee said in an announcement about the report. “The decisions we make now can secure a livable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming.”
FRONTLINE has been covering climate change and other environmental threats for years and across platforms. With the premiere of The Power of Big Oil, revisit more than a decade’s worth of reporting.
Part One: Denial
Part Two: Doubt
Part Three: Delay
The Power of Big Oil (2022)
Part One: Denial charts the fossil fuel industry’s early research on climate change, investigating industry efforts to sow seeds of doubt about the science. Part Two: Doubt explores the industry’s efforts to stall climate policy, even as evidence about climate change grew more certain in the new millennium. Part Three: Delay follows the rise of natural gas; examines the Obama, Trump and Biden administrations’ actions on climate change; and explores what may happen next.
A book by former FRONTLINE investigative reporter Katie Worth on what kids in the U.S. learn about climate change in school — including the roles of oil corporations, state legislatures, school boards and lobbyists — published by Columbia Global Reports with support from FRONTLINE and The GroundTruth Project, and rooted in a series of stories by Worth.
A Tampa Bay Times investigation, supported by FRONTLINE’s Local Journalism Initiative, revealing how a Florida lead smelter exposed hundreds of workers and the surrounding community to dangerous levels of the neurotoxin.
A New Mexico PBS investigation supported by FRONTLINE’s Local Journalism Initiative into PFAS — “forever” chemicals — contamination at military installations in the state and the impact on groundwater.
Plastic Wars (2020)
An investigation with NPR and the Investigative Reporting Workshop into how the big oil and petrochemical companies that make plastic publicly promoted recycling as a solution to the waste and pollution crisis, despite internal industry doubts from almost the beginning that widespread plastic recycling could ever be economically viable.
Fire in Paradise (2019)
A film on the 2018 Camp Fire, California’s deadliest-ever wildfire, that examines contributing factors, including climate change.
Coal’s Deadly Dust (2019)
An investigation with NPR into how the coal industry and the U.S. government failed to protect miners from severe black lung disease.
The Last Generation (2018)
With The GroundTruth Project, an interactive exploration of climate change as seen through the eyes of three children living in the Marshall Islands, a nation threatened by rising seas.
Greenland Melting 360° (2018)
A 360-degree documentary set amid Greenland’s melting glaciers, from FRONTLINE, NOVA, Emblematic Group, X-Rez Studio and Realtra.
War on the EPA (2017)
A documentary examining how the antiregulatory and anti-climate-change-science movements in America gained power.
Boom Town (2017)
An investigation from The FRONTLINE Dispatch podcast into earthquakes linked to the oil industry in an Oklahoma town known as “the pipeline crossroads of the world.”
Return to Chernobyl 360° (2017)
With NYU Journalism, an immersive, on-the-ground look at the site of the worst nuclear accident on record, 30 years later.
Hunt for the Inca Ruins 360° (2016)
The Mercury Crisis 360° (2016)
Two short, immersive documentaries about twin issues impacting the Peruvian Amazon: a fight over oil and gas exploration, and a boom in gold mining.
A short documentary about Exxon’s early research into climate change, produced in collaboration with InsideClimate News; FRONTLINE also published a series of related interviews on YouTube, conducted in collaboration with InsideClimate News.
Climate of Doubt (2012)
A look inside the organizations that fought the scientific establishment to shift the direction of the climate debate.
Alaska Gold (2012)
An examination of the battle over the proposed Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska, home to the last great wild sockeye salmon fishery in the world and to enormous mineral deposits estimated to be worth billions.
A documentary revealing how close the world came to a nuclear nightmare when a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on March 11, 2011, triggering a crisis inside the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex.
Nuclear Aftershocks (2012)
A look at the implications of the Fukushima accident for U.S. nuclear safety — and for the future of nuclear energy around the world.
The Spill (2010)
An investigation with ProPublica into how the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico was preceded by countless safety violations, which many believe should have triggered action by federal regulators.