HOT POLITICS [home page]


Includes reports from the Center Investigative Reporting (CIR) and documents referenced in FRONTLINE's report.


  • "Adapt or Die"
    Writing in the May 7, 2007 issue of The Nation, Mark Hertsgaard, editorial consultant for Hot Politics/CIR, travels to New Orleans and Bangladesh, two of the places most threatened by climate change. From now on, he writes, the traditional goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not enough; we must also try to live through the higher sea levels and stronger storms, floods, droughts that our previous emissions have made inevitable over the next 50 years.
  • "Don't Bet on Offsets"
    At least 35 Web-based companies are now selling "carbon offsets" to affluent, eco-sensitive consumers worried about global warming. In an article in the May 7, 2007 issue ofThe Nation, CIR reporter A.C. Thompson and associate Duane Moles examine whether the offsets, which promise to defray the atmospheric damage done by our fossil fuel-dependent lifestyles, really live up the marketing hype.
  • Waking to Warming: Video Reports
    CIR's own site features two Web video reports. The first examines the suppression by the Bush administration of the National Assessment of Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change. In the second, skateboarder Lee West explains how regular people can purchase "carbon offsets" and wonders whether their money is really going where they think it is.
  • NPR's Living on Earth
    Airing on NPR stations starting April 27, 2007, Daniel Grossman reports from Europe on a closely-watched market mechanism for combating global warming now used by 27 members of the European Union, and similar to proposals now being offering in the U.S. Congress.



  • Climate Change Impacts on the United States: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change
    This is the overview report of the National Assessment compiled by U.S. Global Change Research Program. Published in 2000, the report is divided by geographic region and by various economic sectors. It was intended to be the first of several reports giving Americans a sense of how climate change would impact where they live. Starting in 2001, the Bush administration attempted to remove references to it from other government studies and publications.
  • "The Environment: A Cleaner, Safer Healthier America" (PDF file)
    The full text of pollster and political consultant Frank Luntz's memo coaching Republicans on how to speak about global warming -- or, as Luntz might counsel, "climate change." While Luntz says he now believes global warming is real, his strategy of doubting the science was embraced by some prominent Republican politicians.
    Greenpeace, the environmental action group, produced this interactive site mapping the links between global warming skeptics and energy giant Exxon Mobil. It is well sourced and features links to Exxon financial documents.
  • Reports by the New York Times' Andrew Revkin
    Featured on camera in the FRONTLINE report, Times science report Andrew Revkin has been one of the most prominent chroniclers of the political battle over global warming. This index page of his work features Q&A sessions, multimedia features and links to his articles, including his January 2006 piece on NASA scientist Jim Hansen, who told Revkin NASA officials had tried to stop him from speaking out on global warming. (Note: some articles require TimesSelect access.) The Times also maintains a global warming topic page, with more multimedia and resources for teachers.



  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
    The United Nations' global warming science review body. It offers all four of the IPCC's Assessment Reports, which have been issued since 1990; the latest came out in February 2007.
  • "Global Warming: Who Loses -- And Who Wins?"
    Greg Easterbrook examines how global warming may transform geopolitics and economics in the April 2007 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. "If the earth's climate changes meaningfully ... there could be broad-based disruption of the global economy unparalleled by any event other than World War II," writes Easterbrook.



By 2009, three presidential administrations will have come and gone since the 1988 Congressional hearing on global warming, and little will have been done. If the world is to avoid the "tipping point" predicted by NASA scientist James Hansen, the next president will have to take decisive action. Below are links to the official statements, where available, of some of the Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls.

  • Barack Obama
    Obama's campaign site talks about energy independence and fuel efficiency before turning to climate change. The site touts Obama's support for a cap-and-trade system of carbon restrictions and for making use of clean coal from his home state of Illinois.
  • Hillary Clinton
    In this video on her campaign Web site, Clinton lays out her plan for "an Apollo-like effort" to develop clean energy, including the creation of a strategic energy fund to be paid for from the "windfall profits" of energy companies.
  • John Edwards
    Among the many proposals on Edwards' campaign page are a cap on greenhouse gas emissions similar to the one implemented under the 1990 Clean Air Act to deal with acid rain-causing sulfur dioxide, and a new international climate change treaty that would include developing nations; under the Kyoto Protocol, developing nations were put on a delayed schedule for implementing the reductions in greenhouse gases.
  • John McCain
    McCain's site does not offer new proposals so much as it touts the candidate's belief in environmental stewardship "in the tradition of his hero, Theodore Roosevelt." It also mentions his past support of market-based carbon limits and of a faster approval process for nuclear power.
  • Mitt Romney
    Romney's campaign page does not mention global warming, focusing instead on energy independence to be achieved by "developing alternative sources of energy like biodiesel, ethanol, nuclear, and coal gasification, and finding more domestic sources of oil such as in ANWR [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] or the Outer Continental Shelf."
  • Rudolph Guiliani
    The "issues" page of Guiliani's campaign Web site does not feature an entry on energy, global warming or the environment.

home + introduction + watch online + reports + timeline + interviews + map + join the discussion
correspondent's chat + site map + readings & links + dvd/vhs & transcript + press reaction + credits
privacy policy + journalistic guidelines + FRONTLINE series home + wgbh + pbs

posted april 24, 2007

FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of wgbh educational foundation.
earth photo illustration copyright © corbis
web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation