i've mainlined all three seasons of aaron sorkin's TV drama the newsroom and found it to be compelling television. i love sorkin's ear for language and the very fact that he is an idealist for our better nature. but there is a subplot about climate change in the middle of the third season i find particularly compelling. jeff daniels's character, will mcavoy, interviews an EPA scientist after the release of a report about carbon dioxide hitting the dreaded 400 ppm threshold.
you can find that interview here.
the epa scientist is all doom and gloom. what i find fascinating about this segment is how the piece is framed. the show is about the workings of a cable news network. thus far no story was given this much gravitas. notice how the camera pans across the set to reveal cameras, teleprompters and staff looking on in stunned silence. this knowledge is left standing on its own. when we leave the interview we leave the subject for the show's story is grounded in other matters. the EPA scientist is pretty goddamn alarmist.
then i just did a google search about the veracity of this segment. according to mother jones the facts in this interview mostly, except for a bit of embellishment about the 'blackened skies', check out. stop arguing. yes, this segment is fiction. and yet, i think we should be beyond arguing the hard science of climate change. kudos to aaron sorkin for at least bringing the inexorable fact of climate change to TV drama.
the question now is what we have to do. but then i think of that great line delivered by robert duval's character, the old man, in the road , 'even if you knew what to do you wouldn't know what to do.'
time for us to prove the old man wrong.