Wed, 19 May 2004
Hollywood does Climate Change
A Hollywood blockbuster looks set to catapult climate change into the mainstream and should encourage a much-needed debate about New Zealand's increasing use of fossil fuels.
"The Day after Tomorrow," to be released in New Zealand next week, portrays an ice age in the Northern Hemisphere, complete with a frozen Statue of Liberty. Exaggerated climate shifts result in hailstones the size of grapefruit, a storm surge in New York City and tornadoes tearing up Los Angeles.
"The movie is fictional but climate change is real and happening right now," Greenpeace climate campaigner, Vanessa Atkinson cautions.
Temperatures in New Zealand have been steadily rising since the 1970's. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) predicts that climate change will lead to even warmer temperatures here, with fewer frosts and cold days.
Glaciers are melting with the Franz Joseph, Fox and other glaciers retreating and snowlines shifting upwards. The east will get dryer and the west wetter as climate change continues to hit New Zealand. Jim Salinger, a top NIWA scientist, has already warned that New Zealand should prepare for more severe storms such as the one that caused massive flooding across the country in February this year.
Atkinson hopes the movie will encourage New Zealanders to think about their role in climate change and the impacts on their environment. "We know that burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas is the main contributor to climate change. Yet New Zealand is moving into a phase where it will be burning more coal for electricity than at any other time in its history."
"This movie comes at a critical time, as the future of our energy supply is hotly debated with Maui gas running out and Project Aqua no longer on the cards. New Zealand needs to develop a sustainable energy strategy, including developing wind and other renewable energy sources."
The upcoming Renewables 2004 is an excellent opportunity for New Zealand to join with other countries to kick start the renewable energy revolution. Greenpeace is calling on world leaders to commit to gaining 20% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020, and to set regional and national renewable energy targets.
Greenpeace attended the preview of the movie on the 18 May and has launched a website that is a parody of the official Day After Tomorrow website: Http://Www.Thedayistoday.Co.Nz
A high resolution version of the attached Auckland skyline poster can be downloaded from: http://www.thedayistoday.org.nz/site/images/auckland_poster.jpg