The Trick, BBC 1, BBC iPlayer, Writer Owen Sheers and Director Pip Broughton

A drama based on a true story has to be factual—with lots of room for interpretation—for script writer Owen Sheers and Director Pip Broughton.

Man-made climate change brought about by burning fossil fuels is simpler and more complex. We are reliant on experts to interpret the world for us. We are reliant on scientists. But it’s a simple yes or no answer, like does gravity exist?

Let’s try a different question. Do you want your children and grandchildren to live?

COP 26 is in Glasgow this November. The 26th meeting of world leaders to discuss climate change and do nothing about it, but prevaricate and lie. Or as the modern Jeremiah, Greta Thunberg declared at a rally in London on October 2018, ‘Almost everything is Black and White.’ Britain, where the Industrial Revolution begun has one of the largest global debts and burned more fossil fuels than most other countries, but continually lie about how we are meeting our targets by the creative accounting we’ve become familiar with.  

The ‘Climategate’ scandal in 2009 was something conspiracy theorists could get their teeth into. Professor Phil Jones (Jason Watkins) suffers from a meltdown when he finds he and his team of climatologists at the University of East Anglia emails have been hacked by climate-change deniers. Their contents cherry-picked. Jones, using a kind of short-hand, asks one colleague in an email exchange to manipulate historical date using ‘the trick’.  

Let’s jump ahead to when the data used by climatologists at the University of East Anglia was released and audited by climate-change deniers in California, including a maverick who had targeted Professor Jones and his team, bombarding them with Freedom of Information requests. The University of California published findings where consistent with Jones and his teams. Climate change does exist and is progressing the way described by leading climatologists and NASA scientists in the 1970s. Climate change deniers have slunk away to fight other battles where science is less robust.

Greta Thunberg believes ‘No One is Too Small to Make A Difference’ and if nations work together, we can make the Paris Agreement work and keep global warming below 1.5 degrees centigrade. I see no evidence for her assertion. I believe your children and grandchildren will die in their tens of millions, certainly in numbers exceeding the first and second world wars combined. She remains optimistic. I’m pessimistic. But I’m older, more conservative in these matters, and have less life in front of me.

‘What happens Phil for our children and their children?’

No numbers, just the consequences.

Well, by 2100, dustbowl conditions across North America and Africa, Asia, too. Sooner than that. A massive reduction in agricultural production. Access to drinking water. Migration in huge numbers. Bushfires on a massive scale, in Australia and the West Coast. Melting at the Poles. West Antarctica ice-sheets, because of that a global sea-level rise of meters.

What does that all mean for people? Make me see it, Phil.

In the worst-case scenario, 70 percent of the habitable world will no longer be able to sustain life anymore.  Coastal and delta cites underwater. If methane on sea bed and polar frost is released—the climate will collapse. And the world as we know it will be gone.