Last Night’s TV – Hot Planet

by Lynn Connolly

hot planet

When I saw this programme, I thought it was yet another lecture, and it was, but I have to say, this one really was pretty alarming.

It didn’t try to soften the blow in any way, it just told it like it frighteningly is, so it jolted me out of my green fatigue slumber by explaining that the earth only needs to heat up by a couple more degrees and we’re kinda doomed.

Of course we all know we’re doomed anyway, and there’s that whole Copenhagen thing going on, and the BBC are obsessing about it, but the other programmes in this climate series have gilded the rotten lilly somewhat, so in that regard, this show was a bit of a wake up call.

We heard that in ten years time, the earth will be one degree warmer than it is now, which at first, prompted me to think, “oo, big whoop, yawn,” However, when I then heard that a two-degree rise would lead to cities such as New York being devastated by hurricanes and Bangladesh being destined to a watery grave – and of course some 35 million displaced global citizens with nowhere to go – it did make me a tad fretful.

Mind you, I have had my husband going on for weeks now about what could happen in 2012 and how we might all be doomed then anyway, so perhaps we’ll all be long gone before all this horror is bestowed upon us.

But if we’re not, we can expect a 23ft rise in sea levels and the release of around 1,500 billion tonnes of CO2. Fun times.

However, as jarring as the content of this show was, I have to wonder just how many TV presenters are adding to the world’s eco problems by traveling around it to tell us about it. For this show, Kathy Sykes went all over the place to show us new innovations in planet saving technology, however, the conclusion was that they’re all too expensive to work on a global scale anyway, so it was a tad pointless; a bit of a look-what-you-coulda-won moment.

And it did make statements of the glaringly obvious rather often, such as, “Below the earth’s surface, it’s incredibly hot.” And it raked over ‘old news’ climate-wise for a big chunk of the film, but again, it did what it intended to do. Shock.

That said, I can live without seeing many more of these programmes. I know on a personal level, we can all do our bit to help save the world from these horrible fates, but let’s be honest, making sure our used milk cartons go into the recycling bin and turning off a few lights isn’t going to make a huge impact when factories, cars, planes and even space travel are all doing their bit to smash the ozone layer to smithereens.

It does all feel a bit hopeless and if there’s a danger to be had from shows of this ilk, it’s perhaps that it becomes tempting to think that the little things we all routinely do – such as recycling – are the proverbial p**s into the wind.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.