Documentaries We Like: Chasing Ice

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Friends don’t let friends continue to believe there’s no climate change when they could simply show them Chasing Ice. This is not only the most powerful visual evidence of global catastrophe imaginable, it’s also one of the most disarmingly beautiful and riveting films you may ever see. Features the work of the celebrated photographer James Balog, who himself was once a climate skeptic, and has now spent years documented humanity’s folly.

Opens around the US in November.

Here’s a preview. (Also watch the second trailer, with stylish end title vocals from Scarlett Johansson.)

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16 responses to “Documentaries We Like: Chasing Ice”

  1. […] Coral was directed and shot by Jeff Orlowski, whose 2012 Chasing Iceessentially proved the reality of climate change to anyone with an open mind. Now he’s done the […]

  2. roberta4343 says:

    I know people want to believe a warmer earth is somehow our fault (it is not amazing how powerful we puny humans are yet we cant stop a tornado yet we can alter a complex system of a whole planet)it is good to remember humans thrive better in warmer climes then colder ones, this whole idea that a cooler earth is somehow a less hostile earth is a myth, at one time the earth was warm pole to pole, that is why they find warm weather species like the mammoth, I wont argue it is not a cold weather animal, it has hair not fur eat plants not meat, orange trees and lemon trees in siberia. the warmer the earth is the less severe storms become due to less contrast between cold and hot is which is what causes storms. the more moisture in the air due to warmer air means more moisture in areas that normally don’t get rain, the more plant growth in norther lattitudes the more moisture given off, via respiration, and oxygen as well. and the more hospitable for all life it becomes, why people accept a warmer earth as some kind of doomsday is beyond me.

  3. Finbarrr says:

    As others have pointed out, the british met office have just said it hasn’t warmed in 16 years. This is not incompatible with melting ice: if the average temperature is 0.1 celcius ice will melt, that does not mean it is getting warmer.

  4. Mr. M. says:

    The temperature of the earth hasn’t risen in 15 years or so. The environmental movement was hijacked in the 1980’s by the far left. The climate is always changing and when I hear that the science is settled and dissent is marginalized – I take notice. All of these “movements” seem to tell the regular citizen to alter his habits – not the habits of the Transnational Corporations who have tanker ships that push out more CO2 than all the cars on earth combined.
    Sorry – AGW went too far and when Big Gov started making money off of it as well as their corporate cronies – they lost me. Mr. Baker, you should do what you do well and do an investigative piece on the scientists shown in the BBC’s “The Global Warming Swindle” – and if they’re in Big Oil payroll you may change my mind.

  5. Fred says:

    Umm, Russ, hey, the UK Met Office just released the latest comprehensive global temperature data- there’s been no warming for the past 16 years, conclusive? Perhaps not, but it sure makes all the chicken little types look like big fat liars.

  6. Jon says:

    Climate change is real and human are the cause. But it must be put into perspective, especially GW Bush’s blatant political interference into science…
    This was evident in 2004 when:

    …over 62 leading scientists–Nobel laureates, leading
    medical experts, former federal agency directors, and university chairs and
    presidents–signed the statement below, voicing their concern about the misuse
    of science by the Bush administration. Over the next four years, 15,000 U.S.
    scientists added their names in support of restoring scientific integrity in
    policymaking. (1)

    They go on to say

    When scientific knowledge has been found to be in
    conflict with its political goals, the administration has often manipulated the
    process through which science enters into its decisions. This has been done by
    placing people who are professionally unqualified or who have clear conflicts
    of interest in official posts and on scientific advisory committees; by
    disbanding existing advisory committees; by censoring and suppressing reports
    by the government’s own scientists; and by simply not seeking independent
    scientific advice. Other administrations have, on occasion, engaged in such
    practices, but not so systematically nor on so wide a front. Furthermore, in
    advocating policies that are not scientifically sound, the administration has
    sometimes misrepresented scientific knowledge and misled the public about the
    implications of its policies. (1)

  7. Rob says:

    It looks like a beautiful film, but documenting retreating glaciers only proves that the planet’s climate has warmed since the end of the little ice age about 150 years ago. That’s it. It doesn’t prove that man is the cause. That’s just an assumption that’s made, not a proven point.
    I’ve seen the Columbia Ice Fields with my own eyes, and the signs showing how far its retreated in the last 100+ years. I’ve also seen the Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park, just this last summer. If you want to talk about whether glaciers are growing or receding, I agree the evidence is undeniable. We know they are. Just because we know the victim’s dying doesn’t mean we know how or why.
    If man is the culprit, then why is it that CO2 concentrations peaked at about 440 ppm in both 1940 and 1820, while they are far below that today. This is from direct sampling, not ice core data, which is unreliable. ( see here if you think I’m just making this up: )
    I’d like to see the film for its photography and its documenting of natural history as it unfolds. In that respect, it looks pretty amazing, but let’s not jump to conclusions here.

    • edwardrynearson says:

      The planet warming also accelerates the release of methane stores. Methane is a more powerful green house gas than carbon dioxide.

  8. MattC says:

    The issue is not whether its occuring – it is. The issue is how much of it can be attributed to man made climate change vs solar change. The science has not resolved this yet. Its far too early to say. Do we need to do something – well yes it makes sense to look after mother earth. Do we allow these untrustworthy governments hijack this fact and make money off it? Thats my problem with this whole thing. That issue right there. How about we start enforcing electric cars or making corporates wear the cost.

    • antoinepgrew says:

      “The issue is not whether its occuring – it is. The issue is how much of it can be attributed to man made climate change vs solar change. The science has not resolved this yet. Its far too early to say.”

      I concur. The following is a transcript of an interview on The Green Front with Dr. Richard Muller, Lead scientist, Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project, after his late July 2012 NYT op-ed saying that humans were the cause of global warming. He says that these large changes we’re experiencing “are not due to two thirds of one degree Celsius.” Two thirds of one degree Celsius is the amount the *climate* has warmed on average since 1880, based on actual observable data, not models.

      The actual radio interview is here:

      He also points out that the poles warm more than the equator. The Antarctic sea ice and the arctic sea ice oscillate. Right now the Antarctic is at a record thickness and has been growing ever so slightly every year since 1996 or 1997. Before that, the polar sea ice conditions were reversed.

      Then you have the recent announcement (July 2012) of the increase of glacial ice in the Karakoram Range, which is 3% of the world’s total ice-covered area, excluding Greenland and Antarctica. The famous and dangerous K2 mountain (28,251 feet) is in the Karakoram Range.

      “The glaciers in the Karakoram Range between northern Pakistan and western China have actually grown, rather than shrinking” between 1999 and 2008. Also surprisingly, at least to me,”Only a few hundred of the roughly 200,000 glaciers worldwide have been monitored for a decade or more.” It was a surprise to the French glaciologists, as reported in Nature Geoscience. Previous measurements were taken at ground level. The new super-sensitive twin Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment, or GRACE, satellites allowed them to measure ice growth at high altitudes.

      The report also says that “According to the GRACE data, total sea level rise from all land-based ice on Earth including Greenland and Antarctica was roughly 1.5 millimeters per year annually or about 12 millimeters, or one-half inch, from 2003 to 2010.” That’s an average of 150 millimeters per century, or 5.9 inches.–actually-gaining-new-ice.html

      The USGS reports that the “Hubbard Glacier is the largest of eight calving glaciers in Alaska that are currently increasing in total mass and advancing.” Hubbard is the largest calving glacier on the North American continent. It’s 25% larger than Rhode Island.

      So this notion that the science is settled is premature. While a fool can doubt that it’s warming, the idea that it’s catastrophic is equally foolish until we see some extrapolated evidence of it.

      EDIT: Also this about a month ago: “NASA says Arctic cyclone played “key role” in record ice melt”

    • Russ Baker says:

      Suggest you go see this film. I think you’ll find–as did everyone in the audience–that it settles the matter right before your eyes. No need to keep quoting stats and experts. And get ready to change your personal lifestyle.

    • MattC says:

      Hmmm. Its very easy to paste together affected areas and portray armageddon (ever seen Al Gores magnum opus?). A wider view is needed and that includes stats and experts unfortunately. Earths climate is such an enormous complex system that I fear that its a bit beyond mans capability to even fathom understanding it at this point. Im more interested in how man is looking to address how his society is structured so he sees himself as a related part of his environment. The last 400 years has seen man see himself as separate from his environment, his fellow man and any spirtual wholeness. As long as I know I dont have to deal with anyone elses problems we’ll have to continue marching off this cliff and to be honest for the earths sake shes probably hoping we do at this point. The earth will get on with it. We on the other hand will get our just desserts.

    • MattC says:

      I see there were no time lapse cameras in Antarctica. Is that correct? Pretty important as Antarctica is 2.5 times larger than the US in landmass and guess what – its gaining Ice mass. I know! Crazy right? Its almost like someone is moving all that Arctic stuff to the Antarctic. Anyway the point is these changes are changing in ways we just cant understand yet.

    • antoinepgrew says:


      I *am* going to see the film. But for the record, I’m not married to a personal view of the climate. If we’re going to fry by the end of the century, per Hansen’s models, then that’s what’s going to happen. If we’re going to be beset by extreme events, then that will happen too. Unlike a lot of people I know personally, I spent a portion of my life growing up around indigenous people and the Inuit, the most gentle people of the “Enchanted Land.” (Check out their version of the Olympics: whoever has the most fun, wins.) There was an elder who remembered the stories from her ancestors of the time when the Arctic had no ice, and they ran races in boats across the top of the world. These were ‘live’ stories. They could read the messages from Spirit in the aurora borealis. When I was a kid, I thought everyone saw pink and green lights massaging the fullness of the night, to the rhythm of a sonata. I remember five foot moguls of snow along each side of the sidewalk walking home from school…in May. I don’t entertain urban certitude (or rectitude) about climate. I saw the wonder, and for me, that talk with God is not settled, the power of its presence and statement is too daunting. So mock me all you want about stats and experts. I’ve learned to be circumspect. Plus ça change….

    • edwardrynearson says:

      I took my daughter to see Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and it settled the matter for me before I realized that Al Gore had positioned himself to make hundreds of millions of dollars setting up the carbon tax trading system. I don’t dispute that the climate is changing (note the term was changed from global warming to global climate change).Ten thousand years ago where I sit hammering this into my laptop there was over a thousand feet of ice. Unfortunately, Fukushima and the hundreds of Fukushima’s soon to follow make this problem all but irrelevant. I would appreciate those concerned about the environment shifting their attention to the three melting reactors at the edge of the sea.

    • Orangutan. says:

      Well said. That’s about how I feel as well. The large energy conglomerates are raping this Earth for every last ounce of profit during the Peak Oil phase. Suppression and ignorance of alternative energies is infuriating. Nikola Tesla was the boss. Hemp should be legal and utilized. Thorium Reactors should be looked into and built. Solar energy etc.

      Fuck greedy politicians like Al Gore and Enron type people wanting to implement some complex taxing scheme to screw over the people even more for their own profits.

      We are the 99%. Your words sum up my viewpoint on the issue very well. Pretty simple.