Climate change in popular culture

Climate change in popular culture

The issue of climate change and global warming, its possible effects, and related human-environment interaction have entered popular culture since the late 20th century.

Science historian Naomi Oreskes has noted that "there's a huge disconnect between what professional scientists have studied and learned in the last 30 years, and what is out there in the popular culture".[1] An academic study contrasts the relatively rapid acceptance of ozone depletion as reflected in popular culture with the much slower acceptance of the scientific consensus on global warming.[2]



  • Carbon Nation is a 2010 documentary film
  • The Age of Stupid (2009) drama-documentary-animation hybrid starring Pete Postlethwaite as a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, watching archive footage from 2008 and asking "Why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?"
  • The Arrival (1996) starring Charlie Sheen. Extraterrestrial aliens attempt to secretly cause global warming and thereby terraform Earth into an environment more suited to their needs.


  • Arctic Drift (2008) by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler. A thriller involving attempts to reverse global warming, a possible war between the US and Canada, and “a mysterious silvery mineral traced to a long-ago expedition in search of the fabled Northwest Passage.”[3]
  • Solar (2010) by Ian McEwan follows the story of a physicist who discovers a way to fight climate change after managing to derive power from artificial photosynthesis.[6]
  • The Stone Gods (2007) by Jeanette Winterson. This novel opens on the planet Orbus, a world very like Earth, running out of resources and suffering from the severe effects of climate change. Inhabitants of Orbus hope to take advantage of possibilities offered by a newly-discovered planet, Planet Blue, which appears perfect for human life.[7]


  • Star Trek: The Next Generation had two such global-warming themed episodes:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Déjà Q (1990) - The crew suggests an artificial amplification of global warming using greenhouse gases to counter the cooling effects of dust from the impact of a moon on a planet.
    • The Inner Light (1992) - Jean-Luc Picard lives a lifetime on a planet experiencing Global Warming and aridification. Ultimately the climate change becomes serious enough to threaten all life on the planet. This Hugo Award winner is among the 5 most popular out of all 178 episodes in the TNG series.
  • The 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon has four episodes dealing with global warming. In Shredder's Mom, Shredder and Krang use a mirror fixed to a satellite to warm up the Earth if the political leaders do not surrender to them. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles get help from General Yogure to stop them. In Northern Lights Out a man named Eric Red in Norway plans to melt the polar ice cap and flood all the coastal cities on the Earth by blowing up underground volcanoes, which will make it "easy" for Eric Red and his gang to take over the Earth. In A Real Snow Job, set in the Alps in Austria, Krang and Shredder use a Zoetropic wave device to melt the worlds' ice, flooding the coastal cities and making the Earth easy for Krang and Shredder to take over. In Too Hot to Handle, Vernon Fenwick's nephew Foster has an invention that brings the Earth closer to the Sun, a "Solar Magnet".
  • The 1980s Transformers animated series had at least one global-warming themed episode: "Revenge of Bruticus." There, the Combaticons (a faction of the series' main villains, the Decepticons, created by rebel Decepticon Starscream) use the Space Bridge device to hurl Earth toward the sun, hoping to destroy the Earth and all enemies. The Autobots are forced to help the humans endure the heat while putting aside their differences with the Decepticons in a race against time to restore Earth to its natural orbit.

Comic books

Video games

  • Fuel (2009 video game) is a racing video game set in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by extreme weather fueled by global warming.

Related videos


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