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Heaven and Hell

   1980    Science
Sagan discusses comets and asteroids as planetary impactors, giving recent examples of the Tunguska event and a lunar impact described by Canterbury monks in 1178. It moves to a description of the environment of Venus, from the previous fantastic theories of people such as Immanuel Velikovsky to the information gained by the Venera landers and its implications for Earth's greenhouse effect. The Cosmos Update highlights the connection to global warming.
Series: Cosmos

The World Set Free

   2014    Nature
This episode explores the nature of the greenhouse effect (discovered by Joseph Fourier and Svante Arrhenius), and the evidence demonstrating the existence of global warming from humanity's influence. Tyson begins by describing the long-term history of the planet Venus; based on readings from the Venera series of probes to the planet, the planet had once had an ocean and an atmosphere, but due to the release of carbon dioxide from volcanic eruptions, the runaway greenhouse effect on Venus caused the surface temperatures to increase and boiled away the oceans. Tyson then notes the delicate nature of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can influence Earth's climate due to the greenhouse effect, and that levels of carbon dioxide have been increasing since the start of the 20th century. Evidence has shown this to be from mankind's consumption of oil, coal, and gas instead of from volcanic eruptions due to the isotopic signature of the carbon dioxide. The increase in carbon dioxide has led to an increase in temperatures, in turn leading to positive feedback loops of the melting polar ice caps and dethawing of the permafrost to increase carbon dioxide levels. Tyson then notes that humans have discovered means of harvesting solar power, such as Augustin Mouchot's solar-driven motor in the 19th century, and Frank Shuman's solar-based steam generator in the 1910's. Tyson points out that in both cases, the economics and ease of using cheap coal and oil caused these inventions to be overlooked at the time. Today, solar and wind-power systems would be able to collect enough solar energy from the sun easily. Tyson then compares the motivation for switching to these cleaner forms of energy to the efforts of the Space race and emphasizes that it is not too late for humanity to correct its course.
Series: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Earth: Venus Evil Twin

   2015    Science
There is a hellish planet in our solar system; covered in thick dense clouds and roasted by colossal temperatures. It will be inevitable that the Earth will someday not only be like Venus, but actually put it to shame. A billion years from now, Earth's oceans will boil off, triggering a runaway greenhouse effect, and the temperature will be so high, its all surface will melt. In the distance future, Earth could be the evil twin of Venus. To understand how our world will be destroyed we need to look at what happened to Venus.
Series: How the Universe Works Season 4

Coming of Age In The Anthropocene

   2020    Nature
At 11 o'clock on New Year's Eve of the Cosmic Calendar, Homo erectus stood up for the first time, freeing its hands and earning the species its name. They began to move around, to explore, daring to risk everything to get to unknown places. Our Neanderthal relatives lived much as we did and did many of the things we consider to be 'human.' More restless than their cousins the Neanderthals and Denisovans, our Homo sapiens ancestors crossed seas and unforgiving landscapes, changing the land, ocean and atmosphere, leading to mass extinction. The scientific community gave our age a new name, 'Anthropocene.'
Since the first civilizations we've wondered if there's something about human nature that contains the seeds of our destruction. Syukuro Manabe was born in rural Japan and took an intense interest in Earth's average global temperature. In the 1960's, he would assemble the evidence he needed to predict the increase of Earth's temperature due to greenhouse gases until it becomes an uninhabitable and toxic environment, leading to our extinction. 'This doesn't have to be,' says Neil deGrasse Tyson, 'it's not too late. There's another hallway, another future we can still have; we'll find a way.'
Series: Cosmos: Possible Worlds

The Last Dance
The Last Dance

   2020    Culture
Planet Earth
Planet Earth

   2007    Nature
Apocalypse: World War 1
Apocalypse: World War 1

   2014    History
Himalaya with Michael Palin
Himalaya with Michael Palin

   2004    Culture
Becoming Human
Becoming Human

   2010    History
The Story of Science
The Story of Science

   2010    History
Natural World
Natural World

   2017    Nature
Senna
Senna

   2010    Culture