Ice and the Sky (2015) Movie Script

Ice And The Sky
Claude Lorius,
you were first to prove...'s role in climate
change 30 years ago.
Claude Lorius, you are 82.
We welcome Claude Lorius...
...director emeritus of research
at CNRS in glaciology.
You decoded messages
in the ice.
There is no progress.
Your 30-year-old predictions
have been proven.
Why me?
Is it luck?
Is it fate?
Meeting people, without whom
I could have done nothing?
My name is Claude Lorius.
I'm now 82, and staggered
to see the impact...
...our discoveries can have.
I have seen...
...that man, in the
space of a lifetime... burning oil, wood and coal
is changing the Earth's climate.
I went back thousands of years
to check that...
...what I had discovered
wasn't just a quirk of nature.
I sought hard, to sweep away
any lingering doubts.
I am now an old man, sad to see
that history has proved him right.
All our predictions
are coming true.
Polar ice caps and
glaciers melting...
...islands submerged by water,
burning forests...
...redirected sea currents...
...storms, more of them,
and more violent.
And behind them all, the men
and women who suffer.
Science allows me
to see the future.
I'm going to tell you
what I have seen.
I'm going to tell you my story.
It all began for me
on 31 October 1956.
French polar expedition
seeks young student...
...for a year-long scientific
mission in the Antarctic.
Candidates must be in excellent
physical condition...
...and have a taste for adventure.
When I see myself now...
What a stroke of luck!
At the age of 23,
I was off around the world.
I got to know the strange
...I was to live with for a year.
A great challenge lay ahead...
...studying an entire continent,
the Antarctic.
The Middle-East had closed Suez... we had to cross two oceans...
...carrying out the rites
of passage...
...observed since
the dawn of time.
It's hard to describe the fervor
gripping my shipmates and I.
The war was over, we had a
thirst for life and knowledge.
A fierce competition was
growing between nations... reach and claim the
world's last virgin territories.
It seems amazing now...
...but 60 years ago,
when we set sail...
...we knew nothing about
the Antarctic.
The first wave of heroic
explorers had been and gone.
Now it was time for
the scientists to move in.
I realize with hindsight...
...that this was a unique
moment in human history.
Never has man felt so powerful
as he did in the 50s and 60s...
...when I began my service.
Machines invented for war...
...were put to use by science,
opening the doors... unexplored lands.
The highest peaks were being
conquered, one by one.
Legends gave way
to sensationalist articles
and tales of exploration,
20,000 leagues under the sea.
The Anthropocene era
was beginning... which humans have
sole rule over the planet...
...unaware that "progress"
comes at a cost.
The world seemed vast
and inexhaustible.
Yet unbeknownst to us,
the natural balance...
...had already been shattered.
Man was about to
have his first view...
...of the Earth from space
unique and fragile.
And I thought I was heading off
on an adventure.
It took us a month and a half
to reach our first port of call...
I spared a thought
for the sailors...
...who first came here
200 years ago.
After weeks at sea,
I could see why the charm of
these islands moved some to desert.
From this moment on...
...I would be 23 till
the end of my days.
Forever consumed
by this unforgettable sight.
I can still feel the cold
I refused to yield to...
...and smell the salt and burnt
diesel that lifted my heart.
You don't see the Antarctic
coming, you fight your way in.
The endless coastline
blurs into the horizon.
Dumont d'Urville,
the French scientific base...
...built alongside
the Antarctic cliffs.
Everything was astounding.
First, the welcome from the locals.
Just one step on
a voyage so long...
...that nothing ever seemed
far away again.
Many more weeks of travel...
...lay ahead before reaching
the Charcot base.
It's odd to see a year of one's
life in just a few crates.
A year in the world's largest...
...wilderness with
no supplies available.
I fretted
I might have forgotten something.
Thinking about Charcot now...
...its where my vocation
as a glaciologist began.
Mostly it's where I discovered... lifelong passion
for polar expeditions.
My posting was part of
International Geophysical Year...
...a huge, global study campaign.
There was particular focus...
...on the Antarctic.
More than 40 scientific
...had been specially constructed.
Mine was probably the smallest...
...and most remote.
The hitches came thick and fast.
A veritable baptism of fire.
After one mishap,
I was ordered to lighten our load.
I understood the meaning
of the word "renouncement".
I remember the tumbling
Doors were opened... prevent condensation
freezing on the windscreen.
I soon realized the gulf here...
...between the possible
and the feasible.
Stretching the legs
was an ordeal...
...with every step leading
further into oblivion.
On the 7th day,
the wind speed exceeded 200km/hr.
Sleep was impossible.
The temperature in the cabin
was -18C.
It was ten days
before the skies cleared.
The work-out did me good.
I felt ten years older.
One sled became unusable.
No time for repairs.
Its load had to be abandoned:
scientific equipment
and some personal effects.
The track disappeared... we groped our way along
the Antarctic plateau.
It sometimes took hours
to find beacons.
After a 28-day trek...
...I finally saw the Charcot masts.
Charcot was more like a termites'
nest than a scientific base.
But it was well
equipped and in order.
24m, heated to barely 8C.
A veritable palace
after a month spent... cramped, freezing
snow vehicles.
Only three of us stayed on.
The others were
anxious to get back...
...afraid of being trapped
by the winter.
I had a strange lump in my throat.
See you in a year, all going well.
I could hear the wind,
the bell atop the mast.
The sole remaining familiar sounds.
For the first time,
I felt master of a kingdom.
In our hurry to press on
with our studies...
...we neglected our base.
We were starting from scratch.
No scientist had ever gathered any
meteorological or geophysical data.
We had the faith of pioneers.
Every reading, every observation
brought me intense pleasure...
...heightened by the pride
of being the first.
It was breathtaking.
The soundings revealed
the outlines...
...of valleys and mountains
buried for millions of years...
...beneath 2,000 meters of ice.
A continent engulfed.
I grasped the scope
of the power...
...of science, of the invisible.
I was hooked
on the thrill of discovery.
My fate was sealed.
After a few weeks
we noticed with horror that our
gear was sinking into the snow.
We had to mark and store it
before it became irretrievable.
We dug yards of tunnels
to create warehouses.
Science had to wait.
We had almost forgotten,
it was a matter of survival.
Then the blizzard toppled
my observation tower.
I was desperate.
My entire program was at risk.
Only with the support
of my comrades...
...was I able to retrieve
the situation.
With every rung I cursed
the idiot who designed the tower.
Another bolt, another burn,
the metal sticking to my fingers.
I vowed to make him
pay for the torture...
...with every removal
of my gloves.
The weeks went by,
we settled into a routine.
A communal meal was taken
in the evenings.
Roland cooked...
...while Jacques sent back data
by radio.
To hold on, we fostered a spirit
of camaraderie and solidarity.
We lived, worked and slept... our single heated room,
with zero privacy.
Bad moods were outlawed.
They would have made
our lives hell.
Our dress sense featured plenty
of frayed edges and holes.
With no water,
we soon gave up washing clothes...
...discarding them when worn out.
Steamed poulard of Bresse.
Roasted scallops,
Cromesqui shellfish.
Browned sweetbread,
truffled potatoes.
Tournedos Rossini, chateaubriand,
Rubinette apples, hare la Royale,
Burgundy wines.
Without realizing it,
I was starting to... things I would
keep up all my life.
Charcot had snow,
so I studied the crystals.
At first in a basic way, to see
if I could find anything new.
Why were the summer snow squalls
finer than the winter ones?
Their thickness told
of snowy winters...
...or long periods with
no precipitation.
I realized that
no two were the same.
Each singular form
had its own story to tell.
Intact in their youth, they fill
out and are transformed...
...crushed beneath
the weight of fresh snow.
I imagined a journey that
I would later learn to measure...
...I watched them slide
imperceptibly towards the depths.
Ice is a river whose stillness
is but an appearance.
It takes a flake 50,000 years
to reach the coast...
...before settling on the ocean.
Split by the tides,
they become icebergs.
Warm seas push and
then melt them.
Once water, they set off
on a great ocean voyage.
Taken by the sun,
they become vapor...
...and return to the sky
to maybe fall here again... a timescale that reduces
my existence to nothingness.
In the end, our year
went by quickly.
I keep the memory of the heady
and windless polar nights.
I've never seen as many stars
as I did in the Antarctic sky.
The memory of the Aurora Australis
still gives me goosebumps.
I endured the barely tolerable
extreme cold... enjoy it for as
long as possible.
I remember our last
night at Charcot...
...ears instinctively lulled by
the familiar hum of our recorders.
I listened to them one last time,
with a sense of accomplishment.
For the first time in history... had joined forces
to take the pulse of our planet...
...with no regard for
race or nationality.
We were among them,
as one with our colleagues...
...doing the same work as us
all over the Antarctic... Tahiti, Venezuela
or Vladivostok.
We were relieved
a year after our arrival... a critical
physical condition...
...suffering scurvy and
snow blindness.
But so happy to see new faces.
Farewell, Charcot.
A year later, the oncoming glacier
forced the base to be abandoned.
Crushed by the ice, it still
slides gently towards the coast.
I climbed aboard
with a single-minded...
...determination to return.
I was gripped by a strange virus:
a passion for the Antarctic.
This morning president
Ren Coty...
...welcomed members of the French
expedition to Adlie Land... who have risked
their lives for science...
...and the glory of France.
Arriving from Melbourne
on L'Arcadia...
...our explorers could at last
embrace loved ones...
...left behind 16 months ago.
Our heroes of science are home.
Look at their emotion!
I shall never forget Charcot.
I went there without a thought...
...and came home with
a unique view of the world...
...enriched by the time
I had there to think.
With hindsight the experience
has marked my entire life... relationships,
my passion for science...
...and above all the empathy
I have for the planet I live on.
I saw it in all its
splendor and power...
...never imagining that
my every step towards knowledge...
...would reveal the vision
of a world...
...increasingly ravaged
by humanity.
Back in France... reunion with friends
and family was a joy.
But I was consumed by the urge
to return to the polar regions.
I had heard about Swiss
and Danish glaciologists...
...obtaining remarkable results
in Greenland...
...using a new instrument:
the mass spectrometer.
I elected to write a thesis...
...adapting their protocols
to the Antarctic.
By October 1959,
I was back in the Great South.
Another stroke of luck!
The French government offered to
let me do my military service... part of an exploratory
mission to Victoria Land.
This was an American
scientific expedition.
I was to work in glaciology
alongside eight explorers...
...of five different nationalities.
I was the most experienced.
The flight over
the trans-Arctic mountains...
...was magnificent.
I was now an explorer!
At Charcot, we were 300km inland.
Here, 2,500km of uncharted land
awaited us.
Our mission was to describe
and understand.
After only a few days
we realized...
...we had ventured into
a vast tract of crevasses.
It was impossible to turn back.
We had come too far.
Every step was a
potential death trap.
That same day we learned
that two New Zealanders...
...had just died on
a similar mission.
Despite the risks, the convoy
stopped every 50km to allow us... carry out our
scientific work.
But it was hell!
I strove to control... burning fingers
and chattering teeth...
...when precision was called for.
A hundred times a day
I contained the urge... fling my notebook
into the raging wind.
Soon all that would remain
would be a list of points...
...on a table of figures,
a nugget in a pile of ore.
But a single flawed reading
would undermine...
...the whole set of results.
Regular, flawless data was needed.
I often felt ready to quit.
You never really get warm.
The cabins smelled of
wet socks...
...instant soup, and exhaust fumes,
when we wanted a little heat.
Every day wore us down
a little more.
Whenever we set to cooking...
...the condensation drenched
our clothes and sleeping bags.
When we tired of being dirty,
we made a little water...
...for a perfunctory wash.
Any respite was an opportunity
to take the air.
Minus 25C with no wind
felt like a heatwave.
I was fascinated by our capacity
to bear the unbearable.
The crevasse detectors
were totally ineffective.
Even hand probes were unreliable.
We crawled along.
To hang in one more day,
to venture just a little farther...
...describe, understand,
describe, understand...
The quest for knowledge
kept us sane.
We had been gone 100 days.
We frantically sought a way
through the edges...
...of the trans-Antarctic
mountains barring our way to...
...the sea where
a ship awaited us.
Where we were,
the map said only "uncharted zone".
I and three companions scouted from
atop one of the surrounding peaks.
The climb did me good.
Like kids, we gave names
to the mountains.
Thus on maps of the Antarctic
there now appears a Mount Lorius.
Geographers, it seems,
took our game seriously.
Is it not the privilege
of explorers?
We went no further.
Both men and materials
were in such a state...
...that the US authorities
decided to repatriate us.
There was only one flight.
I forwent all my
personal possessions... favor of my precious samples.
Paris, five months later.
The snows of Victoria Land speak.
The spectrometer plunges me
for the first time...
...into the invisible
world of atoms.
Snow contains two different
forms of hydrogen...
...heavy and light.
Snow that falls during
cold weather...
...contains a lot of
light hydrogen.
During warmer spells,
mostly the heavier form is found.
I discover that the ratio
between the two...
...precisely follows
temperature graduation.
The isotopic thermometer was born:
an amazing discovery.
Thereafter a spectrometric
analysis of a sample...
...of snow or ice would be enough
to obtain a precise reading...
...of the ambient temperature
the day the snow fell...
...even if it occurred
thousands of years ago.
The doors of past
weather were open.
I now had to find the deepest
and thus the oldest ice.
I wanted to know what
temperature it was formed at... my quest to describe
how climate has evolved.
In 1962,
age 30 and finishing my thesis...
...I joined a small research team.
Ice is like a book... which each new snowfall
adds another page to the story.
The earliest pages...
...are the deepest...
...and therefore the
most inaccessible.
Plunging into history
became an obsession.
I was determined to find a way
to bring to the surface...
...samples of ice lurking in these
abysses since the dawn of time.
In the Alps
we tried using drills...
...that had been designed
to pierce rock.
I worked with engineers
to develop a tool capable of...
...procuring samples
at very great depths.
It was trial and error.
The months went by.
Eventually a first prototype
was developed.
It was time to try it out
in the Antarctic ice.
Many improvements
were still required.
Claude Lorius, tomorrow you head
to Adlie Land for 16 months.
It wasn't an easy decision.
Eight years ago when
I began my career... wasn't an issue for me.
Now that I'm married
with children...'s obviously an important
I have always been torn
between my passion for my job...
...and my family life.
My 22 polar missions
are the equivalent of 10 years...
...spent in rudimentary
yet exhilarating conditions.
Over there, far from everyone... is full of challenges
and fraternity.
I returned to Adlie Land
with great joy...
...recalling my spell in Charcot.
Eight years had gone by.
This time I was to be head
of the base for over a year.
It was a chance for me to try
out the new drilling equipment...
...on the glacier near the base,
before taking it... the remote Antarctic plateau.
One evening after a difficult
drilling trial...
...we had a drink with a
newly-arrived Australian colleague.
Someone took some
ice from the corer...
...declaring that
the hard-won sample...
...deserved to end up
in our whisky.
The thermal shock released
the air trapped in the ice.
Air from the past.
Trapped in every layer of snow
is the memory...
...of the climate it was born in.
Tiny capsules of
atmospheric fossils...
...that have traversed time.
Why hadn't I thought of
it sooner?
An analysis of a series
of bubbles...
...taken from the whole
thickness of ice...
...would reveal the history of the
climate since the dawn of time.
It took another ten years of work
with Dominique, Jean, Liliane...
...and a number of other
researchers to prove it.
The next day, back at the base...
...I did not yet know
how important the idea was.
I was preparing for my second
nine-month spell in the Antarctic.
The year was 1964.
In 1965, I decided to put
all my efforts...
...into analyzing air bubbles,
alongside the other research... team was working on.
Our journey into the
climate of the past...
...led me into ever more
costly missions.
These diplomatic efforts...
...exasperated me,
keeping me away from the Antarctic.
We also sought to date
our samples... looking for dust
trapped in the snow.
Ice is a veritable natural
planetary clock.
Thus did we make an unexpected
and unsettling discovery.
During nuclear explosions...
...a certain number
of radioactive elements...
...are released into
the atmosphere.
Many return to earth around
the site of the explosion...
...but some are introduced
into the upper atmosphere...
...and travel around our globe.
These radioactive
elements in particular...
...are found in the layers of
snow at the polar regions.
We managed to date to the day
every nuclear explosion... the era of atomic weapons.
There is in this
white wilderness...
...never colonized by any living
being, humanity's signature...
...the bloody scars of
Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
We raised the alarm.
The major powers immediately
declared a moratorium...
...on atmospheric nuclear testing.
But for me it was
a crushing discovery.
Was no place on Earth
safe from the influence of man?
An image of the finite and
fragile nature of our planet...
...suddenly loomed in an
extraordinarily violent way.
During the 1970s...
...we began to suspect
that human activity...
...might be disrupting
the climate.
But irrefutable proof was required.
The international cooperation...
...fostered during
Geophysical Year endured.
With the Americans...
...and now the Russians,
I set up a mission at Dome C.
In 1974...
...I was 42.
My team now boasted
thirty or so researchers.
Our work progressed slowly.
Each stage needed new expeditions
to remote areas of the Antarctic.
We stopped at the South Pole
to acclimatize.
Such emotion!
In 1911,
barely 60 years earlier... had trekked here
for the first time...
...for the glory of
their countries.
Dome C, at an altitude
of 3,250 meters.
The annual mean temperature
is minus 51.7C.
An expanse of whiteness,
like an endless sea.
The air is so thin that just
a few steps leave you panting.
One of the most
inhospitable places...
...on earth...
except for glaciologists.
We spent two weeks
confirming aerial prospecting...
...suggesting the ice
was 3,500 meters thick...
...offering hundreds of
thousands of years...
...of climate history
to decipher.
The annual snowfall was light,
barely 10cm a year.
Thus the ice at Dome C... a thick book of
many pages...
...written on fine paper.
Perfect for taking a journey
back in time.
We would attempt deep drilling
the following year.
On 15 January 1974, we closed
up the camp, raring to go.
At 7pm the temperature
was a mere minus 30C... the C-130 smoothly flew
in to repatriate us.
We opted to leave all our equipment
on site for our planned drilling.
Once the boosters had been set up,
we'd be off.
My future plans were taking shape.
Luckily no one was hurt.
Back to camp to call for help.
Hours of waiting ensued.
A second C-130 came,
we boarded it.
The last two planes
in the Antarctic...
...came to fetch us.
One remained in the air
as cover.
I was convinced the Americans
would walk away...
...likewise the mission's
financial and scientific partners.
The accident deeply affected me.
I was afraid...
...and the weight of responsibility
became a heavy burden.
Supposing people had died?
Should we continue, given the cost
and risks involved in drilling?
Yet preliminary results
were extremely promising.
Which only depressed me more.
The reaction of my friends at the
National Science Foundation... Washington astonished me.
Two aircraft out of commission
was collateral damage...
...and no reason to quit.
They regarded our drilling
as a worthwhile venture.
A series of missions ensued to
recover the two stranded C-130s...
...and we returned to Dome C
in December 1977...
...three years after
our first attempt.
For me,
a great deal was at stake.
Ten years' preparation had gone
into the three-month assignment.
We hoped to reach ice
from the last Ice Age...
...20,000 years ago.
I felt a strange mixture
of dread and excitement.
All my future research depended
on the successful operation...
...of this technological miracle:
the ice corer.
Drilling at one meter an hour,
we returned to the dawn of time.
Gathering fragments of time,
meter by meter.
The exhausting routine
went on for two months...
24 hours a day.
Preventing the corers from
becoming trapped in the ice...
...called for an amazing touch,
reacting to the
slightest anomaly... reversing the
drill before the... became permanently trapped.
I tried as best I could... hide my nervousness
from my companions.
We were exhausted by the cold
weather and incessant work.
The temperature in the lab
was minus 53C.
By the evening of January 1st,
we had reached 655 meters.
Our analysis showed
that we had...
...penetrated the ice of
the first Ice Age.
Two weeks later
we reached a depth of 900 meters.
We had to stop.
Our corer was unsuited
to such depths...
...and we were putting it
at risk.
We needed to design another...
...better adapted to working
in extremely deep ice.
Years of work were needed...
...before returning here.
A depth of 892 meters was
beyond our wildest dreams.
We were heading home...
...with 40,000 years
of climate history!
Before leaving...
...we played the world's most
southern football match ever.
The laboratory work
had barely begun.
For the first time we were able
to examine the composition...
...of the bubbles of air
trapped in the ice.
The CO2 was producing
a strange effect...
...when we reached the Ice Age.
We needed to go further.
And I knew where to go.
A whirlwind journey
to Vostok in 1974...
...had given me the germ of an idea
I had long secretly harbored.
Legend of the Antarctic!
The Earth's coldest,
most remote outpost.
A Russian base set up... a Dantesque expedition during
International Geophysical Year.
Beyond the back of beyond.
During the crossing, the Russians
ventured 1,500 kilometers...
...into the continent... reach the site
of the geomagnetic pole.
It was so cold, they had to
set fire to oil barrels...
...before it would turn liquid
enough to allow tanks to be filled.
One day in Vostok
the thermometer touched minus 90C.
Vostok was built on a huge dome,
one of the deepest.
Ice has been drilled
here ever since.
Yet another Cold War
trial of strength...
...being played out elsewhere
in the Antarctic.
I was 52.
Working on the Vostok corer
saved me five years...
...enough time to develop
our new ice corer.
While travelling
I made some very dear friends...
...both on the Soviet
and American sides.
I wasn't disoriented at Vostok.
It was like a pleasant return
to the Charcot of my youth.
No water,
a sauna every two weeks...
...bulletproof friendships...
We were all passionate
about our work.
The accumulation of ice here
is extraordinary.
But its thickness is but a barrier
between the greed of men...
...and the resources
buried deep below.
Fortunately men of science...
...had preserved the ice
almost as an act of conscience.
Despite the hateful Cold War
political climate... 1984 we set up
an extraordinary mission.
I shall never forget it.
American logistics
for French researchers... a Soviet base
in the middle of the Cold War.
In the world's
most remote region...
...we showed the contempt of
science for political divisions.
I had seen this ice stored
underground at minus 57C.
An ice corer pushed on to
a depth of over 2,000 meters.
The holy grail of glaciologists.
I hadn't forgotten.
The Russian drillers were amazing.
Deftly handling file or winch,
they were past masters... extricating jammed corers.
It saved them from the need
to sink another hole...
...losing precious years
of drilling...
...should a tube become trapped
in the ice.
Two things I shall never forget
about the well room...
...the kerosene and the vodka.
The smell of kerosene
impregnated bedrooms, kitchen...
But it was indispensable
in making drill-holes fluid.
And vodka was the only cure
the Russians had found...
...for the altitude sickness
that overcame newcomers.
We work closely together.
The Russians have managed...
...a feat of engineering,
sinking a corer... a depth of
over 2,000 meters.
This often calls for
an intense physical effort.
With my three colleagues,
Volodya, Michel and Jean-Robert...
...our routine was relentless.
We had twenty tonnes of ice
to take back to France.
Samples had to be sorted,
selected and packed.
Ten hours of work a day
at minus 57C.
Our first mission yielded
150,000-year-old ice.
Subsequent missions...
...produced ice samples
from 400,000 years ago.
The ice then undertook
an epic journey...
...a cold chain 15,000km long
on American plane...
...then Russian ship...
...then refrigerated French
truck to our lab in Grenoble.
At this point I must digress... mention the Earth's
eternal course around the Sun.
Astronomers have showed us that
variations in this course...
...produce a 100,000-year cycle
of cold and warm phases...
...80,000 years of Ice Age...
...followed by a 20,000-year
interglacial, or warm period.
In that respect, the Vostok
ice corer was revolutionary...
...allowing the theory
to be confirmed...
...through complete cycles.
But we went much further.
In 1998, in Vostok,
we reached...
...a depth of 3,603 meters,
i.e. 420,000-year-old ice.
Twenty years of endeavor!
I remember the emotion
I felt when I saw rising...
...the first bubble of
fossil air... our chain of analysis.
An amazing journey,
both for the air and for me!
My colleagues and
I tirelessly deciphered...
...the messages in
the ice from Vostok.
As the first results came in,
it was obvious...
...they were going to hurt.
The results of a career
of research appeared...
...a life of intuition, mistakes,
decisions, both good and bad...
...shared knowledge,
...and immense joy.
I faithfully watched
the print-out of the climate...
...four cycles of glaciation...
...taking shape
in identical forms...
...testifying to variations
in temperature...
...and sea level... levels of carbon-dioxide
and methane in the atmosphere.
I had before me
indisputable proof...
...that climate and concentration
of greenhouse gases...
...have always been
closely linked.
The Vostok graphs showed...
...temperature variations
on Earth...
...of up to 5C...
...between its naturally
occurring warm and cold periods.
Also that sea levels varied
by up to 120 meters...
...depending on whether water
is frozen in icecaps...
...or free in its liquid form.
We would return to Dome C
a few years later...
...and go back 800,000 years...
...taking in eight
climate cycles...
...that tied in with
the Vostok graphs.
But wherever you are,
whichever graph you look at...
...the conclusion is
always the same.
Over the last 100 years,
the CO2 produced by man... behind an unprecedented
rise in temperatures on Earth.
We are altering our
planet's climate... a rate never before
seen in history.
The message is incontestable.
This work earned me
international acclaim...
...and deep wounds,
inflicted by the skepticism...
...of those who, out of self
interest, contested results...
...corroborated by my peers.
No matter...
...other researchers
worldwide have...
...refined and confirmed
the results...
...obtained from the ice at Vostok
and Dome C over 30 years ago.
How can an ice core indicate
what the temperature was...
...10, 20 or 30 thousand
years ago?
As a simple summary...
...the Antarctic is an
excellent witness...
...if we want to predict
how the climate evolves.
The layers of ice offer
a unique opportunity.
It is now certain that man
is upsetting ecological evolution.
The planet is becoming warmer... a result of increased CO2
in the atmosphere.
In the long term, man is
changing the Earth's climate.
We have here with us
a range of scientists.
Claude Lorius first.
You're telling us
that 100 years hence...
...levels might rise
by at least 50cm...
...covering entire tracts of land.
We went looking for
this little bubble of gas...
If we carry on, in
a century or two... will happen
but we have time to turn back.
Catastrophic forecasts about global
warming and the ozone layer...
...may be flawed.
What exactly is your
scientific opinion?
Mr. Cavada, you are one of
those men who think short-term.
The rise is increasingly rapid.
It doesn't rise like this,
rather like this.
Stabilizing the levels of CO2
in the atmosphere...
...temperatures will continue
their upward trend.
Could this reality be dangerous
for humanity?
It's vital.
When will the Earth's
next cold cycle be?
As you know, man is changing
the rules of the game.
The blueprint for the climate...
...may have been disrupted.
Is it worse now?
Is it more worrying now?
What I mean is... children's
children will see it.
I'm not as young as I was!
1992, 1995, 1997,
Rio, Berlin, Kyoto...
One conference after another.
Words pour forth,
treaties accumulate...
...and yet with every
passing day...
...the predicted scenario
continues to takes shape.
A hollow victory.
What good recognition
when the warning goes unheeded?
I sometimes fight the feeling
of having served no purpose.
Once upon a time
there was a garden...
...a fertile and generous land
where life flourished.
My name is Claude Lorius
and I shall be forever 23.
I think of the first man,
who had the idea...
...of striking stones together
to make fire.
I think of glaciers melting here
and islands drowning over there.
I think of the Earth
not having time to...
...adapt to the changes
forced upon it.
I think of triumphant
man, who must now...
...stop appropriating
the entire world.
Not for the Earth
and its creatures.
They will survive us.
For our children.
They're the ones I think about...
...when I look back on
the fullness of my life.
I hope that knowledge and
solidarity will enable them... overcome the
blizzards of history...
...that our generations
have unleashed upon them.
I have faith.
Man is never so sublimely
in his element...
...than when faced
with adversity.
That's it. My story is over.
All we have to do now is act.
Now that you know too...
...what are you going
to do about it?