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SUPERMAN V. CLIMATE CHANGE: New Movie Presents Sea Level Rise Scenario that Parallels Melting of Greenland and Antarctic Ice Shelf

June 27, 2006, 9:21 PM

I was lucky enough to snag a ticket to see Superman Returns tonight at the Uptown Theater in Cleveland Park. Here is the scoop, without spoiling the movie: Superman foils a plot by Luthor to create a new Fortress of Solitude-like continent in the middle of the North Atlantic. As Luthor explains with the aid of maps and visuals, the emergence of a new landmass in the middle of the ocean would displace enough water to flood most of the coastline of N. America, Europe, Africa, and S. America, and in the words of Luthor, "killing billions."

Though climate change is not mentioned in the film, the movie is a powerful metaphor. The water displacement scenario parallels closely the warnings from scientists about what might happen if a rise in global temperatures triggered a break-off of the Greenland and/or Antarctic ice shelves. The surge of these ice sheets would lead to a rapid rise in global sea level of potentially 7m and about 5m, for Greenland and West Antarctica, respectively. As Gore details in Inconvenient Truth, such a sea level rise would displace potentially a 100 million people globally.


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