The war on climate change has two major fronts: the fight against global deforestation and the battle to stop the burning of fossil fuels. Lose either of these battles and we lose the war. 2 Degrees weaves together stories of a top-down and bottom-up approach to climate change and the charismatic people driving them forward.
The top-down approach follows the endeavours to have emissions from deforestation included in the United Nations Climate Change Agreement. The bottom-up contrast looks at Port Augusta in South Australia, and the struggle by the local residents to have the ageing coal fired power stations on the edge of their town replaced with solar thermal and wind energy.
At the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in 2007, it was finally accepted that the preservation of forests plays a crucial part in the solution to climate change. The 194 nations of the UN had only two years before the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to negotiate a new agreement to curb global warming. But progress was painfully slow. At the core of the debate was how to preserve the world’s tropical forests and their ecological services so vital for the planet, without hindering the urgent development of the poorest nations. Everyone agreed that the forests must be assigned their proper value and included in the new UN agreement, but the method to achieve this is complex and highly controversial. While the lawyers argue, forests are felled and burnt, sea levels rise and storms increase, inundating small island states.
2 Degrees captures the action in conference rooms and corridors of the international climate change negotiations leading up to Copenhagen, and documents the rising heat as ideologies and vested interests collide. Scientists outline the stark truth that none of the industrialised countries are committing to the cuts in emissions the science demands. Small island states, whose future is bleak with a temperature rise above 1.5 degrees, watch with mounting disbelief as the rich nations decide that a target of 2 degrees is all they are willing to accept. The notion of climate justice goes out the window.
As the world waits in hope for a new dawn on climate change, 2 Degrees reveals the chaotic failure of the UN negotiations in Copenhagen. It becomes chillingly clear that we cannot wait for governments to lead the way. So if commitment to act won’t come from above, perhaps the voices and actions of communities will bring the revolution that is needed. 2 Degrees takes to the streets of Port Augusta, a small Australian town, and follows the passionate efforts to replace the coal fired power stations with solar thermal power.
Led by the formidable 80 year old Mayor Joy Baluch, residents of Port Augusta form the Repower Port Augusta Alliance, and organise a community vote on whether the aging and highly polluting coal fired power stations should be replaced with solar thermal and wind energy, or gas.
Climate Change is simply the most pressing issue of our time. It is the biggest threat to human health and the health of the planet in the 21st Century. But what if the political and corporate leaders of the world can’t or won’t fix it? What if, in the end, it came down to me and you? If we don’t understand the lessons from Copenhagen, we are doomed to repeat them in 2015, when the world body meets once more in Paris to conclude a legally binding agreement. From the award‐winning producer of The Burning Season and The Man Who Stole My Mother’s Face, 2 Degrees explores climate change through the prism of climate justice. While An Inconvenient Truth alerted us to the problem of climate change, 2 Degrees is the gripping and vital fight for a solution.
Green Turtle Films would like to acknowledge the support of the Orchard Arts Foundation, without which this film would not have been completed.