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Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops

Subtitled in 20 languages and narrated by Richard Gere, Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops is a series of five short films, featuring twelve leading climate scientists, that explores how human-caused emissions are triggering nature’s own warming loops. We submit the five shorts to your festival (total 57:34) for screening of any or all of the films.

The film series had its official launch with the Dalai Lama, Greta Thunberg and world-renowned scientists in a webcast, “The Dalai Lama with Greta Thunberg and Leading Scientists: A Conversation on the Crisis of Climate Feedback Loops.”

While scientists stay up worrying about this most dangerous aspect of climate change, the public has little awareness or understanding of feedback loops. Climate change discussion at all levels of society largely leaves out the most critical dynamic of climate change itself. It is urgent we remedy this.

The first film in the series, Introduction (13:09), provides an overview of the feedback loop problem. The four other short films explore important climate feedback mechanisms: Forests (14:10), Permafrost (10:55), Atmosphere (8:45) and Albedo (10:35).

Greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, such as carbon dioxide and methane, are warming the planet. This warming is then setting in motion dozens of feedback mechanisms, which then feed upon themselves, as well as interact with each other and spiral further out of control. These processes are rapidly accelerating climate change.

An example of a climate feedback loop is the melting of the permafrost. In the Northern Hemisphere, permafrost makes up nearly 25% of the landmass. As heat-trapping emissions warm the Earth, this frozen tundra is melting. As it does, large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane are released, which further warm the planet, melting more permafrost in a self-perpetuating loop.


Watch our March 2021 conversation around Feedback Loops (presented with Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History), featuring: 

  • Dr. Bill Moomaw (Professor Emeritus of International Environmental Policy at the Fletcher School, Tufts University)
  • Dr. Jennifer Francis (Senior Scientist at the Woodwell Climate Research Center; featured in the film)
  • Lake Liao (Hub Coordinator for the Sunrise Movement)
  • Dr. Nichola Minott (Visiting Scholar in the International Studies Program at Boston College)
  • Dr. Scott Wing (Research Geologist and Curator of Paleobotany at the National Museum of Natural History)