Setting the stage for what proved to be a landmark conference on climate change in Paris, Rebecca Morelle and Stuart Denman traveled to a high-altitude research laboratory in the Swiss Alps to talk with scientists who have been keeping an eye on rising levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In the broadcast, Morelle reviewed the history of global negotiations to control human-generated atmospheric emissions, including the successful effort to reduce substances that damage Earth’s protective ozone layer. In interviews with the UN official in charge of the climate conference and a leading environmental lawyer, Morelle and producer Denman described an evolving political climate that buoyed prospects for success at the climate talks, where representatives of 195 nations ultimately reached accord on the first universal, legally-binding agreement to limit carbon dioxide emissions. The judges praised the pair’s concise but effective introduction to a topic long in the news but of increasing urgency as scientists learn more about the likely consequences of greenhouse gas emissions. David Baron, former science and health editor for Public Radio International’s “The World” broadcast, said they “took a dry yet important subject and made it lively and compelling through smart writing, fast editing, and fun graphics. The story was cleverly conceived and deftly executed.” Morelle and Denman said they wanted to make a film that went back to basics. “From the science of climate change, to the complex history of UN meetings and the endless acronyms ─ UNFCCC, INDC, ADP ─ we wanted our film to guide our viewers through the summit, to explain what it was about and why it mattered,” they said. “Above all though, we wanted it to be entertaining. There’s no point making a primer if people aren’t going to watch it.”

Program Transcript