Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a potential 2020 presidential candidate, financed the film and was in Iowa last week to tout it. Val Swinton is mayor of Clarksville, which was featured in the documentary because of profound flooding in the town in 2016.
“I would like to see a more balanced debate on it but I don’t think we’re going to get that from National Geographic,” Mayor Swinton says. “This was not a heavy-handed approach. I think that they, for the most part, took the high road and spent a lot of time presenting solutions.” The documentary pinpointed certain areas of the country where producers argue climate change has had adverse effects on residents.
The 2016 Clarksville flood was the second “150-year flood” in less than a decade. Swinton says after watching the program, he’s not sure if the evolving weather patterns are a result of climate change. “It’s also possible that it’s not man-made climate change. This could just be part of a cycle that we go through periodically,” Swinton says. “I think there’s a lot more questions than answers to that. There can be no droubt that what we experienced is highly unusual.”
Swinton says he’s also not convinced that solar power is the total solution to the planet’s problems. “I don’t know if you noticed or not, but every time they talked about solar power in Iowa, they showed a sunny, cloudless day,” he says. “I don’t know if that was an accident or if they didn’t want to show Iowa with a lot of clouds or try to address how that affects solar power.”
The documentary is called “Paris to Pittsburgh” — a reference to a remark President Trump made when he withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. Bloomberg told reporters in Iowa last week he hopes to make climate change the central issue of the 2020 campaign if he runs for president.
“There are some people who don’t see it and don’t believe it, but I think we’re past the point where people say: ‘Oh, it’s a commie plot.’ We’re past the point where people say: ‘Oh, it’s not man-made, even if it exists,'” Bloomberg said. “People understand that it’s happening.” According to Bloomberg, farmers are on the front lines of recognizing the effects of climate change as they have to adjust their farming methods to account for warmer, more widely variable weather.
(By Kellan Heavican, KCHA, Charles City)