msnbc | January 26, 2013
>>> putting really delicate electronics in the harshest conditions on the planet.
>> that landscape was gone it may never be seen again in the history of civilization and it's stored right here.
>> we were watch withing from the award-winning documentary "chasing ice" playing all over movie theaters. it is set up strategically over the arctic and how they are able to tell an unprecedented story of climate change is the focus of today's "what's the big idea ?" segment. jeff, good afternoon to you, sir.
>> thanks very much, craig.
>> we knew theglaciers are in trouble and we know the planet is warming. what's new about this?
>> yeah. the real thing here that james has been able to document with the time lapses and we captured in "chasing ice" is you can see the process. we've always seen clips of ice, and he's documented the process for over five years and you can see the glaciers retreating at very, very large scales over a significant period of time and it's the first edz of climate change .
>> i understand you still have 30 cameras rolling out there right now. what are we seeing right now? what are we seeing right now?
>> we have 34 cameras in 16 glaciers and they're in greenland, iceland, alaska and glacier national park and we're seeing the glaciers that we've been documenting have been retreating very, very significantly. some glaciers we've had to pan the camera multiple times and even physically move the camera just to keep the glacier in the frame.
>> are humans to blame for all of this?
>> not all of it. it's a balance of both natural and man made consequences that are affecting these glaciers. there are natural cycles that these glaciers go through and they're natural cycles that we have on planet earth . what the scientists are telling us, however, is that we're very far outside of the normal cycles and they're experts on that and we're 40% higher just from a co2 perspective or 40% higher than we've been in the last million years. so this is something that is very much out of the ordinary. that is a direct result of man made influence.
>> president obama in his inaugural address this week he sur pleased a lot of folks by devoting such a hefty chunk of his speech to climate change . i want to play some of that for you. take a listen.
>> we will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.
>> how much faith do you have that this president or this congress can affect major change on this issue over the next four years?
>> yeah. that's a really tough question, and obviously, climate change has been turned into a political debate which is a real shame because this is not a political issue. this is not something that will only affect the left or the right. it's something that will affect all human civilization moving forward. from that perspective it's something that we need to take action with and something that we need to address as quickly as possible. it's taken a long time to see the consequences of burning fossil fuels and we're seeing the consequences come to a head right now and i think really, it will take a long time for us to see the consequences of mitigating climate change , as well. it's something that we need to invest a lot of time into.
>> the director of the documentary "chasing ice." it is a fantastic film, sir. thank you so much for sharing it with us.
>> thank you very much. it's