Environment Forum

Flood drowns Taipei in cinematic wake-up call

March 5, 2010

American sci-fi blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow warned global audiences about climate change as it showed New York smothered by ice as temperatures plunged worldwide.  But the 2004 movie evidently made little impact on growth-crazy Asia, which has gone ahead spewing pollutants without imagining risks that they might disrupt the climate.

This year a group of filmmakers in newly modernised, consumption-happy Taiwan is going to the densely populated western Pacific island’s public with an hour-long alarmist movie showing the world’s second-tallest building Taipei 101 as an island in a flood that has drowned the capital after a reservoir collapses in a freak super-strength typhoon.

The free film with an obvious mission titled “Plus or Minus 2 Degrees Celsius” began showing in late February, reaching at least 11,000 people so far and with dates to screen for more audiences later in the year.

 It also shows footage from snowstorms, droughts and other real natural disasters around Asia to rub in its point, which has set off critical debate among Taiwan academics.

“A lot of people know about climate change but don’t understand what its impact would be,” said Lu Yu-rou, media specialist with film promoter the Taipei-based Plus or Minus 2 Degrees Campaign Alliance. And after watching the film? “A lot of people actually think it’s pretty shocking. They never expected that such as severe situation could develop.”

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