Published: Oct. 3, 2019

CU Boulder and NOAA scientists to join panel discussion following the film

Leila and Leo

Leila Conners and Leonardo DiCaprio arrive for the LA Premiere Of HBO's Ice On Fire. Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images. At the top of the page, cinemetographer Harun Mehmedinovic surveys an Arctic sky. Photo by Harun Mehmedinovic.

(Note: Due to a family emergency, Leila Connors, the film's director, will not attend the screening as originally reported. This story has been amended accordingly.)

Have humans past the tipping point with the climate, or can we act, even now, to reduce the damage the planet’s inhabitants will suffer? That’s a question posed in the HBO documentary Ice on Fire, which features three University of Colorado Boulder scientists. 

The university will host a screening of the film on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the CASE Auditorium on campus. The event is free, but registration is required; follow this link

Produced by Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio, George DiCaprio and Mathew Schmid, Ice on Fire focuses on solutions designed to slow the accelerating environmental crisis. It argues that renewable energy is necessary but insufficient to meet the challenge. 

Ice on Fire emphasizes the importance of an immediate, two-pronged approach to reversing the crisis: reducing carbon emissions through traditional renewable energy sources and new ones, like tidal energy, and implementing “drawdown” measures, focusing on methods for drawing down and sequestering carbon, including direct air capture, sea farms, urban farms, biochar, marine snow, bionic leaves and others.

“It’s an intelligently structured series of arguments which repeatedly takes the audience to the brink of despair, before pulling back with a glimmer of optimism,” a Screen Daily review said. The film premiered to a standing ovation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. 

The post-screening panel discussion will be moderated by Waleed Abdalati, director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at CU Boulder. The panelists will include four local scientists who appear in the film. They are:

  • Jennifer Morse, Climate Technician, Mountain Research Station, CU Boulder Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR).
  • Gabrielle Petron, research scientist at CIRES/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • Pieter Tans, chief, Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases Group, NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory Global Monitoring Division.
  • Jim White, interim dean, CU Boulder College of Arts and Sciences, professor of geological sciences and former INSTAAR director. 

The event is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, with support from the CU Boulder Research & Innovation Office, INSTAAR and CIRES.