December 10, 2009 / 8:06 PM / 8 years ago

Hollywood goes to Copenhagen climate summit

<p>The Hollywood sign is seen on a hazy afternoon in Los Angeles, California, November 4, 2007.Danny Moloshok</p>

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Think melting arctic ice caps are the biggest threat from global warming? Dangers to polar bears? Think again, and think fast.

To hear film director Michael Nash and others talk, bigger issues are national security and the prospect of millions of refugees displaced due to world weather changes. And they are not problems for the future, they are issues today.

Director/producer Nash and producer Justin Hogan are going to Copenhagen this week where their documentary "Climate Refugees" will play Monday for a private audience of leaders and scientists at a world summit on climate change.

Nash interviews a range of scientists and politicians from U.S. Senator John Kerry to former Congressman Newt Gingrich who view climate change as a security issue if mass displacement leads to conflict among countries competing for resources.

The movie, looking at the human toll of global warming, heads to its world public premiere in January at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah where climate change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" debuted in 2006 before going on to critical acclaim, box office success and Oscar glory.

Nash told Reuters he was thrilled to be showing his movie in Copenhagen to politicians who can pass laws that stem global warming, but the Sundance premiere would boost the film with general audiences.

"It's great to go to Copenhagen, but we also need the people to tell the policymakers what they want," Nash said.

Three years ago Nash began reading about mass migrations of people looking for water and food in dry regions of Africa and losing their homes to rising seawater in Bangladesh.

With video camera on shoulders, he and Hogan ventured to such places, including Orissa, India, where the coastal village of Kanhapura has vanished. They spent time on Tuvalu, a South Pacific island that is slowly sinking and where thousands of people will soon be displaced.

In figures released last Tuesday, the International Organization for Migration estimated climate change would drive a billion people worldwide from their homes in the next four decades. In 2008, 20 million people became homeless in environmental disasters, the IOM said.

"One of the things I learned traveling to some 50 countries is that we better hope man is causing (climate change) because if we are in a natural cycle and it is caused by something we can't control, that would really be alarming," Nash said.

"Climate Refugees" ultimately offers hope that global warming can be stemmed.

Editing by Jill Serjeant and Howard Goller

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