Climatic 1: The Greenhouse Effect

The first of a series of music videos about climate change.  Music, as always, produced by Max Cowan.

Scroll down below the video to read the lyrics, or click here for lyrics with footnotes in a downloadable pdf
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Climatic 1: The Greenhouse Effect

Climate change! The temperature’s going on up
Listen up: the climate’s been disrupted and you
Gotta clear away the wool that’s in your eyes and overcome the
Lies from deniers who are just pawns steppin’ on the

Truth is climate’s different by the way from weather,
Climate’s thirty years or more weather’s day by day.
Current average temperature on planet Earth is fifteen °C
that’s fifty nine Fahrenheit if you ain’t thinkin’ metrically,

Our climate for ten thousand years has had the perfect qualities for
nurturing civilization also life’s diversity
Tween summer highs and winter lows it’s perfect for our crops to grow.
Anywhere: China, Italy, Brazil or Idaho

Our planet earth is a greenhouse
The climate we’ve come to depend on is based on this greenhouse
Everyone lives in this greenhouse
And we’re learning our burning has jacked up the heat in the greenhouse

Our atmosphere, all those gases in the sky floating so
high are mostly nitrogen and oxygen molecules but
There are some others like CO2 mixed up in that
Stew up there just traces in the air

CO2’s concentration ’bout point zero four percent
Yet its presence makes a huge dent in the climate
System ’cause of its role as a greenhouse gas,
Methane, nitrous oxide, CFCs are in the same class.

These gases let sunlight through to shine on Earth’s face
Molecules on land and sea absorb the light and vibrate
That vibration emits infrared radiation
Just heat energy into the atmosphere

There it meets molecules like CO2 and CFCs
All those gases resonate with infrared frequencies,
They vibrate, each emitting heat in all directions,
Some of which comes back to Earth, it’s greenhouse gas perfection!

Now you see why CO2’s a greenhouse gas, it’s just like greenhouse glass,
trappin’ heat while allowing light’s passage
And remember this is nothin’ bad, nothin horrid
With no Greenhouse effect we’d all be frozen solid

With planetary average temperatures of 18°C below
Look outside, all you’d see is frozen ice and snow,
So enjoy the warmth, to greenhouse gases sing,
but remember, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.


We shouldn’t blame ourselves for what transpired when we realized
Fossil fuels were awesome fuels for fires to power anything like
Lamps, or steam engines, diesel trains or furnaces
Jet planes, space shuttles, coal-fired generators

Fossil fuels are made of carbon that was once in the sky
Carbon dioxide molecules that floated by
Sucked into a plant or algae during photosynthesis,
In the Carboniferous era long ago.

Later on the plant died no one cried as it was buried ‘neath the soil
Pressure and the heat making coal, gas and oil
Now each time those fossil fuels get consumed,
That buried carbon gets released as CO2 fumes.

Hundreds of years of fossil fuel conflagration
Has vastly increased CO2’s concentration
280 ppm before the rise of industry
Our burning’s raised the level over 390

390 parts per million CO2, three ninety molecules
You’d find in a box of a million molecules of air
Seems unfair such a harmless and
Invisible gas could be causing so much trouble

But this extra dose of CO2, carbon we sent up the flu
Traps more earthly infrared like extra blankets on your bed
It’s kind of like each square meter of our earthly globe
Got planted with a tiny little Christmas bulb

Each bulb shining with just about a watt and
Imagine all those trillions of bulbs they’re making planet Earth hot.
Temperature will rise until a balance is restored
But that won’t happen soon because we keep on burning more,

We’ve warmed point eight °C in the past century,
From CO2 made by people just like you and me
The warming, by end of this century,
Will range from 1.1 to 6.4 degrees °C

If that doesn’t sound like very much in part two you’ll see,
How emissions are changing climate drastically,
We’ll be an ice-free planet, open Arctic sea,
I ain’t making this up, ask the IPCC!