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'Extrapolations' Uses Sci-Fi to Address the Very Real Potentials of Climate Change

'Extrapolations' from Apple TV+ imagines a near-future world that has been altered dramatically by the effects of climate change.

extrapolations apple tv
Written by
Calin Van Paris
Avatar: The Way of Water
to HBO's
The Last of Us
, climate change is getting the sci-fi treatment. The latest to join the lineup?
, a star-studded story series from Apple TV+ that critics are likening to Black Mirror, but with premises born of climate change rather than technology.
Extrapolations' episodes are based in the near future (the first episode takes place in 2037, with subsequent episodes spanning the following two decades), and center themes like innovation ethics, rising sea levels,
animal extinction
extreme weather
, politics, and more.
If all of this sounds a bit too familiar, well, that's the point. As executive producer Dorothy Fortenberry tells the
Los Angeles Times
: “The guiding principle behind the timeline was, what if we just keep muddling forward as we are?"

'Extrapolations' and the Realities of Climate Change

extrapolations apple tv
Photo: Apple TV+
While some of Extrapolations' environmental premises are fiction, others are very much grounded in reality—and in science.
The opening episode takes place in 2037, in a world that has warmed by two degrees Celsius. According to
a report
released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that number is fairly spot on should we proceed at our current emission rates—and reaching it
will result in
coral reefs
and arctic ice,
heat waves
, flooding, drought, and more.

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Episodes also feature a theme of undoing the damage already done, as, in the world of Extrapolations, industrialized nations failed to come together and curb our collective footprint. Desalination of water and de-extinction of animals serve as plotlines, as do seawalls to protect existing land from rising tides.
That last Friday's premiere of this show and today's release of U.N.'s most recent report occurred so closely feels incredibly apropos. This show may be a work of fiction, but here's hoping that it inspires some very real thought and action—because complacency is the quickest way to turn our world into something that feels a lot like sci-fi.
Feature Photo: Apple TV+