Every Network Gets Extreme Weather Story Right, ‘Now’s The Time We Start Limiting Manmade Greenhouse Gases’ — ABC

I have been critical of the media for ignoring the link between man-made global warming and the off-the-charts extreme weather we have been seeing. And many have documented how they have been downplaying the story of the century in the last couple of years.

But the extreme weather has been so unprecedented — and NOAA and leading climate scientists have been so blunt — that we have the unprecedented situation of the evening news shows last night on ABC, CBS, and NBC (and PBS) all talking about the link between greenhouse gases and the stunning heat wave. All the videos are posted below (with some of the best excerpts).

Here’s the excellent ABC World News piece, where Sam Champion, ABC News weather editor, says to anchor, Diane Sawyer

If you want my opinion, Diane, now’s the time we start limiting manmade greenhouse gases.”

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And here’s the CBS News video, with the accompanying online story, “NOAA links extreme weather to climate change“:

On Tuesday, for the first time, government scientists are saying recent extreme weather events are likely connected to man-made climate change. It’s the conclusion of a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The report says last year’s record drought in Texas was made “roughly 20 times more likely” because of man made climate change, specifically meaning warming that comes from greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide. The study, requested by NOAA, looked at 50 years of weather data in Texas and concluded that man-made warming had to be a factor in the drought.

The head of NOAA’s climate office, Tom Karl, said: “What we’re seeing, not only in Texas but in other phenomena in other parts of the world, where we can’t explain these events by natural variability alone. They’re just too rare, too uncommon.”

And here’s the NBC Piece, “The New Normal?”:

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And finally, here’s the PBS piece, “Extreme Weather Records ‘Like a Baseball Player on Steroids’ “:

THOMAS KARL: The temperatures the first six months of this year in the U.S. are the warmest on record. And, in fact, the last 12 months of the period May through June have been the warmest on record. Why? We believe there is an important human component explaining these record-breaking temperatures, and that’s the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere….

Again, the more recent record even exceeds the heat that we saw in the 1930s. That is the warmth of the last year, the warmth of the past spring, last winter, last fall and, if you remember, the record heat last summer, particularly in the Southern part of the U.S., where Texas and Oklahoma had such severe heat and drought….

Well, the best way we can describe it, it’s sort of like a baseball player on steroids.

Now, if you’re going to break records, home run records, you’re likely going to have to be a home run hitter to break home run records. With someone on steroids, the likelihood of hitting a ball over the fence and hitting a home run increases. And that is what we’re seeing. The increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leads to warmer global temperatures.

Those then break global temperature records. They also have other impacts, like increases in precipitation intensity, more intense droughts. These are the kinds of things we’re seeing, more records with greater severity and intensity than they would — might have otherwise been.

Watch Extreme Weather Records ‘Like a Baseball Player on Steroids’ on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

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50 Responses to Every Network Gets Extreme Weather Story Right, ‘Now’s The Time We Start Limiting Manmade Greenhouse Gases’ — ABC

  1. caerbannog says:

    What about Faux News?

    You forgot all about Faux News!

  2. Tom L says:

    Wow! A breakthrough?

  3. Sumner Nichols says:

    “Here’s the excellent ABC World News piece, where Sam Champion, ABC News weather editor, says to anchor, Diane Sawyer
    “If you want my opinion, Diane, now’s the time we start limiting manmade greenhouse gases.””

    I don’t understand why you think this is excellent. Do you think that now is the time? No, you think that decades ago was the time. Shouldn’t this man instead say something in the line of ‘now is the time for aggressive and fast reductions?’ Isn’t that a better message? Romm, I hope you aren’t losing your edge.

  4. Dennis says:

    Is the absence of any mention of someone from the denier community an indication that they are getting air time (at least for this story) to provide so-called “balance?”

  5. thanes says:

    Whoa, did something finally click?
    Last weekend at the Citizen’s Climate Lobby meeting, someone discussed having a 30 minute talk with Australian Green Party leader Julia Gillard. Reportedly, she said she spent her entire life ready for the one chance she got, so she was ready to take it.
    We might get that chance, too. Remember, it always seems impossible until it looks inevitable.

    The carbon tax is clearly one way. But in WWI gov spending went from 9% GDP in 1940 to 40% in 1943. 20% of our GDP is 2 trillion. The world spent only 700 billion on renewable last year. Reportedly Germanys 22 gW solar power only cost 800 billion. What if we think bigger? what would tripling global renewable investment in 2015 do for us? Our economy would be saved ( see Krugman, “End This Depression NOW!”) We’d have 60-80 gW, maybe a hell of a lot more. And we’d have the fossil-fuelists pretty much out of power, and a real chance to reverse the Citizens’ United plutocracy.
    Thinking big, or thinking delusionally?

  6. Sam Champion says, “If you want my opinion, Diane, now’s the time we start limiting manmade greenhouse gases.”

    No, Sam. 20 years ago was the time to start limiting manmade greenhouse gasses. In most situations, it’s “better late than never.” But in this situation, it could be that a case of “too little, too late.”

    One thing to keep in mind, no one on any major media outlet says anything that the plutocracy doesn’t approve of. So climate change must be forcing even their hand.

    Glory be!

  7. thanes says:

    It’s pretty hard for Faux to cover the story AND to follow the executive order that all mentions of global warming have to be dismissed, when the story is “Okay, global warming is real.”
    Kind of like asking a sci-fi robot to divide by zero.

  8. Amy says:

    FYI, Gillard is the leader of the Labor Party in Australia and the current Prime Minister. She’s not the leader of the Greens. The leader of the Greens is Christine Milne.

    That being said, Gillard did just implement the Carbon Tax in Australia, and the weird weather the US is seeing is pretty normal for an Aussie summer these days.

  9. Jeff Huggins says:

    “I will kill every expensive and unnecessary program I can find…”, Mitt Romney told the NAACP in his recent speech.

    Well then, he and the Repubs ought to be eager to get rid of all the subsidies to the fossil fuel industries, right? And, they ought to be eager — or at least willing — to very substantially reduce our war activities, that is, “defense” spending, right?



  10. Jan says:

    Great. I just tweeted all three of the networks (CBS, NBC and ABC) a couple days ago asking when their meteorologists were going to make this link.

  11. Mark says:

    Joe Romm has to be given a lot of credit on this issue.

    The relentless fact based pounding on the media in The USA by Joe has had an effect.

  12. Joe Romm says:

    I grade on a curve.

  13. You have to start somewhere.

  14. Tami Kennedy says:

    Hell, this even made FOX News. Which news have we missed. The GOP favorite is now at least talking about it.

  15. Zimzone says:

    Yet over on Think Progress we have numerous posts still claiming climate change is a hoax.

    I guess it will take Jim Inhofe melting in his own Igloo to change their minds!

  16. Tami Kennedy says:

    No, I even read a story on the FOX page where they weren’t in complete denial.

  17. Tom L says:

    That thing swims in my fishing lake! And the toxic algae only makes its power grow, it seems.

  18. Brian Dodge says:

    CBS – “On Tuesday, for the first time, government scientists are saying recent extreme weather events are likely connected to man-made climate change.”

    “Expect More Droughts, Heavy Downpours, Excessive Heat, And Intense Hurricanes Due To Global Warming, NOAA

    ScienceDaily (June 19, 2008) — The U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research has released a scientific assessment that provides the first comprehensive analysis of observed and projected changes in weather and climate extremes in North America and U.S. territories. Among the major findings reported in this assessment are that droughts, heavy downpours, excessive heat, and intense hurricanes are likely to become more commonplace as humans continue to increase the atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.”

    No they’re not “saying for the first time” – they are CONFIRMING predictions made more than 4 years ago – and you weren’t paying attention. Don’t act so surprised; it’s not the climatologists fault you had your head up your wazoo, or wasted so many man hours bloviating about Britney Spears lack of panties and Lindsey Lohan’s drunk driving instead of actually reading the science.
    How many in your audience know the make and color of Justin Bieber’s car, and why it was “news” lately? Conversely, how many know which scientist predicted arctic amplification, when he made his prediction, and why it makes extreme droughts, floods, snow storms, and heat waves inevitable?

  19. BillD says:

    This is a great series of lead stories. Now we need frequent follow-ups. The ABC story did make the misleading comment that, for the first time, scientists had linked the increase in green house gases to humans, not natural sources (huh!). Just goes to show how ignorant journalists are about the science that no one corrected this. Of course, none of this is “first time” and the finding that humans are the cause for the increase in atmospheric CO2 goes back at least 60 years.

  20. MorinMoss says:

    This should make a few denialist, er, I mean “skeptic” heads explode.

  21. Jim Speiser says:

    Back in the 1970s, NBC pre-empted their entire prime-time line-up of sitcoms and dramas to present a three-hour “white paper” on the coming energy crisis. It was hosted by Edwin Newman, and was riveting and prescient. That’s how I, and millions of Americans, found out that the energy crisis was very real and very serious.

    For some time now, I have been attempting to contact media outlets to try and persuade them to do something similar on global warming. A three-hour “white paper” pre-empting all other programming…THAT would get people’s attention. THAT is what is needed. And quickly.

  22. Tom L says:

    Did the entire broadcast media really just suddenly awaken yesterday in perfect synchronization by pure accident? Knowing how subservient the MSM is to the government I can’t help but wonder if there’s not more to this than meets the eye.

  23. Mark Shapiro says:

    Their next step: couple each AGW story with some part of the clean energy solution, such as efficiency, conservation, or renewables.

  24. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    There is a big question of how long the main stream media would have been considered relevant if they had continued to ignore the biggest story ever.

    The average understanding of climate change was surprisingly good considering the almost zero coverage. People are not relying just on the media.

  25. K Krieger says:

    Sam Champion does not realize that Climate Change is NOT reversible for many generations (1,000 years according to Susan Solomon of NASA). So much ignorance about the science of climate change. What does “time to start limiting CO2 now” mean? Does Champion believe he is being radical by his pronouncement? Brave? No, he sounds foolish and ignorant of our true dire situation.

  26. K Krieger says:

    Excellent question. After years of ignor-ance, you could not avoid this story today. Every media outlet carried it. A case of lemming media, or something else?

  27. Why do i get the Heritage blog as 1st item when i type “heatwave” into the google news search box? And since when is the Heritage blog a news source…

  28. Guest says:

    My thoughts exactly!

  29. ozajh says:

    The bad news being that the opposition is almost certainly going to win the next Australian election and reverse course. Murdoch plus the local equivalents of the Koch’s now control ALL the mass media, and we are getting an absolutely unrelenting barrage on the evils of the carbon tax.

  30. Joan Savage says:

    The news hook for the media response was the release of the State of the Climate 2011, a joint study by NOAA and the Met Office.

    The key report is the “Real-Time Attribution Paper” (PDF)

    This article also appeared in the July 2012 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
    “Explaining Extreme Events of 2011 from a Climate Perspective”

    What makes it distinctive is the case-by-case analysis. That really is a step forward.
    Let’s give a friendly nod to the US and UK governments that enabled production and distribution of the “Real Time Attribution Paper.” It didn’t get deep-sixed by a policy wonk, and that’s a real good sign.

  31. CW says:

    Rupert Murdoch tweet today:

    Climate change very slow but real. So far all cures worse than disease. Shale gas huge breakthrough for US. Half carbon of coal and oil.

  32. Mossy says:

    Now let’s get all the news media to ask the presidential candidates climate-reated questions.

  33. thanes says:

    Thank you Amy. It was Christine Milne, not Gillard, with whom the CCL rep spoke.
    And you’re right, ozajh, things don’t look good for Gillard. But the US, for all the development in the world’s emerging economies, is the global leader, and if we can turn things around here, it’s bound to undermine the Aussie’s corporatists.
    I am, I’ll admit, an inveterate optimist. But having the tax actually take place is progress, and seeing how healthcare reform is moving, haltingly, forward here in the US, because the ball was moved forward by our President, even if the Righties do get more control of our government, it seems apparent to me progress, even if partially undone, is progress. Some things might get walked back, but our Righties will pay a price taking things that are popular, and the regulations are already having definite good effect compared to 2008 status quo for our healthcare.
    I can only hope the same will be said for the Aussie carbon tax.

  34. Methuselah says:

    When each network said “for the first time,” I understood they were saying this is the first time scientists are directly attributing climate change influence to specific extreme weather events.

  35. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Ozajh, I suspect I am a lot older than you and I can tell you that I have seen many cases in Aussie politics where a 30% approval rating over a year out had no predictive power of winning an election. It’s not over yet by a long chalk.

    Think of what is to come – the evidence in the Slipper/Ashby case, a long hot summer with a few more inevitable disasters and Thanes is right, an increasingly uphill battle for the USA-led denial machine is going to affect the confidence of our little darlings, ME

  36. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    As the colourful Irish local identity told the tourist who asked for directions, ‘If I was you, I wouldn’t start from here’.

  37. Spike says:

    Not reversible sure, but stoppable perhaps.

  38. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    And Gillard never misses an opportunity to assert that Australia will go on mining and exporting coal ‘for generations’. As the Chinese taught us to say, she’s not ‘fair dinkum’. She also rarely bothers to argue the case for a carbon tax (due to morph into the dead-end, but speculators’ paradise, of ‘carbon trading’)on the grounds of dire ecological necessity, as if frightened by the moron mob of denialists. Relying on prevaricators and opportunists like Gillard when we need inspirational leaders (or miracle workers) is another literal dead-end.

  39. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Fifty generations of hard graft.

  40. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Fox Noise ain’t News.

  41. Mike 22 says:

    Philip, 20 years ago almost everyone thinking about this thought we had more time than has turned out. This crisis has telescoped fantastically over the past ten years.

    K Kreiger, it is still fixable, but we need to get moving.

  42. Guest says:

    Al Jazeera still puts all the mainstream to shame:

    25 minute long piece

    A presenter who actualy understood what he was asking about

    3 Climate experts as guests
    Michael Mann – Penn state
    Heidi Cullen – Climate desk
    Bob Deans – NRDC

    0 (ZERO) climate skeptics!!!

    so we get a balenced, well reasoned and clear case made… go on treat yourselves :-)

  43. Artful Dodger says:

    Not stoppable. Fast feedbacks and tipping points have been crossed. Geoengineering to remove CO2 will not decrease atmospheric levels as oceanic off-gassing returns dissolved gas to the atmosphere. So it’s irreversible, probably for many thousands of years.

  44. Artful Dodger says:

    Good job. Thanks! Man, if i knew it was that simple…

  45. Artful Dodger says:

    … hmm, clear your browser’s cookies and try again. Google does profile your search patterns.

  46. Joe Romm says:

    Thanks for this. Great video.

  47. This is not about Google Search, it is about what sites get listed in Google U.S. “News”.

  48. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Mulga, I’m surprised you don’t recognize a political strategy when you see one. You’ve heard the screams about the ETS with generous compensation etc, and the pathetic little Minerals Resource Rent Tax – imagine the reaction if she had said ‘we are slowly going to destroy the coal industry’, ME

  49. lisa mcfadden says:

    Whatever. It’s too late now. We can all kiss the next generation’s behinds good-bye.