NBC’s Chuck Todd: ‘Let’s Not Bury Our Heads In The Sand…. It’s Called Climate Change, Folks’

Perhaps Sandy will be a turning point for the media.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, NBC political director Chuck Todd said bluntly during MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown”:

Second year in a row the New York Metro area hit by this stuff. Let’s not bury our heads in the sand when it comes to — something has changed in the Atlantic. The climate has changed. It’s called climate change, folks.

Watch it:

30 Responses to NBC’s Chuck Todd: ‘Let’s Not Bury Our Heads In The Sand…. It’s Called Climate Change, Folks’

  1. Anne says:

    What did you say? Let’s not bury our heads in the Sandy?

  2. Anne says:

    What I’ve observed is that, for some, as long as they are not forced to call it “global warming” or “climate change” — politicized terms — they are perfectly willing to acknowledge the realities of more frequent, more severe, more dangerous weather patterns. As Joe and many others have described, semantics and word choice can often mean everything. None of the serious scientists or policymakers or analysts and activists that are concerned about this care very much about what to call it, they just care that we take action to “avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable” consequences of the “greenhouse effect.” While I won’t suggest renaming climate change “Furious Blowback from Mother Earth” or “The Planet Strikes Back” I do think this event IS the turning point representing the moment in time when the media woke up, smelled the coffee, and said to themselves, “holy crap.” It’s about damn time.

  3. Paul Magnus says:

    What if … the party is over?

    Deniers and avoiders coming crashing down to sand(y). Risk reality 101.

    What If Mike Bloomberg Is Right And A Climate Change Nightmare Is Here? – Forbes
    After living through the biggest storm to hit New York in years — and talking to climate scientists — it’s hard not to ask: What if Bloomberg’s right?

  4. Paul Magnus says:

    “We couldn’t come to emotional terms with the destruction a fourteen foot wall of water could do to this city. Now we don’t have any choice.”

    Climate Portals Many cant/wont come to terms with the destruction of 1C global warming is/will do. And now we dont have much options….

  5. Z S says:

    I’d like to think of this as a potential turning point for the media, but the cynical side of me thinks it’s more plausible that the re-emphasized attention on climate change will gradually fade over the next month, there will be some ridiculous chatter next there’s a blizzard (SHOCKING!), and by next Spring we’re right back where we started from.

    If the Obama administration had continued to make climate change a top-line priority (which it briefly was, along with health care), then the attention to climate change that events like Sandy create (the only good thing about these terrible disasters) might be enough to push the movement over the hump and actually get legislation with teeth through congress. Instead, it just gets us back to where we’ve been before.

  6. I am not so sure that this is a turning point. It wasn’t for Katrina even though it motivated Chris Mooney to write Storm World. We still have stories of the rebuilding of New Orleans, but we also have stories of refugees from New Orleans that landed on the wrong side of Staten Island and lost everything again.

    I won’t believe that we have turned the corner on media coverage until they start treating it as a mainstreet economic topic rather than putting into an easily ignored environmental category. Let’s see Nightly Business Report asking Insurance Executives about climate risk, or energy company executives about their plans for reduction in fossil fuel use. Let’s see NBC’s Mad Money talk about Sustainable Economy Funds.

    Maybe we should make Ecology 101 a mandatory class for incoming College Students. Let’s see that discussion with Rehema Ellis (NBC) or Soleded O’Brien (CNN), both of whom can provide good coverage of education.

    The current coverage from the political reporters like Todd is driven by events and the election. Both of those will fade and so will the hope of good coverage until we link climate change to everything else,

  7. Joe Romm says:

    Katrina was far away. Sandy hit the home of the media.

  8. Gestur says:

    I personally find it beyond ironic that the very anthropogenic climate change that Obama has decided to ignore in this campaign has probably done him the ultimate favor for his reëlection chances.

    I’m running out of adjectives for ironic, but it’s incredibly ironic to me that Michael Bloomberg, an Independent, was the one to give voice to the issue at this crucial time, was the one to show the President how well it was received—and how well it could have been received—if uttered by Obama.

    It’s flat out heartbreaking to me that Obama can’t even bring himself to acknowledge these two beyond- and incredibly-ironic facts any more than to say: “Mayor Bloomberg and I agree on the most important issues of our time – that the key to a strong economy is investing in the skills and education of our people, that immigration reform is essential to an open and dynamic democracy, and that climate change is a threat to our children’s future.”

    If I were Michael Bloomberg and the stakes weren’t so damn high, I’d give serious consideration to revoking my endorsement for that response.

    Finally, last night I was redirected by a WAPO article to an article written by Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker back in 2010, a post-mortem as it were, of the demise of the carbon cap-and-trade bill in the Senate in 2010. I read it back in 2010, but I reread it again last night with so much more disbelief and anger. It’s well worth reading and not behind a subscription-wall.

  9. NJP1 says:

    This is just a foretaste of our future, though trying to mention it in polite company has roughly the same effect as an admission to having leprosy.
    But at least Sandy reminds us that we have created the chaos of our environment by burning fuel, now we have no choice but to burn more fuel to combat it. If the final bill is $50Bn, the means $50Bn worth of energy being burned somewhere to put things right.
    The cities battered by hurricane Sandy were built with hydrocarbon energy, and we have to burn more of it to prevent Nature pounding them out of existence.
    If you think that concept is too extreme, this time it’s going to take up to two weeks to get the power back on. We only have so much resource available to fix things, and our energy supplies are in decline; whereas Nature’s power is literally unlimited. When we reach the point where we no longer have the means to ‘fix things’, whatever nature knocks down will stay down.
    That’s not just about beachfront homes and powerlines, but food supplies hit by catastrophic drought
    This is the unwinnable struggle we face, it’s more than fixing a few power lines so the lights in Wall Street can come back on.
    Things will get back to normal, and the mating calls of the hoax-merchants will be heard once more
    But we all know the winds will be back.
    And we will have to burn more fuel to resist the forces of chaos again.
    And again.
    And again.
    Any bets on the ultimate winner in all this?

  10. Mike Roddy says:

    I’d love it if it happens, but am afraid that it won’t. We thought things would change after Katrina and Gore’s movie, but we were back to BAU in no time. With two presidential candidates showing deep ties to fossil fuel companies, we can’t expect serious action within a meaningful time frame unless the people awaken. Politicians and media won’t do that for us.

  11. prokaryotes says:

    This video plays automatically ( from the teaser) on my chrome brwoser.

  12. “Of all the adaptation schemes, the least effective is denial.”
    – Psychotherapist Dr. Betty Merton

  13. Chris Winter says:

    Yes — and perhaps equally important, it hit the home of one David Hamilton Koch.

    I don’t really expect it will turn his head around, but we can always hope.

  14. Tom Davis says:

    How about we use “Climate Delta.” That can’t “political,” can it?

  15. Addicted says:

    And it has shut down Wall Street (the physical location) for possibly weeks.

    You don’t think Bloomberg’s endorsement came from the goodness of his heart, do you?

  16. Obama just said WHAT?

    “… and that climate change is a threat to our children’s future.” !!?#$!!???

    Future my patootie! We just had a massive storm which in fact killed some of our children — along with wiping out the Jersey shore and Staten Island and bringing NY to a standstill.

    By “future,” does Obama mean this weekend?


  17. …and our energy supplies are in decline; whereas Nature’s power is literally unlimited.

    Unless we convert to solar that is. Solar energy is limitless for all practical purposes and will be for the next five billion years or so, which gives us a breather to figure out new solutions.

  18. Bruce S says:

    The 75% volume loss of arctic ice has consequence. Rebuilding and replacing all that Sandy ruined will have a carbon footprint. There is a lot of heating in the pipeline already and sorry if it sounds un-American to say but not rebuilding on sand at a 5 foot elevation might be a practical response. We can wait until the arctic melts out completely to decide but waiting isn’t going to be far off so maybe we should make some tough choices now.

  19. Tom says:

    Ironic to see lines of cars waiting to gas up
    Ironic to see 200 million gallons of gas delivered to NYC
    Ironic to see people going right back to the crack That got them/us in this predicament

    As mentioned solar wind EV are alternatives that will not “fuel the fire” of climate change

    Peace and hope to those suffering in NJ NY CT

    Getting back in your internal combustion vehicle is like the awful story of a wife going back to an abusive husband

  20. Lore says:

    No more unpatriotic then declaring the lunacy of maintaining and expanding cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas in the desert SW.

  21. Omega Centauri says:

    “Politicians and media won’t do that for us.”
    True but they can aid or hinder the effort. Mostly they’ve been doing the later. I sure when the media bosses get an earful from their big coal and oil advertisers that pressure will be brought to bear on the media personalities. Maybe a few heads will roll. But soon it will be back to the pre-Sandy status quo.

    Remember, CNN nuked its science reporting, because the sponsors didn’t want the message broadcast. Then the public is back in the denialist loop again.

  22. Omega Centauri says:

    I started thinking about the financial implications if we suddenly wake up to the danger. Thirty-trillion dollars in fossil fuel equity -down the tubes. How many more banks and retirement funds will then need bailing out. No way! Business as usual is a giant game of extend and pretend, and overturning the fossil fuel cart will surely trainwreck the whole financial house of cards. So rather than face that as the shortterm, we will sacrifice the longterm and extend-and-pretend (deny).

  23. Theron says:

    It’s the “anthropogenic” part that is the biggest sticking point even for those conservatives willing to admit that there is something going on, and without that there will no action.

  24. Mike Roddy says:

    Good points. Fossil fuels are so profitable that they are joined at the hip to our financial institutions. And besides retirement accounts, don’t forget the 1%. They sub out their investments to professional money managers, who love that low risk fossil fuel income. We need to introduce risk in those investments. Then we might see change, which will require fossil fuel wealth destruction.

  25. Mike Roddy says:

    Nah, he and the family are probably skiing in his Aspen place. The help is looking after the apartment in Manhattan. Koch is crazy, and will never change.

  26. Leif says:

    The loss does not have to be destruction just amortized over a much longer period of time. Clearly the reserves that remain will remain and the transition to the Green Awakening Economy are not going to happen over night. The folks that have investments in ecocide fossil will indeed see less gains but most have ample to still buy food and those that do not could receive portfolios of green investments to tide them over. Besides, those Green Investments are sure to grow rapidly with renewed attention in the transition. All payed for by the SUN… It can be done. It must be done.

    Stopping profits from the pollution of the commons is just a first step. A long path remains, unlike the ecocide fossil trail capitalism has followed for the past centuries. Socially enabled capitalism has proven itself a failed paradigm.

  27. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The reality is that, in a plutocracy with a sham veneer of ‘democracy’, the only opinions that count are those of the rich owners of society. Their Rightwing MSM faithfully echo their Bosses’ opinions, the political caste who depend on the rich’s ‘contributions’ durst not bite the hand that feeds them, and the public, struggling with burgeoning economic inequality and workplace insecurity, have not the time nor inclination to rock the boat. They are relentlessly and remorselessly brainwashed by ever more hysterical Rightwing demagogues, and environmentalists have become the most violently demonised group in society, because their message threatens the economic power of the wealthy. Sitting back and waiting for the elites to somehow confect consciences ex nihilo is pointless. They rarely have, and regarding climate destabilisation, most seem determined to fight to the bitter end.

  28. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    That is the central truth. The fossil fuel assets underpin the entire capitalist house of cards, and if they are rendered worthless, as is required to save humanity from ecological doom, capitalism will collapse under the burden of debt. That is why the Bosses will never agree to rapid decarbonisation.

  29. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Perhaps not, but he seems less of a suicidal fool than the rest of the elite.