No 323 Posted by fw, November 3, 2011
The times they are a-changing. And how!
NBC News, in a report on the freak October snowstorm that shut down trick or treating in the northeast U.S., mentioned “climate change” not once, not twice but three times. And if that’s not shocking enough, consider this smackdown of the Koch brothers as “the oil billionaires and climate change deniers.” What a bracing and welcome about-face from a mainstream corporate broadcaster that typically bent over backwards to avoid any mention of “climate change” in its coverage of extreme weather events. So, we salute NBC News and say, “More, please”.
What more could we ask for? How about a belated recognition of the tight relationship between “climate change” and the accumulated ecological devastation caused by 150 years of unfettered free market capitalism? Humanity’s insatiable appetite for more of everything has overshot the earth’s carrying capacity.
Here’s a video of the NBC News report, Extreme Weather, followed by my transcript.
Brian Williams — Everybody out east said the same thing about this freak snow storm. This kind of thing didn’t use to happen. This never happened before. And while that is true, it may also be true that we’ll all have to start getting used to this kind of thing over the long haul. That story tonight from our chief environmental affairs correspondent, Anne Thompson.
Anne Thompson — Around the world it seems like the weather is going to extremes – not just the Halloween snowstorm in the northeast: but record-breaking flooding in Thailand; 1400 new highs hit in the U.S. just in the month of July; Moscow reaching 101 degrees in the summer of 2010; heat and wildfires consuming southern Australia in 2009.
Dr Gerry Meehl — This is the future and we’re already experiencing climate change.
Anne Thompson — Dr Gerry Meehl is the senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. He says our warming planet makes extreme weather events more likely, as greenhouse gases created by burning fossil fuels, such as oil, gas and coal, alter the climate.
Dr Gerry Meehl — Just as steroids make baseball players stronger and increase his chances of hitting home runs, the greenhouse gases are the steroids of the climate system – they increase the chances of record-breaking heat to occur compared to record-breaking cold.
Anne Thompson — If the climate weren’t changing the ratio would be 1 record hot day to 1 record cold day. Meehl says we saw 2 record hot days for every record cold day in the last decade and this year we are on a 3 to 1 pace. Heat and little rainfall have parched Texas for the last year, making it, in the words of state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, the worst 1-year drought in Texas’ history.
John Nielsen-Gammon — This is really the first time when the impact of climate change has manifested itself in a tangible way within the state of Texas.
Anne Thompson — Adding to all this, a new study defines global warming as real and that the science behind it is not impacted by bias, bad data or cities that act as heat islands.
Richard Muller, University of California-Berkeley — The existence of global warming I think is pretty much beyond dispute now. I think we have closed the last remaining questions on that.
Anne Thompson — Muller’s study is getting a lot of attention because it was funded in part by a foundation backed by Charles and David Koch. They are oil billionaires and climate change deniers. Today no one can deny that extreme weather is here to stay. Brian
Brian Williams – All I know is this didn’t happen when we were kids.