In Midst of Scorching Heat Wave, CBS Proclaims Global Warming Debate Over
As sure as the sun rises in the east, when a heat wave engulfs the continental United States, it dawns on the media that ‚Äúglobal warming‚ÄĚ may be to blame. Such was the case with CBS‚Äôs Bob Orr on the July 31 ‚ÄúEvening News,‚ÄĚ when the reporter consulted with Pew Center on Global Climate Change‚Äôs Jay Gulledge.
‚ÄúThe average global temperature is getting hotter due to global warming,‚ÄĚ Gulledge told Orr.
‚ÄúGulledge says there‚Äôs no longer any serious debate‚ÄĚ on climate change, Orr added. A short time later, Orr‚Äôs story was cut short just as Gulledge was explaining his theory that pollution in the 1960s and 1970s prevented global warming from occurring then.
‚ÄúJust to underline how hot it is, the remote truck that Bob Orr was broadcasting from just overheated and we had to shut it down,‚ÄĚ anchor Bob Schieffer explained as the story ended abruptly.
But is the van-unfriendly heat wave really damning proof of the impact of global warming? Not all climatologists agree, among them the University of Alabama in Huntsville‚Äôs John Christy.
In written testimony to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on May 2, 2001, Christy urged the committee ‚Äúto be suspicious of media reports in which weather extremes are given as proof of human-induced climate change.‚ÄĚ
He added that ‚Äúweather extremes occur somewhere all the time,‚ÄĚ including ‚Äúthe coldest combined November and December in 106 years‚ÄĚ at the end of 2000, an event that ‚Äúdoes not prove U.S. or global cooling.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThe Earth system has more unknowns that we are generally willing to acknowledge,‚ÄĚ Coren quoted an e-mail from Christy. ‚ÄúOur pronouncements often express more confidence than is warranted given the level of ignorance in which we presently operate,‚ÄĚ Christy added.
What‚Äôs more, Gulledge‚Äôs claim that pollution staved off global warming is a novel explanation considering the media‚Äôs obsession with global cooling in the 1970s.
As the Business & Media Institute reported in its recent ‚ÄúFire and Ice‚ÄĚ study on the history of media coverage of climate change, ‚ÄúThe first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, amidst hysteria about the dangers of a new ice age.‚ÄĚ
For example, on Jan. 11, 1970, ‚ÄúThe Washington Post told readers to ‚Äėget a good grip on your long johns, cold weather haters ‚Äď the worst may be yet to come,‚Äô in an article titled ‚ÄėColder Winters Held Dawn of New Ice Age.‚Äô The article quoted climatologist Reid Bryson, who said ‚Äėthere‚Äôs no relief in sight‚Äô about the cooling trend.‚ÄĚ