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 âglobal warmingâ may be to blame. Such was the case with CBSâs Bob Orr on the July 31 âEvening News,â when the reporter consulted with Pew Center on Global Climate Changeâs Jay Gulledge.
âThe average global temperature is getting hotter due to global warming,â Gulledge told Orr.
âGulledge says thereâs no longer any serious debateâ on climate change, Orr added. A short time later, Orrâs story was cut short just as Gulledge was explaining his theory that pollution in the 1960s and 1970s prevented global warming from occurring then.
âJust to underline how hot it is, the remote truck that Bob Orr was broadcasting from just overheated and we had to shut it down,â 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 Huntsvilleâs John Christy.
In written testimony to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on May 2, 2001, Christy urged the committee âto be suspicious of media reports in which weather extremes are given as proof of human-induced climate change.â
He added that âweather extremes occur somewhere all the time,â including âthe coldest combined November and December in 106 yearsâ at the end of 2000, an event that âdoes not prove U.S. or global cooling.â
âThe Earth system has more unknowns that we are generally willing to acknowledge,â Coren quoted an e-mail from Christy. âOur pronouncements often express more confidence than is warranted given the level of ignorance in which we presently operate,â Christy added.
Whatâs more, Gulledgeâs claim that pollution staved off global warming is a novel explanation considering the mediaâs obsession with global cooling in the 1970s.
As the Business & Media Institute reported in its recent âFire and Iceâ study on the history of media coverage of climate change, âThe first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, amidst hysteria about the dangers of a new ice age.â
For example, on Jan. 11, 1970, âThe Washington Post told readers to âget a good grip on your long johns, cold weather haters â the worst may be yet to come,â in an article titled âColder Winters Held Dawn of New Ice Age.â The article quoted climatologist Reid Bryson, who said âthereâs no relief in sightâ about the cooling trend.â