CBS's Pelley Pushes Climate Alarmism, Carbon Tax

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Sunday's 60 Minutes, the show gave a forum to climate alarmists who tried to tie recent natural disasters to global warming, made dire predictions about the future and argued that more taxes on fossil fuels would help reverse alleged damage to the climate..

Without including any skeptics who are familiar with climate patterns from past, Pelley blamed human activity for making recent droughts, wildfires and hurricanes more intense.

After noting that President Trump was about to return to the White House from his stay at Walter Reed Medical Center, Pelley began the piece:

When he returns to the Oval Office, many crises await him, including the wildfires in the West. At least 31 have died in the largest wildfires in California history. The East is defending itself against twice the usual number of tropical storms and cyclones, and what may be the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth came in August in the United States.

The CBS correspondent then claimed that former NASA scientist and prominent environmental alarmist Dr. James Hansen had long ago predicted current events:

It's a torrid 2020, and it was forecast 32 years ago. In the 1980s, a NASA scientist named James Hanson discovered that climate change driven by carbon emissions was upon us. His graphs of three decades ago accurately traced the global rise in temperature to the year 2020.

The 13-minute segment included soundbites from Dr. Hanson, Pennsylvania State University Professor Michael Mann, California state fire chief Tom Porter, and California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot to advocate for the preferred narrative of the left on global warming.

The piece began by recalling the recent destructive wildfire season in California, blaming it on recent drought which Crowfoot later in the segment claimed was the worst in 1,000 years, although this claim has been disputed by others.

Pelley also twice misleadingly referred to a recent temperature of 130 degrees Fahreneit in Death Valley as a "record" without noting that it actually has gotten as high as 134 degrees more than 100 years ago -- so it's not actually a record high after all.

Claims of record-breaking temperatures in other parts of California have also been disputed.

Hanson was given an opportunity to make predictions about the next few decades:

Well, if we don't change anything, we're going to continue to see more and more of these extreme, regional events because the physics is quite simple -- as you add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and you increase the heating of the surface, so at the times and places where it's dry -- you get more extreme droughts, the fire seasons become longer, the fires burn hotter. But, at the times and places where it's wet, you get more evaporation of the water, and you get warmer, moist air which provides greater rainfall, and it's the fuel for storms.

On the issue of the current unusually large number of tropical storms and hurricanes this year, it was not mentioned that there have been other similarly active seasons, as hurricane season patterns go through cycles spanning decades, and, as noted by meteorologist Joe Bastardi, prior to the satellite era, there was no way to count accurately the total number of storms that did not make landfall.

Mann was seen claiming that melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica has effected the climate detrimentally, although the issue of ice melting in Antarctica has also been disputed by skeptics.

Accepting without challenge the predictions of his liberal sources, Pelley eventually talked up more taxes on fossil fuels as a solution:

Still, geophysicist Michael Mann told us warming can be stopped. Oceans and forests would begin to absorb excess carbon in a matter of years if emissions -- principally from coal-fired power plants -- are reduced close to zero. Former NASA scientist James Hanson believes the way to do that is for governments to tax cheap fossil fuels to make them more expensive than clean alternatives.

This one-sided propaganda was sponsored by Purina. Their contact information is linked.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Sunday, October 4, 60 Minutes on CBS:

SCOTT PELLEY: When he (President Donald Trump) returns to the Oval Office, many crises await him, including the wildfires in the West. At least 31 have died in the largest wildfires in California history. The East is defending itself against twice the usual number of tropical storms and cyclones, and what may be the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth came in August in the United States. It's a torrid 2020, and it was forecast 32 years ago. In the 1980s, a NASA scientist named James Hanson discovered that climate change driven by carbon emissions was upon us. His graphs of three decades ago accurately traced the global rise in temperature to the year 2020.

(...)

PELLY (discussing wildfires burning four percent of California): Climate isn't the only reason. Decades of aggressively putting out every forest fire allowed brush to pile up like kindling, but the warming climate has intensified heat and drought. (California State Fire) Chief (Tom) Porter showed us the length of the fire lines he's defending right now would stretch from L.A. to New York.

TOM PORTER, CALIFORNIA STATE FIRE CHIEF: They talk about career fires, and a career fire was sometimes on the order of 10,000 to 50,000 acres -- 50,000, that's crazy.

PELLEY: The kind of thing a firefighter would see once in his career.

PORTER: Correct -- once in a career. It dawned on me at one point that career fires are happening every single year.

(...)

PORTER: I'm afraid that without significant change in the moisture that we get from the atmosphere, we're going to continue to see this getting worse and worse and worse.

PELLEY: How much of California can burn?

PORTER: Every acre in California can and will burn someday.

PELLEY: California's smoke blew more than 2,000 miles to the East and drifted over the Pennsylvania farm of retired NASA scientist James Hanson. His 1988 paper on carbon and climate accurately predicted temperatures up to the far off year of 2020.

JAMES HANSON, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Yeah, we're seeing exactly what we expected, but I expected that governments would be wise enough that they would begin to adopt policies to preserve the future for young people, but they haven't done that yet.

PELLEY: Hanson is the father of climate change science. For 32 years, he was the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Today, at 79, he runs the program on climate science at Columbia University. What is your forecast for the next 30 years?

HANSON: Well, if we don't change anything, we're going to continue to see more and more of these extreme, regional events because the physics is quite simple -- as you add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and you increase the heating of the surface, so at the times and places where it's dry -- you get more extreme droughts, the fire seasons become longer, the fires burn hotter. But, at the times and places where it's wet, you get more evaporation of the water, and you get warmer, moist air which provides greater rainfall, and it's the fuel for storms.

PELLEY: This summer, the Atlantic basin has soaked beneath 23 tropical storms or hurricanes -- double the usual number. Death Valley, California hit 130 degrees, now being evaluated as a world record. And Los Angeles reached 120.

MICHAEL MANN, PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY: People ask, "Are we dealing with a new normal?" And the sobering answer is: "That's the best case scenario." A new normal is the best case scenario because that sort of means we've got a new situation, and we just have to learn how to deal with it. But it's much worse than that. So there are surprises in store, and we're seeing some of those surprises playing out now.

PELLEY: Michael Mann is a geophysicist whose work on past climate showed today's rate of warming began with the Industrial Revolution. Mann is a lightning rod for deniers, but his research has been verified again and again.

(...)

MANN: There's about as much of a scientific consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity.

(...)

PELLEY: This is the unmasked Wade Crowfoot, who reminded us, California emerged from a five-year drought in 2016.

WADE CROWFOOT, CALIFORNIA NATURAL RESOURCES AGENCY: In that drought, which we call the "megadrought," hasn't happened at that level in 1,000 years. We have experienced communities in California literally running out of water.

PELLEY: And where California dried out is now the site of the largest single fire in state history...

(...)

PELLEY: I did my first climate story more than 20 years ago, and I remember at the time being told that there would be terrible fires and terrible hurricanes in 100 years, that this was a problem for our great grandchildren. What changed?

MANN: What we're finding is that many of these changes can happen faster than we thought they could. We didn't really expect to see substantial loss of ice from the two major continental ice sheets -- the Greenland ice sheet and the Antarctic ice sheet.

(...)

PELLEY: Still, geophysicist Michael Mann told us warming can be stopped. Oceans and forests would begin to absorb excess carbon in a matter of years if emissions -- principally from coal-fired power plants -- are reduced close to zero. Former NASA scientist James Hanson believes the way to do that is for governments to tax cheap fossil fuels to make them more expensive than clean alternatives.

(...)

PELLEY: If we don't begin to reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere, 50 years from now, someone doing research on this time might look at this interview, and I wonder what you would like to say to them?

MANN: That's a tough question. I would say we did everything we could, and we're sorry. We're sorry that we failed. But I don't think that's our future. I don't want that to be our future. That's a possible future. We have to recognize that. The worst visions that Hollywood has given us of dystopian futures are real possible futures if we don't act on this problem -- the greatest crisis we face as a civilization.

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