PBS's Amanpour Pushes Climate Alarmism with Michael Mann

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Monday's Amanpour & Co. on PBS and CNN International, host Christiane Amanpour devoted her first segment to allowing environmental activist Michael Mann to promote his alarmist views on global warming as the two talked up the possibility of Democrats successfully enacting regulations to try to impact the climate.

The PBS host assumed that there is a "climate emergency" as she set up the segment:

A huge objective for the Biden administration is tackling the climate emergency. The question is no longer, "Is it real?" but rather, "How long do we have to wrestle with it?" Today global leaders convened remotely for the climate adaptation summit to share ideas on how to respond to the havoc wreaked by climate change.

After a clip of climate envoy John Kerry predicting that there will be economic damage in the absence of new climate regulations, Amanpour brought aboard Pennsylvania State University's Michael Mann, plugged his latest book, and cued him up to attack global warming skeptics:

Leading climate expert Michael Mann has some good news to offer on that front. In his book, "The New Climate War, the Fight to Take Back Our Planet," Mann lays out his battle plan for saving our environment and, of course, our world. Michael Mann, welcome to the program. So can I ask you about the title of your book. What is the new climate war and what was the old climate war?

Mann began by claiming that skeptics have stopped disputing the alarmist views that liberals promote:

The old climate war was this assault -- decades-long assault on the basic science of climate change by fossil fuel industry groups, those advocating for them, advocating for their agenda, an effort to discredit the science, to discredit the scientists and convince the public and policy makers that we don't have a problem. Well, that's no longer credible, right, because we can see the impacts of climate change now playing out in real time in the form of unprecedented extreme weather disasters, floods, heat waves, droughts, wildfires, superstorms.

It was not mentioned that most claims about record natural disasters happening in recent years have been disputed as not being unprecedented at all. He then added:

So the forces of inaction -- the inactivists, as I call them -- can no longer claim that it isn't happening or even that it isn't due to our activity. But what they have tried to do is introduce a number of other tactics in their effort to keep us addicted to fossil fuels, and that includes dividing the community of climate advocates, deflecting away from the needed policies to systemic solutions to individual behavior, and offering up false promises and false solutions. These are the various tactics in what I call the "new climate war."

The PBS host further invited her guest to attack "climate deniers" as she followed up:

So, okay, the old one, I mean, you describe what we would call "climate deniers." Now, you're talking about the inactivists. What sort of false solutions are there? Give us what they're telling people as they kind of, you know, to again sort of draw the wool over their eyes perhaps, in your view?

The segment which did not include any significant pushback to Mann's claims also included Amanpour asserting that not just the Donald Trump administration, but past Presidents have contributed to damaging the world's climate:

So, look, that is very, very encouraging for all of us who believe that our planet or at least our civilization, our human civilization is in peril, and time is running out. But are you saying, then, how much can this administration actually do, and of course, you are right, it has to be systemic, and it has to be government and it can't be just us eating vegetables instead of hamburgers or recycling and it has to be everything. How much damage was done by the Trump administration, and all of the administrations who, frankly, were inactive for so long before?

This episode of Amanpour & Co. was sponsored by the Anderson Family Fund and the Straus Family Foundation. You can fight back by letting advertisers know how you feel about them sponsoring such content.

Transcripts of all of Amanpour's questions follow:

PBS and CNN International

Amanpour & Co.

January 25, 2021

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: A huge objective for the Biden administration is tackling the climate emergency. The question is no longer, "Is it real?" but rather, "How long do we have to wrestle with it?" Today global leaders convened remotely for the climate adaptation summit to share ideas on how to respond to the havoc wreaked by climate change. John Kerry, who's President Biden's special climate envoy, said this to the summit earlier today.

JOHN KERRY, CLIMATE ENVOY: Now, some of these impacts are inevitable because of the warming that's already taken place. But if we don't act globally and immediately by building resilience to climate change, we are likely going to see dramatic reversals in economic development for everybody. Poor and climate-vulnerable communities everywhere will obviously pay the highest price.

AMANPOUR: Leading climate expert Michael Mann has some good news to offer on that front. In his book, "The New Climate War, the Fight to Take Back Our Planet," Mann lays out his battle plan for saving our environment and, of course, our world. Michael Mann, welcome to the program. So can I ask you about the title of your book. What is the new climate war and what was the old climate war?

MICHAEL MANN, PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY: Yeah, thanks, Christiane, and it's great to be with you. The old climate war was this assault -- decades-long assault on the basic science of climate change by fossil fuel industry groups, those advocating for them, advocating for their agenda, an effort to discredit the science, to discredit the scientists and convince the public and policy makers that we don't have a problem. Well, that's no longer credible, right, because we can see the impacts of climate change now playing out in real time in the form of unprecedented extreme weather disasters, floods, heat waves, droughts, wildfires, superstorms. 

So the forces of inaction -- the inactivists, as I call them -- can no longer claim that it isn't happening or even that it isn't due to our activity. But what they have tried to do is introduce a number of other tactics in their effort to keep us addicted to fossil fuels, and that includes dividing the community of climate advocates, deflecting away from the needed policies to systemic solutions to individual behavior, and offering up false promises and false solutions. These are the various tactics in what I call the "new climate war."

AMANPOUR: So, okay, the old one, I mean, you describe what we would call "climate deniers." Now, you're talking about the inactivists. What sort of false solutions are there? Give us what they're telling people as they kind of, you know, to again sort of draw the wool over their eyes perhaps, in your view?

[MANN]

AMANPOUR: So, look, that is very, very encouraging for all of us who believe that our planet or at least our civilization, our human civilization is in peril, and time is running out. But are you saying, then, how much can this administration actually do, and of course, you are right, it has to be systemic, and it has to be government and it can't be just us eating vegetables instead of hamburgers or recycling and it has to be everything. How much damage was done by the Trump administration, and all of the administrations who, frankly, were inactive for so long before?

[MANN]

AMANPOUR: Michael Mann, I just want to come to some of the solutions because you talk about some of the real solutions like carbon pricing and the green stimulus, so let me just run through a few. As we know, the bipartisan spending plan in December was with Democratic and Republican support for $35 billion of green stimulus. We know that EU is using more renewables than fossil fuels -- it did during 2020. New York City's largest pension funds are going to divest their portfolios of an estimated $4 billion in securities related to fossil fuel. That's pretty big, right? And hopeful for Democrats and Republicans to have agreed to the spending stimulus?

[MANN]

AMANPOUR: Well, you mentioned Australia, and you know critics say Australia -- whether it's the government or, you know, the opposition, they're all in hock to the fossil fuel industry. We know the Murdoch papers there have just like, you know, they've just  come crashing down hard on the heads of anybody who would talk about climate change, it's really hard in Australia. But also there's this thing that you have pointed out and that is how we are bamboozled by some language like carbon capture. you know, even Elon Musk talks about giving , what did he say,  offering $100 million for carbon capture technology. But somebody like Janet Yellen, the treasury secretary, says, "We cannot solve the climate crisis without effective carbon pricing. The President does support an enforcement mechanism that requires polluters to bear the full cost of the carbon pollution that they're emitting." Do you think these fossil fuel people -- the industry -- will will come to that view that carbon pricing is a must?

[MANN]

AMANPOUR: So, again, it is really interesting, and the big behemoths, the BPs and all the others have given so much money to so many politicians that it's really a hard fix to break, a hard addiction to break. But I just want to ask you how you feel about this potential evolution. In 2005, BP popularized the term carbon footprint. It's essentially putting the onus on individuals to limit our individual carbon footprints and deflecting the need for big structural change. But then when I spoke to the then former CEO John Browne -- I talked to him in 2019 -- and he had come to the idea of carbon pricing, and listen to what he said.

HARRY BROWNE, FORMER BP CEO: We absolutely in order to get the temperature into a range that is acceptable in some way, we have to charge for carbon. We must have a carbon tax. Then we can deploy the technologies, and we will not -- we will still use hydrocarbons, because we haven't got the means whereby to replace them yet, but they will be cleaner and cleaner and cleaner. And that's what we've got to do.

AMANPOUR: So what do you make of that, and how influential could that be?

[MANN]

AMANPOUR: I mean, it came up in the election. It's really, you know, I'm sure many who work in that -- the ordinary people who work in it -- not the, you know, the very rich people who become very rich on fossil fuels -- are very concerned about jobs being phased out. It was a big part of the election. Joe Biden talked about phasing things out, whether it was fracking or whatever it was. And I just wonder what you think of -- should the government stop paying these massive tax incentives to the fossil fuel companies and instead give them to the green technology?

[MANN]

Well, Michael Mann it's interesting and heartening to hear you have a more hopeful view. You've been in the trenches, you know, at war with the climate deniers for so much of your career. So thank you very much  for joining us.

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