NY Times Exploits Irene to Promote ‘Climate Change’
Never let a natural disaster go to waste. In August 2010, New York Times environmental reporter Justin Gillis reacted to that summer’s heat waves and flooding with “ In Weather Chaos, a Case for Global Warming” on the front page of the Times. So it was no surprise he took advantage of Hurricane Irene in Sunday’s edition with “ Seeing Irene as Harbinger of a Change in Climate.”
Gillis’s latest story, admittedly written when Irene looked more dangerous than it turned out to be, was also guilty of disaster hype.
The scale of Hurricane Irene, which could cause more extensive damage along the Eastern Seaboard than any storm in decades, is reviving an old question: are hurricanes getting worse because of human-induced climate change?
The short answer from scientists is that they are still trying to figure it out. But many of them do believe that hurricanes will get more intense as the planet warms, and they see large hurricanes like Irene as a harbinger.
While the number of the most intense storms has clearly been rising since the 1970s, researchers have come to differing conclusions about whether that increase can be attributed to human activities.
Blogger A.J. Strata reminded the Times that Hurricane Isabel caused ample damage and deaths along the Eastern seaboard just eight years ago.
Apparently the NY Times is not aware that 8 years is not a longer time span than ‘decades’. In 2003 a little ‘ol Cat 2 hurricane (not a middling Cat 1 such as Irene) hit the “Eastern Seaboard”, rearranging the outer banks and pitching the DC area into darkness for days.
Gillis does admit the jury is still out on details, but is confident that a line can be drawn from greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to more vulnerable coastlines from hurricanes.
The ocean has been getting warmer for decades, and most climate scientists say it is because greenhouse gases are trapping extra heat. Rising sea-surface temperatures are factored into both Mr. Knutson’s and Dr. Emanuel’s analyses, but they disagree on the effect that warming in remote areas of the tropics will have on Atlantic hurricanes.
Air temperatures are also rising because of greenhouse gases, scientists say. That causes land ice to melt, one of several factors leading to a rise in sea level. That increase, in turn, is making coastlines more vulnerable to damage from the storm surges that can accompany powerful hurricanes.
Overall damage from hurricanes has skyrocketed in recent decades, but most experts agree that is mainly due to excessive development along vulnerable coastlines.
-Clay Waters is Editor of the MRC’s TimesWatch site
MSNBC Features 9/11 Truther to Blame Hurricane on Global Warming
On Friday’s Dylan Ratigan Show, MSNBC contributor Touré, who is also a 9/11 truther, wondered if Hurricane Irene is an example of global warming.
He speculated, “When you talk about an unusual weather event happening in New York and this sort of thing, is this really evidence of global warming to see this sort of a massive storm happening here?”
Touré is routinely featured on MSNBC, despite his tendency to tweet in support of 9/11 conspiracy theories. See below for examples:
Van Jones was forced to resign partly bc questions the truth of 9/11 but that Pentagon attack is really fishy… [ Link to tweet]
How could a plane crash into the Pentagon? And not appear on video cameras?? And leave little wreckage??? #Don’tbuyitfiremenow. [Link to tweet]
Go here for screen shots of the Tweets.
Stephen Flynn of The Center for National Policy seemed to agree with linking Hurricane Irene to climate change. He asserted, “I think the evidence is a bit overwhelming that we’re seeing climate change, which is generating more significant events, in terms of frequency and scale.”
It’s a bit much to blame this hurricane on global warming. It’s even weirder when a conspiracy-minded 9/11 truther does it.
A transcript of the August 26 exchange:
TOURE: When you talk about an unusual weather event happening in New York and this sort of thing, is this really evidence of global warming to see this sort of a massive storm happening here?
STEPHEN FLYNN (Ctr. For National Policy): I think the evidence is a bit overwhelming that we’re seeing climate change, which is generating more significant events, in terms of frequency and scale. Now, we can debate the cause, which we don’t need to. We have a big event right now. But, my own view is we’re causing man-made- is generating this. But, the reality, no matter what we stop or start doing we’re going to see more of this with frequency. But, it’s where we live-
TOURE: Yeah. We’re going to see more of these as time goes on?
FLYNN: Absolutely. With higher intensity. And then, the other issue, we we live and how. We’re concentrated. A long time ago, cast about. And, so, being prepared is key. And recognizing, where you’re vulnerable, what you’re dependent on in building a plan.
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter
Irene and Climate Change: Liberal Media Won’t Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste
In the days leading up to Hurricane Irene’s march through the Northeast, journalists repeatedly suggested that the storm was yet more evidence of climate change.
“The scale of Hurricane Irene, which could cause more extensive damage along the Eastern Seaboard than any storm in decades, is reviving an old question: are hurricanes getting worse because of human-induced climate change?” asked the New York Times’ Justin Gillis in his August 28 piece.
HLN guest host Don Lemon asked scientist Bill Nye on Wednesday if the storm was proof of climate change. Nye answered that it was “consistent with all the predictions of climate change models” and added that the United States is behind the times in taking action on climate change. “There’s no other developed world country that isn’t very concerned about climate change,” Nye asserted, and ABC’s weatherman Sam Champion agreed.
MSNBC’s guest host Chris Hayes teed up environmental activist Bill McKibben with this dour question on Thursday: “How do you maintain hope? Because sometimes I read about the climate, and I just sort of despair, or I want to throw in the towel.” McKibben predictably answered that the hurricane’s middle name was “global warming.”
On Friday’s Dylan Ratigan Show, as NewsBusters reported, MSNBC contributor Toure asked Stephen Flynn from the Center for National Policy if such a “massive storm” in New York City would be evidence of global warming. Flynn answered in the affirmative.
A transcript of the segments is as follows:
THE LAST WORD
CHRIS HAYES: How do you maintain hope? Because sometimes I read about the climate, and I just sort of despair, or I want to throw in the towel. And I wonder since you’re out there every day, you’re here talking to me now, how do you avoid that?”
BILL MCKIBBEN, environmental activist: It’s easy to despair. It’s easy to despair today watching Irene come up the coast. It’s going to come over the warmest water that’s ever been recorded off the shores of New Jersey and New York. I mean, Irene’s middle name is global warming.
THE JOY BEHAR SHOW
DON LEMON: Let’s talk about the things now that people find highly controversial and we’re talking about climate change. First to Bill. Have there been stronger hurricanes lately, you believe – is climate change behind this?”
BILL NYE, “The Science Guy”: Well, you know, I – I accept all the evidence for climate change and more violent storms are part of that….Now these are not in themselves proof of climate change, but they are absolutely consistent with all the predictions of climate change models. So – and I remind everybody, the United States is unique in this. There’s no other developed world country that isn’t very concerned about climate change….
SAM CHAMPION, weatherman, ABC’s Good Morning America: I’m on board for climate change. I think again, just as Bill pointed out, I can’t think of another country as advanced as we are that hasn’t made a policy about it and hasn’t signed on to it.
THE DYLAN RATIGAN SHOW
TOURE, MSNBC contributor: When you talk about an unusual weather event happening in New York and this sort of thing, is this really evidence of global warming, to see this sort of a massive storm happening here?”
JUSTIN GILLIS, “Green” blogger, New York Times: The scale of Hurricane Irene, which could cause more extensive damage along the Eastern Seaboard than any storm in decades, is reviving an old question: are hurricanes getting worse because of human-induced climate change?
— Lead paragraph of Justin Gillis August 28 New York Times story, “Seeing Irene as Harbinger of a Change in Climate.”
Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center