Unfortunately, This Two-Minute ABC World News Report Stands Out as Good Climate Reporting ABC News Connects the Weather and Climate Dots

ABC World News runs an accurate, well-rounded piece on weather and climate. Too bad we're talking about it.

I don't watch a lot of network television, so I missed this when it aired last Thursday, but lots of folks in the green blogosphere whose opinions I greatly respect have been touting it.


I will agree with Treehugger's Brian Merchant that it's a "well-researched, well-rounded, entirely accurate story on climate change," and, yes, I too get excited whenever the mainstream media handles climate change appropriately.

But stepping back, it actually drives me nuts that this stands out as good coverage. I actually don't mind that it's barely over two minutes (since that's how Americans digest their news these days), but it really shouldn't be so difficult to tell this story: warmer world, wetter world, more extreme weather events. To use Merchant again, "all it took was a year full of catastrophic extreme weather events to also be confirmed to be the hottest year ever recorded."

All that said, I'm grateful for the piece, and hope that it does help the millions of Americans who still watch nightly news understand that tricky connection between long term climatic shifts and immediate weather events. The talking points they aired were choice:

Derek Arndt, head of NOAA's Climate Monitoring Branch in the National Climate Data Center, said that his agency is "measuring certain types of extreme events that we would expect to see more often in a warming world, and these are indeed increasing." Extreme events like the flooding in Australia and Brazil.

Richard Sommerville, a Nobel award winning climate scientist from University of California at San Diego who led a team of IPCC report authors offered emphatically:

This is no longer something that's theory or conjecture or something that comes out of computer models. We're observing the climate changing. It's real. It's happening. It's scientific fact.

It is great that mainstream Americans tuning into mainstream six o'clock news programs are hearing this laid out in such matter of fact terms, without the false "balance" (in the form of fossil fuel industry funded "experts") that the mainstream media felt obliged to provide for so many years. It's just too bad that it's so unique an occurrence that we feel obliged to celebrate it.

Thanks to Wonk Room's Brad Johnson for finding and posting the clip.


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