CNN’s special “worldwide investigation” “Planet in Peril,” in two segments looking at the debate amongst politicians and scientists on whether climate change is a man-made phenomenon, failed to mention that NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen [pictured at right], one the scientists featured in the second segment, has received funding from George Soros, while mentioning that “second biggest contributors to [global warming skeptic Senator James] Inhofe's Senate office are energy and natural resource companies.”
The first segment, which began 8 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of Wednesday night’s program, examined the political debate over climate change, focusing on “the loudest voice” of Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe. CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduced the segment by referring back to the previous segments of “Planet in Peril,” which looked at the impact of climate change in different parts of the world. “From what we’ve seen in Greenland, Alaska, and Africa, the Earth's climate is clearly changing. It's not a theory. It's a fact. But what's causing those changes? The majority of the scientific community says it's mankind. But there are powerful voices who say otherwise.”
During the segment, CNN host Anderson Cooper highlighted Senator Inhofe’s position as a skeptic of man-made climate change. As Cooper put it, “Support human-caused climate change, Inhofe's thinking goes, and you get more funding.” He then specifically mentioned that “Inhofe's critics question his funding. The second biggest contributors to Inhofe's Senate office are energy and natural resource companies.”
A transcript of the segment from Wednesday night’s “Planet in Peril:” (Note how Cooper assumes that at least some viewers think the debate over climate change has been settled.)
SANJAY GUPTA: From what we've seen in Greenland, Alaska, and Africa, the Earth's climate is clearly changing. It's not a theory. It's a fact. But what's causing those changes? The majority of the scientific community says it's mankind. But there are powerful voices who say otherwise.
SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: And, with all the hysteria, all the fear, all the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? I believe it is.
COOPER: If you thought the debate over what's causing the Earth to warm was settled, think again.
INHOFE: I don't want to be rude, but, from now on, I'm going to ask...
ANDERSON COOPER: James Inhofe, Republican senator from Oklahoma, is the loudest voice, with probably the biggest platform, who questions whether man is responsible for climate change. His position has led to some intense political theater.
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: If I could complete my answer.
INHOFE: Well, if you do, then my time has expired. Are you aware of that?
GORE: Well, I can't help that, because you went on for a long time. But I would like to...
INHOFE: No, I have 15 minutes.
INHOFE: You, sir, had 30 minutes. I have 15. You have got to let me...
COOPER: This year, 2,000 scientists on the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded, with 90 percent certainty, that man is responsible for global warming. They were awarded a Nobel Prize for their work. But Inhofe questions the motives of those who say man is responsible for global warming.
INHOFE: This whole idea of global warming is something that has been brought up by certain groups who have a lot to benefit from it, and has nothing to do with real science.
COOPER: Nothing to do with science and everything to do with money. Support human-caused climate change, Inhofe's thinking goes, and you get more funding. But Inhofe's critics question his funding. The second biggest contributors to Inhofe's Senate office are energy and natural resource companies. We wanted to talk to Senator Inhofe about those contributions and his position on climate change. But after agreeing to an interview with us, he canceled.
In the next segment following a commercial break and a news update on the California wildfires, Cooper featured two scientists in a segment on the debate in the scientific community over the cause of climate change. Cooper called the first scientist, Dr. Pat Michaels of the University of Virginia [pictured at right], a "so-called climate change skeptic" according to Cooper. Michaels criticized the reliance of the climate change advocates on computer models. Cooper added that according to Michaels, "animals like the polar bear and humans will simply adapt" to the changes in climate and that "while a scientific consensus says man is responsible for global warming, Michaels, like Senator Inhofe, says money is the prime motivator."
Cooper then featured Dr. Hansen, "one of the first scientists to bring global warming into the public's consciousness in the 1980s." Cooper, during his introduction of Hansen, states that the scientist "doesn’t believe scientists are simply chasing funding." But Cooper doesn’t mention that Hansen received $720,000 from George Soros’s foundation in 2006.
A transcript of the portion of the segment featuring Dr. James Hansen, including the last portion of the part from Dr. Michaels in order to provide context:
ANDERSON COOPER: While a scientific consensus says man is responsible for global warming, Michaels, like Senator Inhofe, says money is the prime motivator.
MICHAELS: You write a proposal and you tie it to climate change, you got a good chance.
JAMES HANSEN, DIRECTOR, NASA GODDARD INSTITUTE FOR SPACE STUDIES: You know, nothing could be further from the truth. And, in fact, I'm a good example of that, because when I first spoke out about this in 1981, I ended up losing my funding.
COOPER: Dr. James Hansen doesn't believe scientists are simply chasing funding. Hansen, with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was one of the first scientists to bring global warming into the public's consciousness in the 1980s.
HANSEN: We conclude that there is evidence that the greenhouse effect increases the likelihood of heat wave drought situations.
COOPER: Hansen was nearly alone back then. But, today, he's brought the vast majority of the scientific community to his side. We are changing our climate, he says, and are risking a different planet. He rejects nearly all of the skeptics' points, from moderate estimates...
HANSEN: We're talking about several meters of sea level rise if West Antarctica begins to go unstable.
COOPER: ...to computer modeling.
HANSEN: That's another big misconception. The computer models are helpful, but they are not the primary source of information. It's the Earth's history that tells us, with the most accuracy and the most reliability, what the climate sensitivity is. We have measurements of the atmospheric composition, very precise, from the bubbles of air trapped in the ice sheets as a function of time over the last 700,000 years.
COOPER: Climate science is clearly complicated and often controversial. Both sides of the debate know that. For Jim Hansen, that makes the situation all the more pressing.
HANSEN: The nature of science is, you say, on the one hand, this and, on the other hand, that. And, even as the story becomes quite clear, we may not be making clear that we're really talking about a different planet. So, I think we are running out of time. We have really got to get started in the next few years, so that we are really on a different path.
As Dan Gainor pointed out in his blog about the first night of "Planet in Peril," the series has been a mixed bag. It spent a good amount of time criticizing the environmental record of China, something you don’t often see played-up in the mainstream media. But when it subjects more scrutiny to Senator Inhofe than Dr. Hansen in the area of funding, you know CNN is pushing another biased miniseries in the line of "God’s Warriors."