Thursday's CBS Evening News was practically shocked by a fact that threatens the agenda of radical environmentalists – global temperatures have simply not risen in 15 years. Scott Pelley trumpeted how "on the eve of a major new report on climate change...a surprising discovery." Mark Phillips hyped that "another inconvenient truth has emerged on the way to the apocalypse....the global atmosphere hasn't been warming lately."
The correspondent spotlighted how "since 1998, while the amount of greenhouse gases continued to rise, the air temperature hasn't." He also pointed out that this development "makes the task for the world's majority of climate scientists...more difficult. For the skeptics, it's ammunition." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Anchor Scott Pelley teased Phillips' report with his "surprising discovery" phrase, and introduced the segment with similar language: "Scientists working with the United Nations have been poring over data on climate and greenhouse gases. Their report is due out tomorrow. But anyone expecting it to show steadily-rising air temperatures could be in for a surprise."
The CBS journalist led with his bombastic "apocalypse" line, and continued by explaining the discovery. Phillips then turned to Brian King of the National Oceanography Center in the UK, who contended that "science thinks the extra heat has gone into the oceans". The correspondent added that "scientists are surer of their data than ever, because a new network of temperature-sensitive floats has been laid across the oceans."
Towards the end of the report, Phillips refreshingly featured two soundbites from a climate change skeptic, who advised a measured response to the issue:
MARK PHILLIPS (off-camera): Does this remove the sense of urgency?
BENNY PEISER, GLOBAL WARMING POLICY FOUNDATION: It has already.
PHILLIPS (voice-over): For Benny Peiser, who heads a climate policy think tank, the world doesn't need crippling cuts in fossil fuel use. It needs to build more flood barriers, like this one, to protect against the rising sea levels that melting polar ice and glaciers will cause.
PHILLIPS (off-camera): Are you saying that the measures that are being proposed – for the quite significant reduction in the production of greenhouse gases – are unrealistic; unreachable; wrong? What are you saying?
PEISER: They are unrealistic and unreachable.
PHILLIPS (voice-over): And whatever happens to the temperature, the climate change debate is about to heat up.
But the journalist didn't mention once during the segment how the Sun contributes to the climate issue. Earlier in 2013, scientists revealed that the solar maximum – the high point in the Sun's regular 11-year cycle of eruptive activity – is "shaping up to be the weakest in 100 years and the next one could be even more quiescent".
However, this latest report is certainly a change for Phillips. Back in December 2009, he went so far to stand in water up to his neck, and then went fully underwater to hype the doomsday scenario of sea level rise.
[Update, Friday, 2:05 pm Eastern: the full transcript of Mark Phillips' report from Thursday's CBS Evening News can be read at MRC.org.]