On Wednesday, several MSNBC shows ran a report in which NBC weather presenter Al Roker hyperventilated about the weather over the past year. Roker blamed virtually every form of unpleasant weather on climate change, while also sneaking in some high praise for President Biden.
The report began: “2021, another blistering year of climate and weather extremes, from wildfires and drought, to catastrophic flooding and hurricanes.”
Then came a celebration of America’s re-entry into the Paris Climate Accord:
This year seemed to pick up where 2020 left off with one major exception. Four years after withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, newly-elected President Joe Biden bringing the U.S. back into the fold...
The deal bringing together world leaders pledging to do their part to stop the Earth from warming past 1.5 degrees Celsius. Scientists say any warming beyond 2 degrees would be catastrophic.
After the usual talk of catastrophic warming, he pulled a 180 and blamed Texas’s uncharacteristically cold winter on climate change: “With the climate changing faster than ever before, what unfolded in Texas may no longer be a once-in-a-lifetime event.”
A quick note here: not even the most alarmist climate scientist would agree that the climate is changing “faster than ever before.” In fact, global temperatures stagnated so remarkably over the past two decades that scientists created the term “the pause” to refer to the lack of rising temperatures.
Roker then pivoted to seasonal wildfires and hurricanes, both of which he touted as more evidence that the global climate was spinning out of control.
Al has a long history of blaming supposedly increased rates of hurricanes on anthropogenic climate change – despite the fact that even the NOAA website admits the supposed “increase” in the rate of Atlantic tropical storm hurricanes is “not significantly distinguishable from zero.”
Cue the next attaboy for Biden:
To help address the mounting issues, the bipartisan infrastructure bill was signed into law in November. Included are historic levels of funding for climate resilience and weatherization, clean energy investments, and capping orphaned oil and gas wells.
From droughts in arid regions, to tornadoes in tornado alley, to hurricanes hitting coastlines, no predictable weather pattern escaped Roker’s watchful eye. By the end of the report, it had become apparent that his definition of “extremes” was not significantly distinguishable from what the rest of humanity refers to simply as “weather.”
Click “expand” below to read a full transcript of Roker’s report.
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports
12:47 – 12:52 pm EST
AL ROKER: 2021, another blistering year of climate and weather extremes, from wildfires and drought, to catastrophic flooding and hurricanes. Almost no state escaping unscathed. This year seemed to pick up where 2020 left off with one major exception. Four years after withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, newly-elected President Joe Biden bringing the U.S. back into the fold.
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN :We can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change.
ROKER: The deal bringing together world leaders pledging to do their part to stop the Earth from warming past 1.5 degrees celsius. Scientists say any warming beyond 2 degrees would be catastrophic. As winter carried on, Texas endured a cataclysmic event when an extreme arctic cold, caused by a breakdown in the polar vortex, sent icy air plunging south, crippling the state's power grid, leaving residents freezing without water and in the dark for days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We haven't had water for ten days. For the first couple of days we were collecting snow and melting the snow.
ROKER: With the climate changing faster than ever before, what unfolded in Texas may no longer be a once-in-a-lifetime event. This tragedy exposing one of the most fragile parts of our country: its crumbling and ill-fitted infrastructure. In the northwest it was sporadic weather patterns connected to climate change that created a once in a millennia heat wave, resulting in some of the highest temperatures ever recorded in the region. Temperatures in Portland, Seattle, and parts of Canada soaring well above 100 degrees. At least 228 people dying in Washington state and Oregon alone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Electricity went off. Quickly getting warmer and warmer.
ROKER: Kicking off an unprecedented summer of heat, 2021 will go down in history as the hottest summer on record for the United States. Mega-fires in the west burning for months. The Bootleg fire in Oregon becoming the state's biggest this year, burning more than 413,000 acres. The Dixie fire becoming the second largest to ever scorch parts of California.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't know where I was, whose house was what, and it was just a wasteland.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We’re just grateful to be alive. We've got each other.
ROKER: The 2021 hurricane season, while not as prolific as the record-shattering 2020, was still an overachiever. There were 21 named storms including seven hurricanes, four of which were Category 3 or higher. Category 4 Hurricane Ida lashing Louisiana, still recovering from last year's four landfalls.
ROKER [ON-SCREEN]: We are looking at imminent landfall of this storm.
ROKER: The deadly hurricane flattening entire communities, leaving millions of people in Louisiana without power. Some outages lasting for months. Ida then slashed a path of destruction into the northeast, dumping up to 10 inches of rain in some parts of the region. Several areas seeing one-night all-time record totals for the month of September. New York City taking a direct hit from the tropical storm with subways turning into walls of water and floods pushing cars down streets. The storm once again turned deadly when basement apartments were submerged, trapping residents.
While the east got too much water, the bone-dry west in its second decade of extreme drought hit a tipping point. Lake Meade dropping to its lowest level on record ever, triggering severe, unprecedented restrictions over how much water states could use from the connecting Colorado river system. hitting Arizona agriculture the hardest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pie is shrinking and there will be less water for everyone in the 21st century.
ROKER: To help address the mounting issues, the bipartisan infrastructure bill was signed into law in November. Included are historic levels of funding for climate resilience and weatherization, clean energy investments, and capping orphaned oil and gas wells.
BIDEN: Despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans can come together and deliver results.
ROKER: This should be where the story ends, and once did, until a wild and rare week of extreme weather struck in December. Tornadoes tearing through Kentucky and neighboring states, killing scores and leveling multiple towns. Entire communities left in ruins.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mayfield will be okay. It's just going to be a long time.
AL ROKER: Just five days later, an historic storm leaving a trail of destruction stretching from the west coast to the Great Lakes. Minnesota recording its first ever tornado in the month of December. As 2021 comes to a close, a country weary from a pandemic bracing for what is certain to be another year of extremes.