TONE DEAF: CNN Cheers Cleaner Air Caused By Corona Pandemic

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Over the weekend, CNN early morning anchor Natalie Allen and network meteorologist Derek Van Dam seemed a little too cheerful as they marveled over a "bright spot" in the COVID-19 pandemic -- that requiring people to stay at home has led to cleaner air.

At 5:44 a.m. Eastern on Saturday's CNN Newsroom, host Allen recalled that stay-at-home orders in India have resulted in cleaner skies, making it possible to see the Himalaya Mountains from 100 miles away. She then brought aboard Van Dam and cheerily posed: "Derek, this is often a topic we talk about here at CNN, and, finally, you know, this is a bright spot in this era of pandemic, like, bring on the electric cars and, you know, climate -- solving climate change isn't that hard."

 

 

Van Dam declared to Allen that she was "preaching to the choir," and recounted how clean the air looks where he lives in Atlanta because so few people are driving or using airplanes. At the end of the segment in which he informed viewers of some of the harmful health effects of air pollution, he pined for the world to put as much effort into solving the "climate crisis" as has been expended on combating the pandemic:

DEREK VAN DAM: This pandemic that is spreading is taking place across the backdrop of a climate crisis that is ongoing, and I'll leave this with you, Natalie, and the viewers at home. Can you imagine if our response to the climate crisis equaled that of the robust nature of the COVID-19 response? Where would we be, Natalie?

Allen agreed with him as the two concluded the report:

 

 

ALLEN: I know. That's a very good question that we all should ponder. And I'm with you -- I've been marveling at the blue sky in Atlanta. It's just been magnificent. Derek, thanks for that report -- very enlightening.

VAN DAM: Let's hope that it stays.

Several media outlets have gotten excited about this potential environmental upside. CBS This Morning in March called it a “silver lining” to the global pandemic killing thousands. PBS did the same thing. Talk about tone deaf.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Saturday, April 11, CNN Newsroom:

CNN Newsroom

4/11/2020

NATALIE ALLEN: People in northern India are getting a fresh, if distant, look at what has been shrouded by pollution for decades. Back there, you see it, the towering Himalayan Mountains. One resident said he could see the peaks from more than 100 miles away. The country has been under lockdown for more than two weeks, and that has dramatically improved the air quality and visibility.

There has been a trend of cities worldwide reporting cleaner air since the lockdowns were put into place. Our meteorologist, Derek Van Dam, has been looking into this. He joins me now. And, Derek, this is often a topic we talk about here at CNN, and, finally, you know, this is a bright spot in this era of pandemic, like, bring on the electric cars and, you know, climate -- solving climate change isn't that hard.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Preaching to the choir right there, Natalie, you know. I like to consider myself an optimist, and I think you could probably relate to this -- just on my daily run today across midtown Atlanta, where we live, the skies have never been this blue, in my opinion. And I've got a theory, of course. There's virtually no car traffic, no airline traffic taking place out of Atlanta's Hartsfield International -- of course a few planes, but virtually nothing compared to what it would normally be on any given day. And, yeah, there's just less air pollution.

(…)

VAN DAM: This pandemic that is spreading is taking place across the backdrop of a climate crisis that is ongoing, and I'll leave this with you, Natalie, and the viewers at home. Can you imagine if our response to the climate crisis equaled that of the robust nature of the COVID-19 response? Where would we be, Natalie?

ALLEN: I know. That's a very good question that we all should ponder. And I'm with you -- I've been marveling at the blue sky in Atlanta. It's just been magnificent. Derek, thanks for that report -- very enlightening.

VAN DAM: Let's hope that it stays.

ALLEN: Appreciate you reporting there from your basement. Great job, see you later, friend.

 

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