Eye Roll: CNN’s Blitzer Opens Town Halls by Blaming Climate Change for Hurricane Dorian

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Well, you knew this one was coming. A mere 63 seconds past 5:00 p.m. Eastern and the start of CNN’s seven-hours of town halls on “The Climate Crisis,” Situation Room host and supposedly revered journalist Wolf Blitzer opened this monstrosity of an event by falsely blaming Hurricane Dorian’s entire existence and destruction on climate change. 

Yes, that’s right. So perhaps CNN’s most famous journalist either doesn’t understand how climatology works by definition or is willfully ignoring reality to assert something in hopes people believe it.

 

 

Blitzer began by boasting that “[t]his unprecedented town hall is dedicated to the climate crisis, an issue many voters say it needs to happen now and scientists say that action needs to happen now.”

The CNN host then asserted that Dorian existed because of climate change:

We're seeing firsthand the effects of climate change as a powerful Atlantic hurricane is sitting right now off the coast of Florida. It could make landfall tomorrow in South Carolina. Tonight, Democratic and independent voters will be asking the questions live here in our audience and also by video and CNN's chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir, will join in the questioning as well. My colleagues and I will help guide the conversation. 

So, can people debate their views on climate change? Absolutely! But the fact of the matter was using one singular hurricane (like they did with Harvey) to further one’s political viewpoint doesn’t square with reality. Even if you accept the warming ocean temperatures as contributing to tropical systems gaining strength faster, one wasn’t entitled to this shameful spin.

From 1935 to 2019, there have been 35 known category five hurricanes in the Atlantic with five of those having come in this decade (2010-2019).

Whether it was Galveston hurricanes of 1900 and 1915, the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, the Lake Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928, Hurricane Camile in 1969, Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and on down to names like Katrina (2005), Sandy (2012), and Harvey (2017), it’s a falsehood to assert that powerful hurricanes are only a recent phenomenon.

And that doesn’t even touch the basic realities of economic and population growth in states along the coast.

Back to Blitzer and his fantasyland, here was his lead-off softball to former HUD Secretary Julian Castro:

This is an important evening for all of us. As you know, scientists already are telling us that we're seeing the consequences of the climate crisis right now, but we'll cross what's seen as a massive tipping point, a massive tipping point if the world warms more than 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. We've already warmed up the planet one degree Celsius since the industrial revolution. We're now more than halfway there. What would be your first step to address a crisis of this magnitude? 

Castro then followed by not only gushing about CNN but following Blitzer by tying Dorian’s entire formation on climate change (click “expand”):

First of all, Wolf, I want to say thank you to you, to CNN for hosting such a historic event for the Democratic presidential nominees on such an important topic. [APPLAUSE] And to all of the folks here in the audience and everybody that's watching.....What you've described is the most existential threat to our country's future, and the U.N. has told us that we have about 12 years to get this right or the consequences could be catastrophic. You know, we see that now. You mentioned Hurricane Dorian that's about to make landfall. These hurricanes are happening more frequently and they’re happening with greater intensity. It seems like these floods that they call 500-year floods are happening every other year now, right? We see the Arctic ice caps that are melting, the Amazon on fire, so we don't need client — climate scientists to tell us what we see with our own eyes, although their report is striking.

Blitzer returned like a reoccurring tornado, introducing Andrew Yang’s 40 minutes of airtime with another fact-free intro linking Dorian and sounding a lot like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) before bringing in CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray for an update on Dorian (click “expand”):

 

 

Welcome back to this unprecedented night on CNN. Ten Democratic presidential candidates, one urgent issue, the climate crisis. Scientists tell us we are seeing the consequences of the climate crisis now, but we’ll cross a massive tipping point if the world warms more than 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. We've already warmed up the planet one degree Celsius since the industrial revolution, so we're more than halfway there. We have 11 years to avoid the catastrophic consequences of this crisis, food shortages, rising sea levels, more extreme weather events like Hurricane Dorian that's churning toward the Carolinas right now[.]

To see the relevant transcript from the open of the CNN town halls on September 4, click “expand.”

CNN’s Julian Castro: Climate Town Hall
September 4, 2019
5:00 p.m. Eastern

WOLF BLITZER: Good evening and welcome to the CNN Democratic presidential town hall. On the climate crisis. I want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I’m Wolf Bltizer. Tonight, the top ten Democratic presidential candidates will be here on this stage in New York City appearing one by one for the next seven hours. This unprecedented town hall is dedicated to the climate crisis. An issue many voters say it needs to happen now and scientists say that action needs to happen now. We're seeing firsthand the effects of climate change as a powerful Atlantic hurricane is sitting right now off the coast of Florida. It could make landfall tomorrow in South Carolina. Tonight, Democratic and independent voters will be asking the questions live here in our audience and also by video and CNN's chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir, will join in the questioning as well. My colleagues and I will help guide the conversation. Later tonight, former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, they will all be here. Let's begin with former HUD Secretary Julian Castro. Welcome. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Secretary Castro, welcome. Thanks very much for coming in.

JULIAN CASTRO: Great to be here with you. 

BLITZER: This is an important evening for all of us. As you know, scientists already are telling us that we're seeing the consequences of the climate crisis right now, but we'll cross what's seen as a massive tipping point, a massive tipping point if the world warms more than 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. We've already warmed up the planet one degree Celsius since the industrial revolution. We're now more than halfway there. What would be your first step to address a crisis of this magnitude? 

CASTRO: First of all, Wolf, I want to say thank you to you, to CNN for hosting such a historic event for the Democratic presidential nominees on such an important topic. [APPLAUSE] And to all of the folks here in the audience and everybody that's watching. I also want to give a shoutout to governor Jay Inslee who did a fantastic job of bringing this issue to the forefront of this campaign [APPLAUSE] as well as to folks like the League of Conservation Voters and the Sunrise Movement that have been pushing for those of us who are running for president to address this as we should. What you've described is the most existential threat to our country's future, and the U.N. has told us that we have about 12 years to get this right or the consequences could be catastrophic. You know, we see that now. You mentioned Hurricane Dorian that's about to make landfall. These hurricanes are happening more frequently and they’re happening with greater intensity. It seems like these floods that they call 500-year floods are happening every other year now, right? We see the Arctic ice caps that are melting, the Amazon on fire, so we don't need client — climate scientists to tell us what we see with our own eyes, although their report is striking. You know, when I see these things, when I hear about them, what I think of are my own two children, my daughter Karina and my son Christian who are 10 and four and there's a resolve to make sure that our children inherent a planet that's healthy, where they're going to breathe clean air and drink clean water. 

(....)

CNN’s Andrew Yang: Climate Town Hall
September 4, 2019
5:41 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER: Welcome back to this unprecedented night on CNN. Ten Democratic presidential candidates, one urgent issue, the climate crisis. Scientists tell us we are seeing the consequences of the climate crisis now, but we’ll cross a massive tipping point if the world warms more than 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. We've already warmed up the planet one degree Celsius since the industrial revolution, so we're more than halfway there. We have 11 years to avoid the catastrophic consequences of this crisis, food shortages, rising sea levels, more extreme weather events like Hurricane Dorian that's churning toward the Carolinas right now and for the latest on Dorian, I want to go to the CNN hurricane center and bring in Jennifer Gray. Jennifer? 

JENNIFER GRAY: Wolf, Dorian has actually strengthened just a little bit with this latest advisory at 5:00. Now 110 mile per hour winds, just shy of a category three actually with the center just offshore. You can see Jacksonville to its west, gusts of 130 moving to the north/northwest at about eight miles per hour. That’s a little bit slower than it was before. It's expected to continue this forward speed, though. It’s expected to impact mainly South Carolina and North Carolina as we go forward in time. Charleston, for example, your conditions will continue to deteriorate as we go throughout the evening. Peak winds expected by late morning tomorrow and then this storm moves on, skirting the Outer Banks and North Carolina, Wolf.

BLITZER: Alright, Jennifer, thank you very much. 

NB Daily Environment Global Warming Hurricanes Weather CNN The Situation Room Video Government & Press Wolf Blitzer Julian Castro
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