Teasing an upcoming story on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams warned of "the habitat of the polar bears melting earlier and faster than ever" and promised "a jaw-dropping look at a way of life quickly disappearing." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed minutes later, chief environmental correspondent Anne Thompson kept up the global warming alarmism: "This 10-month-old polar bear cub practices his ice-breaking skills on the tundra....But Dr. Steve Amstrup, chief scientist of Polar Bears International, says the greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere threaten the cub's future."
While Thompson noted that the arctic polar bear population "runs as high as 25,000," a sound bite ran of Amstrup proclaiming: "Liken it to the passengers on the Titanic. It didn't matter how many people were on the Titanic or how well they were doing, when the Titanic slipped beneath the waves and they lost their habitat, that was it. Polar bears will also go away because of their dependence on the sea ice."
On the Polar Bears International website, as part of its "Save Our Sea Ice" campaign, the environmental group urges:
To save polar bear habitat, we need to embrace sustainable living as a society. A promising shift is underway in sectors including transportation, energy usage, and food production – all of which have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions. You can become part of the momentum for change by speaking up in support of policies and processes that will help us transition to renewable energy and a sustainable society. It's also important to modify your own habits and take action in your community in support of greener choices – from bikes lanes to farmer's markets – that make a low-carbon lifestyle easier.
On Monday, Nightly News exploited the typhoon that hit the Philippines to push the climate change agenda, with correspondent Tom Costello declaring: "While scientists can't say whether climate change contributed to this particular typhoon, they believe global warming is making storms stronger."
Here is a full transcript of Thompson's November 13 report:
7:00PM ET TEASE:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Polar express. Tonight a spectacular journey to the place where the polar bears roam, where a way of life is disappearing fast.
7:12PM ET TEASE:
WILLIAMS: Still ahead for us tonight, the habitat of the polar bears melting earlier and faster than ever. Our team makes the journey for a jaw-dropping look at a way of life quickly disappearing.
7:15PM ET SEGMENT:
WILLIAMS: We are back now with a journey to one of the most extraordinary places on the planet. It bills itself as the polar bear capital of the world and they're all watching there as a way of life is disappearing faster than ever. Our chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson has just returned from a trek to a remote area in northern Canada to get a firsthand look at what's happening to these iconic animals.
ANNE THOMPSON: This 10-month-old polar bear cub practices his ice-breaking skills on the tundra near Churchill, Canada. Skills he'll need on the sea ice to catch seals, ice that is disappearing in our warming world. He doesn't seem very afraid of us.
DR. STEVE AMSTRUP [CHIEF SCIENTIST, POLAR BEARS INTERNATIONAL]: He doesn't. He doesn't seem very afraid of us at all.
THOMPSON: But Dr. Steve Amstrup, chief scientist of Polar Bears International, says the greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere threaten the cub's future. Even though today the polar bear population runs as high as 25,000 in the arctic.
AMSTRUP: Liken it to the passengers on the Titanic. It didn't matter how many people were on the Titanic or how well they were doing, when the Titanic slipped beneath the waves and they lost their habitat, that was it. Polar bears will also go away because of their dependence on the sea ice.
THOMPSON: Sea ice is where they hunt seals. The ice melt season used to start in mid-July, now it's late June, forcing the polar bars onto land around the town of Churchill, where there are no seals to eat. Here, polar bears are tourist bait, even though the bear population fell 22% in two decades.
The melt season here in Churchill now lasts 30 days longer than just 30 years ago. As a result, polar bears like this mother and cub that you see behind me, they now must spend an extra month on land. And researchers say that puts the species at risk. Dr. Amstrup says a longer melt season shortens the bears' time on the ice to catch seals.
AMSTRUP: These bears are feeding less, they come ashore earlier, they have lower body weight, and the result is that they produce smaller cubs that don't survive as well.
THOMPSON: On the tundra, scientists rank the bears on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 is starving, 5 is obese.
TOM SMITH [POLAR BEARS INT'L SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR]: Right now, most of these bears we're seeing are somewhere around the 2 to 3, which is what you'd expect from a bear that hasn't eaten for four months.
THOMPSON: This cub got a chunk of ice, sharpening his survival skills in a rapidly changing environment. Anne Thompson, NBC News, Churchill, Canada.