NBC Visits The Arctic: ‘No Debate at All’ About Climate Change

Starting off a new series on Monday called Top of the World, ahead of Earth Day, NBC’s Today show sent correspondent Jacob Soboroff to the North Pole “to understand why we have all been experiencing such extreme weather, from droughts to fires, floods and hurricanes, even more.” The reporter hyped how he joined a team of NASA scientists “working around the clock to compile data that could be critical to our future on Earth.”

Opening the report by noting that “changes to our planet are something we can all feel,” Soboroff lamented: “Back home in Washington, whether or not climate change is real still seems to be up for debate.” He then proclaimed: “But right here, 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle on the sea ice of Greenland, there is no debate at all. Climate change is real, it’s happening, and this is ground zero.”

 

 

Boarding a plane with NASA scientists on a mission to collect climate data as part of Operation IceBridge, Soboroff observed: “What you guys see up here every year, though, is what climate change actually looks like.” Navigator John Sonntag replied: “Yeah, this is kind of the front lines of climate change, that’s right.”

After joining the NASA expedition, Soboroff even turned to a local hunter and dog sled racer to push the climate change narrative:

And even though it looks like a frozen tundra, the warming world may soon affect long-held traditions here. Marcus is a local hunter. Part of the reason that we came here was to go with NASA and to look at the melting sea ice, climate change.

Marcus replied via translator: “It’ll be very sad when the sea ice melts.”

Following the taped portion of the segment, Soboroff remarked to the Today show cast that it gave him “the chills” just to think about the impact of climate change:

I’ve got to say, you guys, I’m no climate expert, I’m no weather expert. I was thinking of you a lot, Al, when I was looking out that window, because all the stuff, all these extreme weather events that you’ve gotten us through, through the years, you can actually visualize how our planet  is so interconnected, how it all starts up there. Almost, you know, gave me the chills – it gives me the chills right now thinking about it.

Referring to the hunter Soboroff spoke to, weatherman Al Roker worried: “Did that hunter talk about how he’s seen change up there, how much harder it is to find polar bears when they’re looking?” The reporter explained in part: “He says – you know, it’s something he thinks is gonna be in the distance, he’s worried for the future generations, he’s not seeing it, you know, in extreme levels right now, but it’s happening, and it’s happening right now.”

Moments later, Soboroff applauded the scientists he met with for making sure that “we can all have a future on planet Earth.”

NBC has made it a tradition to use Earth Day as an excuse to push a liberal environmental agenda. As far back as 1990, then-Today show co-host Bryant Gumbel jumped at the chance to bash Ronald Reagan: “The missteps, poor efforts and setbacks brought on by the Reagan years have made this a more sober Earth Day. The task seems larger now.”

Appearing on the Today show in 2008, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw wistfully recalled the beginning of Earth Day:

A new generation was taking its place in American life. A generation with lots to say and the power of protest. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, a child of the North Woods, recognized the possibilities. He called for an Earth Day in the spring of 1970. It was a massive success.

In 2014, the network used the occasion to push a one-sided prime time special on climate change.

As Soboroff revealed, the true intention of the liberal media is to make sure that there is “no debate” on the issue.  

Here is a full transcript of the April 9 report:

7:41 AM ET

HODA KOTB: We’re here with eye-opening new series, Top of the World.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: From the weather to issues impacting national security, some remarkable things are happening in the Arctic. And NBC’s Jacob Soboroff is just back from the trip of a lifetime. Jacob, good morning.

KOTB: Wow. Hey, Jacob.

JACOB SOBOROFF: Good morning you guys. It was extraordinary. I have to say, epic does not even begin to describe it. We wanted to take this trip to understand why we have all been experiencing such extreme weather, from droughts to fires, floods and hurricanes, even more. To find out, we hopped on an eight-hour flight aboard an Air Force C-130 cargo plane to Thule Air
Force Base, that’s not far from the North Pole, in Greenland. And there, we met with NASA scientists working around the clock to compile data that could be critical to our future on Earth.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Inside NASA’s New Mission; Firsthand Look 700 Miles North of the Arctic Circle]

When you’re this far north, this time of year, the sun barely sets, something most Americans will never experience. But changes to our planet are something we can all feel.

Back home in Washington, whether or not climate change is real still seems to be up for debate. But right here, 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle on the sea ice of Greenland, there is no debate at all. Climate change is real, it's happening, and this is ground zero.

NATHAN KURTZ: So this is the ice layer down here. So if you were to lick it –  

SOBOROFF: It tastes like salt water?  

KURTZ: Yeah, it’s salty.

SOBOROFF: Whoa, it’s really salty!

KURTZ: So now you know you’re on the ocean.

SOBOROFF: Nathan Kurtz is the lead scientist of NASA’s Operation IceBridge. Its mission is to map Earth’s polar ice to monitor its rapid changes and understand its connection to the global climate.

Without a doubt, this the coldest place, possibly the coldest moment I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. How is this ground zero for climate change?

KURTZ: I mean, snow, ice, it doesn’t seem very complex. But when you start getting into the – how all these things come together and form our sea ice pack and then how that is changing, all that’s pointing to thinning ice, shrinking ice cover.

SOBOROFF: And that leads to climate change?  

KURTZ: Yes.

SOBOROFF: This year, during the coldest part of the year, the Arctic experienced its warmest levels ever recorded and the second-lowest sea ice levels. Collecting this data is central to NASA’s mission.

And that data you get from 1,500 feet.

KURTZ: Yes.

SOBOROFF: NASA invited us exclusively aboard their P-30 Ryan that surveys the Arctic. Minutes after takeoff, we were over the ice sheet and sea ice and I was angling for the best seat.

We’re flying a 1,500 feet, and I mean, this is all you see. This is pretty nice.

The man responsible for making sure the plane stays on course is John Sonntag, mission scientist and navigator.

What you guys see up here every year, though, is what climate change actually looks like.

JOHN SONNTAG: Yeah, this is kind of the front lines of climate change, that’s right.

SOBOROFF: That sea level rise here is what we all feel down at home.

SONNTAG: Yeah, if you take you away some of the sea ice you make the whole planet darker and make it more able to absorb the sun’s energy.  

SOBOROFF: The deputy project scientist Joe MacGregor took me up to the cockpit as we got closer to the day’s destination, Petermann Glacier. And that’s when things got a little bumpy.

JOE MACGREGOR: And this glacier is one of the few glaciers left in Greenland that still has an ice shelf at the end of it. In other words, floating ice that is attached to the original glacier.

SOBOROFF: Hang tight, hold on, guys.

MACGREGOR: And that glacier is changing significantly. It’s had some very large icebergs these last few years.

SOBOROFF: To collect data here, the scientists aboard the flight rely on radar, lasers, and a camera that shoots thousands of photos during the eight hours in the sky. But things don’t always go as planned.

One of the cameras just failed, so he’s actually putting on a harness – check this out – and he’s got to go down there and repair one of his cameras. See you when you come back.

Now what he’s doing right now is he’s actually looking at the camera to see if he needs to repair it or replace it with back-up camera. And he’s wearing that harness just in case. If they hit turbulence, they can pull him right out.

They were able to switch to the back-up camera and didn’t miss a beat. It’s images and the other data collected aboard the flight go back to NASA’s headquarters to be analyzed. After a successful mission, we landed back at the base.

And even though it looks like a frozen tundra, the warming world may soon affect long-held traditions here. Marcus is a local hunter. Part of the reason that we came here was to go with NASA and to look at the melting sea ice, climate change.

MARCUS [VIA TRANSLATOR]: It’ll be very sad when the sea ice melts.

SOBOROFF: And with that, Marcus set off on a three-day journey home, careful to avoid ice that’s been slowly melting the last two years.

This place may seem far away. But it turns out, it’s closer to home than any of us may have realized.

I’ve got to say, you guys, I’m no climate expert, I’m no weather expert. I was thinking of you a lot, Al, when I was looking out that window, because all the stuff, all these extreme weather events that you’ve gotten us through, through the years, you can actually visualize how our planet  is so interconnected, how it all starts up there. Almost, you know, gave me the chills – it gives me the chills right now thinking about it.

AL ROKER: Literally.

GUTHRIE: You also have the chills because it was so cold.

SOBOROFF: It was -17.  

ROKER: Did that hunter talk about how he’s seen change up there, how much harder it is to find polar bears when they’re looking?  

SOBOROFF: The route that he normally takes home – so he went to that Air Force base for a dog sled race, which he wins, I should add, every year – and in order to get home, he’s had to change the route home over the last two years because of the ice that he normally would take has been melting. He says – you know, it’s something he thinks is gonna be in the distance, he’s worried for the future generations, he’s not seeing it, you know, in extreme levels right now, but it’s happening, and it’s happening right now.

CARSON DALY: What is life like on that base?

SOBOROFF: It’s cold. Very, very cold.

[LAUGHTER]  

SOBOROFF: In the wintertime, it’s never light there, so 24 hours a day you’re in darkness. Around this time of year it starts to be light all day long.

DALY: Wow.

SOBOROFF: And it’s admirable. These people raise their hand at the Air Force base and at NASA to go up there and volunteer to make sure that, you know, we can all have a future on planet Earth.         

DALY: Wow.

KOTB: That was awesome.

ROKER: That’s cool.

GUTHRIE: And you’ve got more for us tomorrow.

SOBOROFF: Tomorrow, yeah.

GUTHRIE: Jacob, fascinating.

KOTB: Thanks, Jacob.

GUTHRIE: Thank you.

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