CBS Laments Climate Change Skeptics: ‘Why Is This a Debate at All?’

On Wednesday, the hosts of CBS This Morning welcomed climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe on the program to offer tips on how to best sell the climate change agenda. Much of the discussion focused on ways to convince “doubters,” prompting co-host Bianna Golodryga to bemoan: “But why does it have to become political, I guess is the question that I’m asking, and why is this a debate at all?”

At the top of the segment, Golodryga touted some of the dire warnings featured in the latest government report on climate change: “...by 2050 heavier rainfall in the Midwest could prompt increased flooding along major waterways....By 2071, temperatures in the southwest could climb more than eight degrees....And at the end of the century, sea levels could rise by as much as, get this, six feet in some places, endangering more than 130 million people who live on the coast.”

Introducing Hayhoe, a co-author of the study, the host wondered: “You are a scientist, yet you said when it comes to dealing with climate change and talking about it, get out of your head, get into your heart, and find shared values. Why?” Hayhoe responded: “So often we think that we have to be an environmentalist or a liberal to care about a changing climate....We only have to be a human living on planet Earth to care.”

 

 

In her follow-up, Golodryga seemed frustrated that there was even the need for a discussion: “But why does it have to become political, I guess is the question that I’m asking, and why is this a debate at all?” Hayhoe lamented: “It’s gotten political because of the solutions. Many of us have been told that the only solutions to climate change are to destroy the economy and let the government set our thermostat.”

Co-host John Dickerson chimed in with condescension toward climate change skeptics: “So what you’re saying about the debate over solutions, when you hear people doubting the science, is it your view basically what they’re really doing is they’re doubting the solutions and they’re just making it look like they’re doubting the science?”

Hayhoe agreed and commiserated over having to deal with such people: “Exactly. I’ve had thousands of conversations, and every single conversation I’ve had, including two just yesterday, within 30 seconds pivoted from ‘It’s just a natural cycle’ to ‘The Green New Deal is a socialist plot.’” Her remarks were met with a round of laughter from the hosts, who didn’t bother to ask a single question about the extreme measures called for in the Democratic proposal.

Gayle King pointed out: “Well, talk about doubters, you had some in your own house. Your husband, I understand, was a doubter. How did you convince him or have you convinced him, and what are those conversations like?” As Hayhoe began to answer, the host pressed: “Were you irritated by his position?”

Later in the softball discussion, Golodryga fretted: “How big of a setback, in your opinion, was it for the President to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords?”

Teeing up Hayhoe to dismiss the negative economic impact of aggressive climate change policies, Golodryga asked: “Does addressing climate change, as we were talking about earlier, need to be an economy killer?” The guest assured her: “No, it absolutely doesn’t.” However, after touting green jobs in certain parts of the country, Hayhoe admitted: “But unfortunately, there are some winners and some losers. And the losers are the corporations and the companies that make their money off extracting, processing, and selling fossil fuels.”

Rather than challenge her on exactly what that would mean for employees in those industries, Dickerson wrapped up the friendly exchange with this: “You’re a devout Christian. How does your faith affect the way you look at the climate question?”

Hayhoe preached: “My faith is the reason why I am a climate scientist....So I thought to myself, how can I, who believes that we are to love others as we’ve been loved ourselves by God, how can I not do everything I can to give people who do not have a voice the voice they need to help us fix this problem?”

Golodryga closed out the segment by thanking Hayhoe for appearing: “Well, I'm glad you brought enthusiasm to the table this morning with this conversation. And you seem a bit optimistic about it, too....Thank you so much.”

This interview serves as just the latest example of the media not wanting to allow differing viewpoints on a liberal agenda item that they believe is an article of faith.

Here are excerpts of the lengthy February 27 segment:

8:36 AM ET

BIANNA GOLODRYGA: We are continuing our partnership with TED to highlight individuals and ideas shaping our world, in our series, Ideas That Matter. This morning, we are taking a closer look at climate change. The latest government climate assessment warns that by 2050 heavier rainfall in the Midwest could prompt increased flooding along major waterways like the Mississippi River. By 2071, temperatures in the southwest could climb more than eight degrees, leading to longer droughts. And at the end of the century, sea levels could rise by as much as, get this, six feet in some places, endangering more than 130 million people who live on the coast.

Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe, who co-authored the report, says warnings may not be enough to spur action.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Looking Beyond Science; Professor on Rethinking Approach to Climate Change]

KATHARINE HAYHOE: We don’t need to be talking about more science. We’ve been talking about the science for over 150 years. The most important thing to do is, instead of starting up with your head with all the data and facts in our head, to start from the heart. To start by talking about why it matters to us.

GOLODRYGA: And Katharine Hayhoe is here on set with us. Good morning, so happy to have you here talking about such an important issue. You are a scientist, yet you said when it comes to dealing with climate change and talking about it, get out of your head, get into your heart, and find shared values. Why?

HAYHOE: So often we think that we have to be an environmentalist or a liberal to care about a changing climate. But the reason why we care is because it already affects each of us in the places where we live. We only have to be a human living on planet Earth to care.

GOLODRYGA: But why does it have to become political, I guess is the question that I’m asking, and why is this a debate at all?

HAYHOE: It’s gotten political because of the solutions. Many of us have been told that the only solutions to climate change are to destroy the economy and let the government set our thermostat. In reality, the solutions are very different. They involve getting energy from clean sources that don’t pollute our air and our water, that grow the local economy, and that help the U.S. lead in the coming century.

JOHN DICKERSON: So what you’re saying about the debate over solutions, when you hear people doubting the science, is it your view basically what they’re really doing is they’re doubting the solutions and they’re just making it look like they’re doubting the science?

HAYHOE: Exactly. I’ve had thousands of conversations, and every single conversation I’ve had, including two just yesterday, within 30 seconds pivoted from “It’s just a natural cycle” to “The Green New Deal is a socialist plot.” [Laughter]

GAYLE KING: Well, talk about doubters, you had some in your own house. Your husband, I understand, was a doubter. How did you convince him or have you convinced him, and what are those conversations like?

HAYHOE: Well, he was the very first conversation that I had with somebody.

KING: Were you irritated by his position?

HAYHOE: No, I was surprised. But I knew he was a smart person. [Laughter] I knew that – I knew that his heart was in the right place. And so, our conversation began with mutual respect. With me trying to figure out “Well, what do you think? Why do you think that? What are your reasons?” And him doing the same with me.

(...)

8:39 AM ET

GOLODRYGA: How big of a setback, in your opinion, was it for the President to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords?

HAYHOE: Well, interestingly, cities, states, businesses, colleges, tribes that represent over 40% of U.S. emissions are still in the Paris agreement. So there still is enormous forward action. DFW Airport is the first carbon-neutral airport in the country. The city of Dallas gets its energy already from clean sources, as do other towns in Texas, like Georgetown. All around the country, we are seeing changes already happening. But we do need changes at the federal level, as well, to keep up with what’s happening in cities and states.

GOLODRYGA: Does addressing climate change, as we were talking about earlier, need to be an economy killer?

HAYHOE: No, it absolutely doesn’t. I mean, in Texas, we have 30,000 jobs in wind and solar energy already. Across the country, there’s more jobs in solar than in coal. So we’re seeing these changes happen already. But unfortunately, there are some winners and some losers. And the losers are the corporations and the companies that make their money off extracting, processing, and selling fossil fuels.

DICKERSON: You’re a devout Christian. How does your faith affect the way you look at the climate question?

HAYHOE: My faith is the reason why I am a climate scientist. I was studying astrophysics as an undergraduate until I just happened to take a course on climate science to finish my degree. And I was absolutely blown away by the fact that climate change is not just an environmental issue, like I thought at the time, it’s a humanitarian issue. It disproportionately affects the poorest and most vulnerable people here in the U.S. as well as around the world. So I thought to myself, how can I, who believes that we are to love others as we’ve been loved ourselves by God, how can I not do everything I can to give people who do not have a voice the voice they need to help us fix this problem?  

(...)

8:42 AM ET

GOLODRYGA: Well, I'm glad you brought enthusiasm to the table this morning with this conversation. And you seem a bit optimistic about it, too.

HAYHOE: I am.

GOLODRYGA: Thank you so much.

(...)

NBDaily Environment Global Warming CBS CBS This Morning Video Gayle King Bianna Golodryga John Dickerson

Sponsored Links