MSNBC Reporter Compares Climate Change to Alien Invasion

On MSNBC Monday afternoon, NBC News technology correspondent Jacob Ward was so concerned about a new United Nations climate change report that he compared the issue to an alien invasion and feared that humanity was failing to confront an “existential threat.” Even liberal anchor Stephanie Ruhle thought he was going too far.

“One million, that is how many species are under fire, under the threat of extinction thanks to humans, a new terrifying United Nations report has found,” Ruhle warned late in 1:00 p.m. ET hour as the segment began. After detailing some of the report’s findings, Ruhle scolded: “Do you know why? Human actions. Human actions like urbanization, pollution, poaching, and climate change.”

 

 

Turning to Ward, she fretted: “...when you read that headline, it sounds devastating.” Ward sorrowfully agreed: “Yeah, you know, it really is devastating, Stephanie. I mean, this is how dark the times are in the view of researchers....people are sort of getting ready for the horrors that this report is talking about. So it is dark times, I gotta say.”

Ruhle hoped for a “turnaround,” but complained that “there’s not even a consensus around climate change.” At that point, Ward ranted:

I know, I know. I mean, that’s the thing, right? You look at it and you think this should be our great unifying moment, right? This is the moment when space aliens land with ray guns and are threatening all of us and we all band together like you see in the movies. This is it. And yet, that’s not somehow happening.

Ruhle was actually forced to rein him in following that absurd statement: “But it’s not. Hold on a second. But it’s not. For your average American at home, there are not space aliens coming out and saying, ‘We’re going to take you over.’ This is an intangible. So how do we help them understand? Because it’s not fair to put it that way.”

Ward admitted how hyperbolic his comments were, but still attempted to justify them: “I feel that it’s the kind of thing where we should be able to band together, we should be able to access something really basic in our programming that just says, ‘Existential threat, humanity, band together,’ and we’re not doing that for some reason.”

Ward has a history of over-the-top environmentalist rhetoric. Shortly after joining NBC in December, he appeared on MSNBC with Ruhle and her co-host Ali Velshi to declare that deadly natural disasters were actually “good news” for pushing the climate change agenda.   

Here is a full transcript of the May 6 segment:

1:55 PM ET

STEPHANIE RUHLE: One million, that is how many species are under fire, under the threat of extinction thanks to humans, a new terrifying United Nations report has found. The summary was released today by the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Eco Systems Services, which includes representatives from 132 countries. A scientist on that panel saying this, “We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

Here’s what the report found. 25% of mammals, more than 40% of amphibians, nearly 33% of sharks and 25% of plant groups could become extinct within decades. The report also found that the rate of extinction is, quote, “at least ten to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years.” Do you know why? Human actions. Human actions like urbanization, pollution, poaching, and climate change.

Here’s a positive note, the report says it is not too late to fix the problem, but it will take great will from individuals all over the world to make a difference, and we must act now.

I want to bring back NBC News technology correspondent Jake Ward. Jake, put this report into perspective, because when you read that headline, it sounds devastating.

JACOB WARD: Yeah, you know, it really is devastating, Stephanie. I mean, this is how dark the times are in the view of researchers, at least here on the west coast that I talked to. I know a team that’s actually working on the idea of a post-nature research project that seeks to basically capture the digital after-image of species, basically accepting that they’re going to go extinct so we can have some record to study of them in the past. That’s how much people are sort of getting ready for the horrors that this report is talking about. So it is dark times, I gotta say.

RUHLE: Then how do we accomplish a turnaround? In the report, they say with will it can be changed. Right now, there’s not even a consensus around climate change.

WARD: I know, I know. I mean, that’s the thing, right? You look at it and you think this should be our great unifying moment, right? This is the moment when space aliens land with ray guns and are threatening all of us and we all band together like you see in the movies. This is it. And yet, that’s not somehow happening.

RUHLE: But it’s not. Hold on a second. But it’s not. For your average American at home, there are not space aliens coming out and saying, “We’re going to take you over.” This is an intangible. So how do we help them understand? Because it’s not fair to put it that way.

WARD: I know, I know. I just – I guess I feel that it’s the kind of thing where we should be able to band together, we should be able to access something really basic in our programming that just says, “Existential threat, humanity, band together,” and we’re not doing that for some reason.

But you know, the tactics we’ve seen, we know that cutting down on big agricultural production, especially around meat, is one of the big things that people talk about, manufacturing, you know, putting a real price on the cost of products and the pollution that they do, you know, prizing indigenous lands. One of the things this report says is that indigenous stewardship of lands tends to save them a little bit better. So there are lots of things we can do, we just need to get on board with the idea that that this is an existential threat, we have to make it happen.

And you and I have kids the same age, Stephanie, and for me, I just worry that they’re going to be talking about all this stuff in the past tense, and we need to make sure that’s not gonna be the case.

RUHLE: Here’s a quick way to do it, get your kids to care. Make them conservationists, take them outside.

NBDaily Environment Global Warming MSNBC Video Stephanie Ruhle

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