On Tuesday’s NBC Today, NBC weatherman Al Roker warned viewers that climate change was “threatening some iconic American landmarks” and even touted predictions that Washington D.C. may soon be underwater as a result. The only problem with that dire forecast? NBC has been making that same wild claim for the past 30 years.
“In fact, experts say climate change, it’s already here and it’s causing our sea levels to rise. That is threatening some iconic American landmarks,” Roker announced at the top of his report, the latest installment for the network’s Climate in Crisis series. Moments later, William Sweet of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sounded the alarm: “The sea level rise flooding of the coast has already begun....One foot of sea level rise by 2050, we’re really talking about big problems at that point.”
Roker feared: “And the impact of those rising sea levels are already being felt up and down the east coast, from Boston, New York City, to Norfolk and Miami.” After hyping how “The tide is also creeping towards the launch pads in Cape Canaveral, Florida,” he added: “At the rate we’re going, climate researchers predict a future where major cities, including our nation’s capital, could look like this.” An animation produced by the environmental activist group Climate Central appeared on screen, showing D.C.’s National Mall covered in water.
In addition, Roker fretted over the Statue of Liberty being submerged and declared that the remains of America’s first colony in Jamestown, Virginia “is at risk of being washed away.”
Following the taped segment, Roker hyped that “the window is fast closing” to take action on climate change. Co-host Hoda Kotb chimed in: “Well, when you see that artist rendition of what goes on in D.C., what that would look like, it really kind of hits you hard to see those monuments under[water].”
As it turns out, that “window” has allegedly been “fast closing” for three decades. On the May 4, 1989 Today show, environmentalist Dr. Paul Ehrlich reported for the NBC broadcast and breathlessly predicted: “...we could expect to lose all of Florida, Washington D.C., and the Los Angeles basin...we’ll be in rising waters with no ark in sight.”
The following year, on January 11, 1990, Ehrlich doubled down on his hysterical assertions, delivering this epic rant:
There is an even greater threat that scientists can only speculate about. As global temperatures rise, they may cause the massive West Antarctic ice sheet to slip more rapidly. Then we’ll be facing a sea-level rise not of one to three feet in a century, but of 10 or 20 feet in a much shorter time. The Supreme Court would be flooded. You could tie your boat to the Washington Monument. Storm surges would make the Capitol unusable. For Today, Paul Ehrlich in Washington, DC, on the future shoreline of Chesapeake Bay.
NBC, along with the rest of the liberal media, have engaged in similar fearmongering for years, with reporters also seeing New York City doomed to being “lost to the sea.”
Here is a full transcript of Roker’s September 17 report:
8:09 AM ET
CRAIG MELVIN: We are back, 8:09 now, with more of our new series, Climate in Crisis.
HODA KOTB: Al, you took us to Greenland yesterday, this morning you are exploring the warming planet’s impact just on – right here at home.
AL ROKER: That’s right, not too far away for a lot of folks. In fact, experts say climate change, it’s already here and it’s causing our sea levels to rise. That is threatening some iconic American landmarks.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: From Sea to Rising Sea; How Climate Change Is Affecting America’s Landmarks]
Climate change is causing sea levels to rise higher and faster than ever before. A huge factor in sea level rise is happening right here in Greenland. More heat waves are causing billions of tons of ice to melt directly into the ocean.
WILLIAM SWEET [NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION OCEANOGRAPHER]: The other component is ocean expansion, it’s warming. Together, oceans are rising about an inch every eight years and it’s starting to add up.
ROKER [2012, SUPERSTORM SANDY]: It’s concerning because more water means more flooding. It’s really coming through now, the water’s breaching. We're getting a lot of activity as far as flooding is concerned.
ROKER : When people talk about sea level rise, why is it of concern?
SWEET: The sea level rise flooding of the coast has already begun, so little storms now are starting to have a bigger impact. A rise of six inches can actually mean a lot.
ROKER: Because six inches, that’s half a foot, that doesn’t sound like much.
SWEET: One foot of sea level rise by 2050, we’re really talking about big problems at that point.
ROKER: And the impact of those rising sea levels are already being felt up and down the east coast, from Boston, New York City, to Norfolk and Miami.
SWEET: Sea level rise is already impacting several of our major installations. Norfolk, for instance.
ROKER: The U.S. naval base in Norfolk and it’s surrounding communities are already being affected by increased storms and nuisance flooding. A recent Department of Defense report suggests that more than half of U.S. military installations are vulnerable to sea-level rise.
Is that going to mean we’re probably going to have to divert money to harden these installations from the rise of the ocean?
SWEET: It will mean something needs to be done. They are critically important, obviously, for national defense.
ROKER: The Department of Defense tells Today, in part, “The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to Department of Defense missions,” and quote, “works to ensure installations and infrastructure are resilient to a wide range of challenges, including climate.”
SWEET: The tide’s going to go where the tide wants to go.
ROKER: The tide is also creeping towards the launch pads in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Rising sea levels will have an adverse impact on important landmarks, like this active launch pad here at the Kennedy Space Center. At the rate we’re going, climate researchers predict a future where major cities, including our nation’s capital, could look like this. [Animation of Washington D.C. underwater]
A lot of our landmarks, a lot of our history, is along the coast – Lady Liberty.
SWEET: Well, a lot of the landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty or historic Jamestown, are located in, you know, critical areas of our country.
ROKER: Jamestown, Virginia is at risk of being washed away.
DAVE GIVENS [DIRECTOR OF ARCHAEOLOGY FOR JAMESTOWN REDISCOVERY]: Jamestown as an island is very low-lying property, and that’s part of the reason the colonists chose to settle here. But for us today, the peninsula where this island is, is sinking and affecting those sacred resources that are the beginnings of our nation.
ROKER : The winds right now, gusting at over 55 to 60 miles per hour.
SWEET: As the ocean creeps up, the waves start attacking the shoreline, the erosion becomes more noticeable, the beaches are disappearing.
ROKER: Research suggesting many parts of the east coast no longer have a stable shoreline.
RADLEY HORTON [THE EARTH INSTITUTE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY]: So we can see through history how technology and society coming together can lead to rapid change.
ROKER: So in a way you’re talking about a climate moon shot.
HORTON: That’s right. We have to hope that we’re never too late. We have to engage fully to reduce emissions and prepare for those climate changes that we’re locked into.
ROKER: Now, some areas are looking at building sea walls, physically moving landmarks when possible. Actually, they moved the Cape Hatteras lighthouse in North Carolina’s Outer Banks about 20 years ago.
MELVIN: And not just landmarks and lighthouses, too, right, actual homes?
ROKER: Yeah, homes in Nantucket, they are digging up these huge homes, moving them away from the shoreline. And it may be a little too late when you talk about building sea walls, putting in wetlands and marshes to try and mitigate this. But I think the window is fast closing.
KOTB: Well, when you see that artist rendition of what goes on in D.C., what that would look like, it really kind of hits you hard to see those monuments under. Alright, Al. Thank you so much.
Oh, by the way, more of Climate in Crisis at Today.com.