MSNBC’s Tur Touts Climate as ‘Positive Consequence of the Pandemic’

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On Wednesday afternoon, MSNBC anchor Katy Tur touted the “drop in pollution”as a “positive consequence of the pandemic” that has killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world and left tens of millions unemployed. Talking to Penn State University professor and climate activist Michael Mann, she hoped Americans would seize on this “unique” “opportunity” to “change our habits.”

Late in the 2:00 p.m. ET hour, Tur proclaimed: “An unexpected yet positive consequence of the pandemic has been a drop in pollution, specifically carbon pollution, which fell 17% worldwide at the peak of the global stay-at-home orders. That’s mostly the result of fewer vehicles on the road, but also fewer planes in the sky and factories being closed as well.”

However, she then warned: “My next guest argues that that is, though, a drop in the bucket when it comes to what is needed to address climate change.”

 

 

After introducing Mann, she marveled: “I’m sure everybody online saw those images of a smog-free Los Angeles almost looking like a painting, it was so clear. And wow, oh, my God, if we all stopped getting on the road, then this is what the air could look like...”

Mann hailed the development: “When you slow the economy, you reduce transportation...you decrease carbon emissions. Because right now we have a global economy that is driven by the burning of fossil fuels. And as long as that’s true, when you reduce economic output, you’re going to reduce carbon emissions.”

NewsBusters has documented the lengthy list of journalists that have similarly cheered the supposed environmental “silver lining” of the devastating global health crisis.

Despite joining Tur in her enthusiasm, Mann cautioned that far more must be done to stop humans from ruining the Earth with economic activity:

Now, here’s the bad news, in the end, that’s only going to give us maybe a 4 to 7% decrease in carbon emissions for the year. And what we actually need is a 10% decrease in carbon emissions every year for the next ten years if we are to avert crossing the threshold of dangerous influence with our climate. So we need to cut carbon emissions far more than that. And we’d like to do that without slowing down the economy. The way to do that is to decarbonize our economy, to remake our economy so that we don’t have to burn fossil fuels to generate economic activity, goods, services, and transport.

Tur lamented: “So what we’re seeing here was even in the months of this lockdown, we’re not getting to the number – the percentage that we need to really cut down on climate change and it’s going to climb right back up once everybody is let out.” She then implored: “It seems like, Michael, we are in a really unique position right to effect that change, to change our habits since we’re all locked down.” Mann agreed: “Yeah, and that’s the good news, right? What this shows us is that we can have a positive impact on our environment.”

The climate crusader then repeated his demand that “We need to literally decarbonize our economy.” After prompting by Tur to explain his declaration, Mann argued: “...it literally means moving away from the burning of fossil fuels for transport and power generation and everything else, to renewable energy.”

He quickly made the transition to the 2020 election: “We need politicians who support those policies, we’ve got an election coming up in a matter of months where we can choose to vote on this issue and make the right decisions.” Tur wondered: “Michael, just quickly, if there was one single thing that we could change tomorrow, what would it be?” Mann reiterated: “It would be the leadership that we have in Washington, D.C.” Tur appreciated his “blunt answer.”

Wrapping up the segment, Tur turned to co-anchor Chuck Todd and concluded: “And if we go back to our normal ways, the opportunity that we have in front of us to cut down on carbon, to really make an impact on climate change, will have gone to waste.”

Todd seized on Mann’s recommendation that the government force people and businesses to reduce their carbon emissions: “He’s making the argument that if you’re going to get the innovation that you need, you almost have to force the innovation. That’s why you see some governments raise mileage standards....that you have to make structural change.”

Earlier, in the 1:00 p.m. ET hour, Tur pushed for another long-desired left-wing agenda item to be adopted as a result of the pandemic – government-run “universal health care.” During an interview with Colorado Senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennett, she pressed:

 

 

Senator, you and I had a conversation – or many conversations – about big structural change when you were running for president. And I’m wondering, after this pandemic, or during it now, are you reconsidering your look at universal health care or something along those lines? Are those sort of proposals that were big and bold during the presidential campaign, that got put a bit on the back burner, do you think that they have a – are you looking at them differently today?

Bennett became defensive as the journalist hit him from the left: “So nobody needs to lecture me about the need for structural change, nobody needs to lecture me about whether we should make progress. I’m committed to what I ran on and I believe that will deliver for the American people the kind of change that we need...”

Tur replied: “Senator Michael Bennet, not a lecture, just a question. Just a question, going back to some of our earlier conversations.” The Senator reminded her of her consistent advocacy on the issue: “I know, but I remember, Katy, when you asked me in the campaign, ‘Why can’t we just have Medicare for All?’”

Ultimately, Todd jumped in and quipped: “I’ll moderate this debate, if you’d like.”

Early in the pandemic, on March 31, Tur dreamed of the crisis bringing “permanent change” to American society with “universal health care” and a “greener economy.” She and many of her liberal media colleagues have been pushing the socialist agenda relentlessly throughout the shutdown.

Here is a full transcript of Tur’s May 20 exchange with Mann:

2:50 PM ET

KATY TUR: An unexpected yet positive consequence of the pandemic has been a drop in pollution, specifically carbon pollution, which fell 17% worldwide at the peak of the global stay-at-home orders. That’s mostly the result of fewer vehicles on the road, but also fewer planes in the sky and factories being closed as well.

My next guest argues that that is, though, a drop in the bucket when it comes to what is needed to address climate change. Joining me now is Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric science at Penn State. So let’s take this step by step, Michael. I’m sure everybody online saw those images of a smog-free Los Angeles almost looking like a painting, it was so clear. And wow, oh, my God, if we all stopped getting on the road, then this is what the air could look like, this is what Los Angeles could feel like. Tell me what this study has shown and what 4 to 7% means for a drop in carbon dioxide when it comes to climate change.

MICHAEL MANN [PENN STATE UNIVERSITY]: Yeah, hi, Katy, it’s good to be with you. Well, so what this study shows is what we might have suspected. When you slow the economy, you reduce transportation, including air travel, but mostly ground transportation and ground transport of goods, you decrease carbon emissions. Because right now we have a global economy that is driven by the burning of fossil fuels. And as long as that’s true, when you reduce economic output, you’re going to reduce carbon emissions.

Now, here’s the bad news, in the end, that’s only going to give us maybe a 4 to 7% decrease in carbon emissions for the year. And what we actually need is a 10% decrease in carbon emissions every year for the next ten years if we are to avert crossing the threshold of dangerous influence with our climate. So we need to cut carbon emissions far more than that. And we’d like to do that without slowing down the economy. The way to do that is to decarbonize our economy, to remake our economy so that we don’t have to burn fossil fuels to generate economic activity, goods, services, and transport.

TUR: So what we’re seeing here was even in the months of this lockdown, we’re not getting to the number – the percentage that we need to really cut down on climate change and it’s going to climb right back up once everybody is let out. It seems like, Michael, we are in a really unique position right to effect that change, to change our habits since we’re all locked down. What would you advise?

MANN: Yeah, and that’s the good news, right? What this shows us is that we can have a positive impact on our environment. We can choose to act when it comes to matters of global pollution and, of course, climate change. And so, what I’m hoping is that we take away the right messages from this episode, that we understand that we need to find a way to live sustainably on this planet. And you know, individual action is good. You know, flying less is good. Changing your diet so it’s less carbon intensive, that’s all good. But what this study shows us is that individual action alone isn’t enough to do what we need to do. We need to literally decarbonize our economy. We need politicians who are willing to support policies that will help us do that.

TUR: Well, explain what that means, decarbonizing our economy.

MANN: Yeah, it literally means moving away from the burning of fossil fuels for transport and power generation and everything else, to renewable energy. That way we can continue to move our economy forward while not producing global carbon pollution that’s warming the planet and changing our climate. And we need policies, we can’t do that as individuals. We need politicians who are willing to support policies to price carbon, put a price on carbon. It should cost you something when you dump pollution into the atmosphere. And to provide incentives for renewable energy. We need politicians who support those policies, we’ve got an election coming up in a matter of months where we can choose to vote on this issue and make the right decisions.

TUR: Michael, just quickly, if there was one single thing that we could change tomorrow, what would it be?

MANN: It would be the leadership that we have in Washington, D.C.

TUR: With a blunt answer, Michael Mann. Michael, thank you so much for joining us, we appreciate your time and your expertise as always.

MANN: Thank you.

TUR: So, Chuck, 4 to 7% depending on how long these lockdowns last, but he made such a good point there, that we need 10% every year. And if we go back to our normal ways, the opportunity that we have in front of us to cut down on carbon, to really make an impact on climate change, will have gone to waste.

CHUCK TODD: He’s making the argument that if you’re going to get the innovation that you need, you almost have to force the innovation. That’s why you see some governments raise mileage standards. You raise those standards, you do things like that, that’s how you, at times, get the innovation, get the fuel efficiency. But he’s making that you have to make structural change. You and I recycling ain’t enough.

NB Daily Economy Environment Global Warming Pollution Health Care Coronavirus MSNBC Video Katy Tur Chuck Todd Michael Mann