Is Earth facing a Day After Tomorrow-style climate disaster? CBS This Morning on Monday warned about a new United Nations climate report and linked it to the 2004 disaster film which saw a frozen New York City. The journalists called for radical change. Meteorologist and “climate specialist” Jeff Beradelli demanded, “In order to combat climate change, everything needs to change.”
Reporter Roxana Saberi warned that the solution is to “drastically cut our carbon, methane and other greenhouse gas emissions now.” Beradelli linked it all to a mid-2000s sci-fi blockbuster:
Because Greenland is melting, it's pushing all this fresh water into the north Atlantic. That's disrupting the circulation. It has been slowing considerably since 1950. Now the latest reports say it may not be hundreds of years before this collapses, it could be before that. It could be decades. It could be in our lifetime. The IPCC: says there's only a medium chance it will not collapse. Well, this was the premise of the movie Day After Tomorrow, just to give you an idea.
This prompted the co-hosts to audibly and Beradelli immediate began to backtrack: “Now, it's not going to look like that.... But science fiction was based on that possibility.” Guest co-host Jericka Duncan called the idea “scary.” Beradelli mildly apologized for terrifying them: “I hate to be the grim reaper.”
But, of course, CBS delights in scaring viewers. During the pandemic the network and others actually declared the global killer pandemic was a “silver lining” compared to climate change. On March 19, 2020, citing a slight uptick in water clarity in Italy, Duthiers cheered, “This is Venice.... You can never see the waters because they're so murky from all the boats. This time, now you can see the crystal-clear waters of the Venice canals.”
Earlier Beradelli claimed, without evidence, that totally eliminating carbon emissions will be "good" for the economy.
We know the cure. We have the climate cure. We just have to be willing to take that cure. And what we can do is we need to transition as fast as we can away from the burning of fossil fuels, because that is the only solution, and move towards clean energy. Wind and solar is now as inexpensive and in some cases more inexpensive than fossil fuels. So economically it's a good thing.
A transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
ROXANA SABERI: The scientists warn the world could get there and beyond this century unless we drastically cut our carbon, methane and other greenhouse gas emissions now.
TONY DOKOUPIL: This morning in our Eye on Earth series, we look into an alarming new report by the United Nations about climate change. It is the most comprehensive report on climate change ever written and it was released this morning finding that humans are unequivocally responsible for warming the climate at an unprecedented rate. We've seen another summer of extreme weather, including record-breaking wildfires burning everywhere from California to Greece. So it comes at a time that is highly relevant. CBS News meteorologist and climate specialist Jeff Berardelli is here to break it down. Jeff, good morning to you.
JEFF BERARDELLI: Good morning.
DOKOUPIL: Climate change has been front page news since 1989. But we know now more than ever and it’s not good. It’s not good.
BERARDELLI: The top headlines of this report is it is unequivocal. It is humans 100%. It is a fact that we are warming the planet. Unprecedented things are happening. Carbon dioxide is higher than it’s been in two million years, temperatures higher than 25,000 years but in a couple of decades probably millions of years. And the last one and I hate to bring a little tough love your way, we are failing. We've been putting out these reports, you mentioned it, for 30 plus years now. They are pain staking reports. They raise the red flags for 30 years. Our carbon dioxide levels and our temperatures are still going up at the same rate they have for decades. We still have time to change this, but we need to do it now.
VLAD DUTHIERS: So it's been a summer of extreme weather from devastating wildfires to flooding. Explain the link to global warming.
BERARDELLI: So you heat the atmosphere, there's more energy in the system. It's kind of like storm steroids. Everything is magnified. Everything is intensified. The pacific northwest heat wave should not have happened. Meteorologists and climate scientists didn't think it was quite possible to get that hot, but yet it did. So the impossible is becoming, not only possible, but probable. It's causing fires across the west. We've seen two towns burn down already across the west, one in Canada, one in California. The floods in Europe were, you know, unprecedented for generations.
DOKOUPIL: It's hard to link any particular weather event to climate change, but climate change makes each event more likely. It adds cards to the deck. When they flip over, they're worse and worse and worse.
BERARDELLI: Exactly, and it's getting worse and that's accelerating. We're seeing this all over the globe and this is the exact time to be talking about it because this is the worst period of extreme weather I have ever seen in my career.
JERICKA DUNCAN: So what are some of those changes that we as a nation, as a world should be doing so that in five years or ten years we're not having the same conversation?
BERARDELLI: So, here's the good news. We know what's causing this. We know the cure. We have the climate cure. We just have to be willing to take that cure. And what we can do is we need to transition as fast as we can away from the burning of fossil fuels, because that is the only solution, and move towards clean energy. Wind and solar is now as inexpensive and in some cases more inexpensive than fossil fuels. So economically it's a good thing. Also, by the way, the side effect is less pollution. That's great for our children. And then the third one is it's an injection into our economy because in order to combat climate change, everything needs to change. Millions of jobs will be created and report after report, study after study shows that. So we have time to reverse many of the impacts of climate change and we ought to do it for our children. My wife and I are about to bring a little girl into this world in a couple of months and I am concerned about her future.
DUTHIERS: So what are scientists most concerned about right now today?
BERARDELLI: So one of the things is the breakdown of the AMOC, which is the gulfstream system. I'm going to walk over to that wall and show you an animation of how this works. So a report just came out a couple of days ago. Now, hundreds -- just a few years ago we thought it would be hundreds of years before the collapse of the AMOC, which is right here, which is the gulfstream system. The gulfstream system transports heat from the equator northward. About 20 percent of the heat on Earth is transported through this mechanism, so you can imagine if it starts to slow or it collapses, it's a big problem. Greenland is melting. Because Greenland is melting, it's pushing all this fresh water into the north Atlantic. That's disrupting the circulation. It has been slowing considerably since 1950. Now the latest reports say it may not be hundreds of years before this collapses, it could be before that. It could be decades. It could be in our lifetime. The IPCC: says there's only a medium chance it will not collapse. Well, this was the premise of the movie Day After Tomorrow, just to give you an idea. Now, it's not going to look like that.
DUTHIERS: I was going to say, that's really scary.
BERARDELLI: But science fiction was based on that possibility.
DUNCAN: All right. Well, let's stay cautiously optimistic, but thank you for bringing us that, Jeff. We'll be right back.
BERARDELLI: I hate to be the grim reaper.