CBS Hosts Guest Who Implicates Climate Change in Disasters of 2011

On Thursday's The Early Show, CBS hosted a guest who implicated climate change as one of the factors contributing to many weather disasters in 2011, and he ended up warning of more droughts in the future. After asserting that 2011 was an unusually active year for natural disasters, Dr. M. Sanjayan of the Nature Conservancy including climate change in the list of influences:

There's a perfect storm of events. We had a La Nina year, we had this thing called Arctic oscillation that drifted further South, but then we also have this underlying factor of climate change that makes everything warmer and supercharges the atmosphere, plus people today are living in places that sometimes puts them in harm's way.

As he recounted the heat waves of July, he intoned: "You only have to say Texas, 100 days of above 100 degrees in Texas. Can you imagine living through that? And that wasn't just a U.S. phenomenon. That was a global phenomenon. That's only going to get worse."

As he dismissed the likelihood of more tornadoes in 2012, he ended up predicting that there would be more droughts caused by climate change in 2012:

It's not going to be as bad because it's a La Nina year again, but a weak La Nina year. That's what people are saying. Now, that said, climate change is continuing, so you're going to continue to see droughts, but I don't think we're going to suffer from as many tornadoes and things like that like last year. So that's the positive news. Droughts are going to continue probably.

Below are complete video and a transcript of a portion of the segment from the Thursday, December 29, The Early Show on CBS:

DEBBYE TURNER BELL: But first, this is a record year for extreme weather - 96 declared disasters in the U.S., costing billions of dollars and killing more than 1,000 people.

JEFF GLOR: Here to look at the top five weather events of 2011 is M. Sanjayan, lead scientist at the Nature Conservancy. ... So, 2011, how bad was it, relatively speaking, weather-wise?

DOCTOR M. SANJAYAN, THE NATURE CONSERVANCY: So this is not the media hyping something. It really was a lot worse, about three to four times worse in terms of big disasters than we've ever seen before.

GLOR: And why?

SANJAYAN: That's a harder question. There's a perfect storm of events. We had a La Nina year, we had this thing called Arctic oscillation that drifted further South, but then we also have this underlying factor of climate change that makes everything warmer and supercharges the atmosphere, plus people today are living in places that sometimes puts them in harm's way.

..

SANJAYAN: You only have to say Texas, 100 days of above 100 degrees in Texas. Can you imagine living through that? And that wasn't just a U.S. phenomenon. That was a global phenomenon. That's only going to get worse.

...

GLOR: And looking at it 2012, more tornadoes? Any predictions on what happens here?

SANJAYAN: It's not going to be as bad because it's a La Nina year again, but a weak La Nina year. That's what people are saying. Now, that said, climate change is continuing, so you're going to continue to see droughts, but I don't think we're going to suffer from as many tornadoes and things like that like last year. So that's the positive news. Droughts are going to continue probably.
 

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters