Polar Photographer Declares 'Debate's Over' on Climate Change on 'Today'

Just a day after Today featured a wildlife expert exploiting the cuteness of an Arctic fox to scare viewers about the threat of global warming, NBC's Ann Curry, on Thursday's Today, invited on a polar photographer to show off his pictures of cuddly creatures, he believes are threatened by climate change.

In the 9:30 am half hour Curry prompted photographer Paul Nicklen, "What have you seen about what's happening in these parts of the world where we don't get to go, that, that relates to this issue of climate change?" to which Nicklen pronounced the "Debate's over."

The following is the relevant exchange as it was aired on the December 17 Today show:

ANN CURRY: You're also a diver, as I understand. We just saw pictures underwater.

PAUL NICKLEN: Right. I do most of my work under, here, you know diving under this ice, 29-degree Fahrenheit water, extremely cold, to go under that ice. And not only do you have to survive there under the ice, you have to go down and not even just make pictures, you have to make art. Good pictures that will compel people to care about the polar environment.

CURRY: So in all, in all this work that you've done, all this pain and suffering you've endured. These pictures that you've been able to take. What have you seen about what's happening in these parts of the world where we don't get to go, that, that relates to this issue of climate change? What are you seeing? What is the evidence you're seeing?

NICKLEN: That's why I care about it so deeply, because since I was a child 'til now, living in this, living in the Arctic, I still live there, we've seen change everywhere. The Inuit are talking about inconsistent weather patterns. The ice is shattering more early. I just had two friends recently die going through the ice on their snowmobiles, that in places where they have traditionally hunted. So the ice is literally melting out from under these people. And these animals, you know as we lose ice, we stand to lose an entire eco-system and it's a summertime extent of ice that we, that we will lose in the next seven to 15 years. Scientists are projecting. So I mean the, the effects are now. I mean the debate's over. And, and it's these species that I care so much about, that, that's why I'm doing my work. That's why I work so hard to tell my story.

CURRY: Well you've just made your statement.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.