CBS Trumpets 'Groundbreaking' Report Linking 'Extreme' Weather to Climate Change

Wednesday's CBS This Morning hyped a "groundbreaking" new report from federal government scientists that claims "the first-ever statistical connection between extreme weather and man-made climate change." Correspondent Wyatt Andrews spotlighted how the study "found that man-made heat made the Texas drought roughly 20 times more likely."

Andrews also hinted a connection between climate change and a recent heat wave, even as he explained that "the biggest reason for the record heat is the transition...from the La Nina weather pattern...to this year's warmer pattern, El Nino."

Anchor Erica Hill introduced the correspondent's report by noting how "the first six months of 2012 were the hottest ever recorded. Well, this morning, much of the country is now facing a severe drought." Fill-in anchor Lee Cowan added that "it's leaving crops withered and farmers worried. Now, in a groundbreaking report, though, government scientists say that climate change explains at least some of the weather changes."

Wyatt Andrews, CBS News Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgAndrews led the segment by highlighting the plight of Jeff Fisher, a farmer in Illinois whose crops are threatened due the recent heat. After outlining the La Nina/El Nino connection to the high temperatures, the CBS journalist turned to the results of the recent study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

ANDREWS: Scientists at NOAA have also announced the first scientific connection between extreme weather events, like last year's drought in Texas, and man-made climate change. A new study found that man-made heat made the Texas drought roughly 20 times more likely.

Moments later, the correspondent added that "every day in this record-setting heat takes more of Jeff Fisher's crop and his livelihood away."

Even as he tried to tie the Midwest drought to the climate change apparently pointed to in the government study, Andrews strangely concluded his report by stating that "NOAA scientists, meanwhile, are not saying that climate change causes any one specific drought, like the one in Illinois. They are saying the science is good enough now, they can lay odds on the connection."

The CBS correspondent also hyped the NOAA study during a report on Tuesday's CBS Evening News. Both times, Andrews omitted mentioning another recent study published in Nature that indicated a cooling trend during the past centuries.

The full transcript of the report from Wyatt Andrews on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, which aired 13 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour:


ERICA HILL: We told you yesterday how the first six months of 2012 were the hottest ever recorded. Well, this morning, much of the country is now facing a severe drought.

LEE COWAN: It's leaving crops withered and farmers worried. Now, in a groundbreaking report, though, government scientists say that climate change explains at least some of the weather changes.

Wyatt Andrews has the story now from Washington. Good morning, Wyatt.

[CBS News Graphic: "Going To Extremes: Report: Global Warming Factor In Severe Weather"]
                                   
WYATT ANDREWS: Lee, good morning. Good morning, Erica. The official report on this is due out any day now. But already, 2012 is shaping up as a record year for heat. Government scientists have also made the first-ever statistical connection between extreme weather and man-made climate change.

ANDREWS: Jeff Fisher was expecting his corn crop to yield more than 150,000 bushels of corn this year. But he was also expecting more rain and a lot loss heat. Central Illinois, instead, is in a serious drought, and the state set more than 200 records for high temperatures just in June and July.

JEFF FISHER, FARMER: We've had temperatures in the 90s for as many days as I can remember.

ANDREWS: The biggest reason for the record heat is the transition in the Pacific from the La Nina weather pattern, which is typically cooler, to this year's warmer pattern, El Nino.

Tom Karl is the chief of the climate office at NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

TOM KARL, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION: Now, this year, we have a growing El Nino, the warm phase, and we're already seeing all-time temperature records being broken for global temperatures. That's because the Pacific waters now are warming.

ANDREWS: Scientists at NOAA have also announced the first scientific connection between extreme weather events, like last year's drought in Texas, and man-made climate change. A new study found that man-made heat made the Texas drought roughly 20 times more likely.

KARL: There definitely is a connection between greenhouse gases and extreme weather. We're seeing very strong evidence to suggest that not all, but many of the extremes that we're seeing around the planet are being enhanced by greenhouse gases.

ANDREWS: And every day in this record-setting heat takes more of Jeff Fisher's crop and his livelihood away.

FISHER: It's stressful. It's stressful on myself and my family - my father and I. This is a family farm, and we've watched it go down and down and down.

ANDREWS: NOAA scientists, meanwhile, are not saying that climate change causes any one specific drought, like the one in Illinois. They are saying the science is good enough now, they can lay odds on the connection. Lee and Erica?

HILL: Wyatt Andrews, thank you.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center