Sam Champion hyperventilated about the threat of extreme weather on Monday's "Good Morning America" and, once again, ignored the leftist connections of two cited experts. Scientists Michael Oppenheimer and Daniel Schrag, both of whom have vigorously slammed Republicans in the past, appeared in the segment to warn that global warming would only continue to cause unusual weather patterns as long as greenhouse gases keep increasing.
GMA identified Oppenheimer simply by his connection as a scientist for Princeton University. However, he has previously slammed Republican disagreement about climate change as "uniformed rambling." In the piece, Schrag scarily warned, "It's hard to overstate how big a change [climate change] could be in the weather we experience every day." This is same man who, in a Boston Globe column from December 2006, smeared GOP Senator James Inhofe, then the Chair of a Senate environmental committee, for using skeptical witnesses that Schrag derided as "a gathering of liars and charlatans, sponsored by those industries who want to protect their profits." To further make the point, the article is entitled, "On a Swift Boat to a Warmer World."
In October, the ABC program featured Oppenheimer gushing over Al Gore and his Nobel Peace Prize victory. That segment was even more misleading, as GMA provided no identification at all. Later that month, Oppenheimer appeared on NBC's "Nightly News" and claimed climate change could cause disasters such as the California wildfires. (NBC also failed to disclose his liberal connections.) Is it really too much to ask that the networks stop attempting to pass off environmental activists as non-partisan observers?
ABC hyped the segment, which focused on extreme weather around the world, within the context of a new United Nations report on global warming. Co-host Robin Roberts observed that "some" are calling it "definitive." Of course, Champion made no mention of any possibility that these weather events could be cyclical or that some might not be as a result of climate change. Skepticism on this issue is readily available. For instance, Investors Business Daily reported on November 13 that in a new study, NASA researchers found that many changes in the Arctic Ocean are, in fact, cyclical:
From 2002 to 2006, scientists and researchers from NASA and the University of Washington's Polar Science Center at the Applied Physics Laboratory observed a meaningful ongoing reversal in Arctic Ocean circulation. The cause is atmospheric circulation changes that vary in decade-long periods and the effect is, well, let the scientist who led the study explain it:
"Our study confirms many changes seen in upper Arctic Ocean circulation in the 1990s were mostly decadal in nature, rather than trends caused by global warming," said the University of Washington's James Morison.
This study, however, went unmentioned by Sam Champion.
A transcript of the November 19 segment, which aired at 7:42am, follows:
DIANE SAWYER: Coming up next, hurricanes in Brooklyn, hail in Bogota? What is going on on planet Earth? Sam reports live from the place, as we said, where people live year in and year out with the worst weather on the Earth.
ROBIN ROBERTS: And now, more on extreme weather. Over the weekend, a U.N. panel released a new report on global climate change, the same panel that shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore. Hundreds of scientists contributed to the report which some are calling definitive. Sam has more from Mount. Washington. Morning again, Sam.
SAM CHAMPION: Good morning, Robin. And here we are, the place to talk about extreme weather and we're just four days out of that super cyclone in Bangladesh. A once in a ten-year kind of a storm in that area but the death toll could be extreme here. The death toll could approach 10,000 is their fear. Also as you just mentioned, that panel on climate change sponsored by the U.N. came back with some very strong language. They called global warming unequivocal and they also pointed to the direct causes of global warming. Extreme weather impacted up to half a billion people across the globe in 2007, some the most bizarre events seen in years. A rare and powerful hailstorm hit Bogota, Colombia's tropical capital, creating rivers of cars, water and ice. The first documented cyclone in the Arabian Sea struck Oman and Iran. And for the first time ever, melting ice opened up the famed Northwest Passage. And remember this? [File footage of Sam in New York.] It was about this time yesterday morning when they woke up to the first tornado since 1889. [File footage of Sam ends.] A tornado brought down power lines and damaged homes, not in Kansas, but in Brooklyn, New York.
UNIDENTIFIED SCIENTIST: The weather we are experiencing is changing and will be changing even more rapidly in the future.
CHAMPION: More extreme weather from powerful storms to massive wildfires to droughts like in Atlanta where they're seeing their worst one ever. Many scientists blame the trend on a rise in the Earth's temperature.
MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER, PHD (GEOSCIENCES, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY) The extremes we're getting are more problematic than the extremes we've had in the past.
CHAMPION: Over the weekend the U.N.'s panel on climate change, the largest group of climate scientists ever assembled, called global warming unequivocal and said that global warming emissions have increased due to human activities.
OPPENHEIMER: We expect more and more of these episodes of extremes to happen as long as the concentrations of the greenhouse gases continue to increase in the atmosphere.
CHAMPION: One reason, warmer air holds more water vapor so moisture stays in the atmosphere instead of raining out, which could explain why portions of Europe sweltered this year under record-breaking heat waves and Greece was ravaged by massive wildfires while at the same time, when it does rain, there's lots more of it. So we saw the U.K. get their wettest may and June since 1766. Rare snowstorms hitting Argentina, even South Africa, while southeast Asia some saw some of its worst monsoon flooding in decades. Unusual weather swings that if the Earth continued to warm could become the norm across the world and here at home.
PROFESSOR DANIEL SCHRAG, PHD (EARTH SCIENCES, HARVARD UNIVERSITY): Moving forward we're going to see more and more surprises. The truth is we've just scratched the surface when it comes to climate change. It's hard to overstate how big a change this could be in the weather we experience every day.
CHAMPION: Mount Washington is also seeing some changes in the weather. The snow pack here lasts five days less than it has 30 or than it did 30 years ago and they've also have seen a slight temperature change here as well. Coming up we'll we're going to introduce you to the men and women on the front lines of studying our climate right here at the Mount Washington Observatory. That's right, I said men and women. We're going to introduce you to Stacy who took me around and showed me how everything works here. It's a busy crew here up on top of the mountain. You'll meet them coming up. Also, if you want to know more about Mount Washington, do it at MountWashington.org and we'll link you at ABCNews.com. Diane, Robin?