On Sunday evening, ABC's World News featured a story on the upcoming report from the United Nations enumerating its predictions of dire consequences of global warming. Anchor Dan Harris referred to a February report that said it is "virtually certain that humans are to blame" for global warming as he set up the latest report's "frightening" predictions. Harris: "The first report back in February said global warming is real and that it is virtually certain that humans are to blame. What Friday's report will do is break down the impacts of global warming region by region across the world, and degree by degree. This forecast is, in a word, frightening." (Transcript follows)
Correspondent Bill Blakemore conveyed the expected "alarming" consequences of global warming, such as "more drought and rising sea level" and crop failures. The only supporting sound bites in the story were provided by Peter Schwartz of the Global Business Network, as he spoke of the possibility of large numbers of refugees from countries like Bangladesh. Blakemore concluded: "The study makes clear it's the poorest countries with the least money to adapt to the rising temperature that will be hit hardest."
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Sunday April 1 World News:
Dan Harris: "Coming up this Friday, a United Nations panel on climate change will release the second of four major reports. The first report back in February said global warming is real and that it is virtually certain that humans are to blame. What Friday's report will do is break down the impacts of global warming region by region across the world, and degree by degree. This forecast is, in a word, frightening. Here's ABC's Bill Blakemore."
Bill Blakemore: "Drafts of the report that have been leaked, final wording due on Friday, show why scientists have been warning that its news is alarming. It shows a world already changing dramatically, more drought and rising sea level. And scientists are finalizing this chart that projects what is coming -- how, with each degree of future warming, Earth's natural life support systems break down more and more. For example, with two more degrees warming, as many as 1.5 billion more people might not have enough water, such as those who for millennia have depended on melting snow pack and glaciers. Everywhere, more and more species face extinction. In regions already drying out, even more crops would fail."
Peter Schwartz, Global Business Network: "When you think about places like Bangladesh, where they have already overstressed societies, and they get hit with severe droughts or severe storms, they're going to experience massive disruption."
Blakemore: "Peter Schwartz directed a new study for the defense and intelligence community examining how global warming could produce emergencies when an already stressed system -- say, where there's long-running drought -- is suddenly hit by a spike in the rising average temperature."
Schwartz: "What you can end up with is literally 100 million people homeless, in places like Bangladesh, having to move to places like India and China, which will not be particularly welcoming of vast numbers of refugees. You'll have a refugee crisis like the world has never seen."
Blakemore: "Scientists say the world's average temperature will rise about two degrees in the next 50 years, no matter what we do, but that if we act now, it might level off after that. That means, say scientists, we must act on two fronts: Figure out how to prevent temperatures rising even more, starting 50 years from now, and, in the meantime, figure out how to adapt to the heat rising between now and then that we cannot prevent. The study makes clear it's the poorest countries with the least money to adapt to the rising temperature that will be hit hardest. Bill Blakemore. ABC News, New York."