On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," Sam Champion, ABC weatherman and liberal environmentalist, escalated his campaign to encourage Americans to fight global warming. In addition to lecturing viewers about their contribution to climate change, he, once again, engaged in identification bias.
Champion’s segment featured a representative from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a liberal environmental group. The organization’s ideology, not surprisingly, went completely unmentioned. However, the weatherman began the piece by standing in front of a bank of televisions and scolding viewers for their energy output:
Sam Champion: "For example, did you know that even with the flip of a switch, we all contribute to global warming? Well, I know it sounds a little intense. But there are some small things you can do to change that, like paying attention to your carbon footprint...If you think you have nothing to do with global warming, think again. From the car you drive, to the house you live in, it all contributes to the problem."
(Mr. Champion didn't mention how much energy the television screens behind him were contributing to global warming.) After introducing the piece, which aired at 8:35am on April 18, the ABC host segued into a discussion of carbon footprints, which is the sum total of an individual’s energy output, and how one family, the Flanagans, have decided to reduce it. Allen Hershkowitz, a representative of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) dropped by their house to instruct the Flanagan family on how to accomplish such a goal.
Champion made no mention of the group’s extreme liberal agenda. (For instance, they have advocated arms control and harshly complained that the Bush administration hasn’t adopted left-wing solutions to global warming.):
Champion: "The average American household produces over 35,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. Added together, that's 20 percent of the greenhouse gases our entire country produces. Kristen and Kevin Flanagan wanted to reduce their part of those greenhouse gases. So they set out to calculate their family's carbon footprint. With six kids, it was a daunting task."
Kristen Flanagan: "We're a large family, so I figured we'd probably have a pretty large footprint."
Champion: "The EPA website showed them how."
Kristen Flanagan [Looking over family energy records]: "That's gas."
Champion: "First, they got their heating and electric bills. Then, added up how much gas they used and their mileage. That's your carbon footprint. With three cars, the Flanagans used over 1,100 gallons of gas and drove over 20,000 miles last year. That created 20,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. Next, annual electricity. Nearly 16,000 kilowatt hours. That produced 25,000 pounds of carbon. And heating fuel, about $2500 for the year, producing about 20,000 pounds of carbon. Now, give yourself some credits for recycling. Their carbon footprint totaled 60,000 pounds, considerably higher than the national average. So, how do you get that number down? Enter Allen Hershkowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He says, the car is the biggest problem."
The GMA weatherman closed the report by having Hershkowitz tour the Flanagan household and instruct them on how to fight global warming:
Allen Hershkowitz: "Automobiles contribute more carbon emissions than everything else in your home combined."
Champion: "Combine trips, he advises, and keep your tires inflated. Oh, yeah. And driving a hybrid would help. Next, heading into the house. And first stop, the basement."
Hershkowitz: "So, the number one cause of carbon emissions from your house is your boiler and your air-conditioner. They give off 65 percent of all the carbon coming out of your household."
Champion: "Maintaining the boiler and reducing AC use helps cut the carbon. Up next, the kitchen."
Hershkowitz: How old is this refrigerator?"
Kristen Flanagan: "2003."
Hershkowitz: "2003. So, this causes about 15 percent of the carbon emissions in your household. If it were older, it would be a lot worse."
Champion: "Any refrigerator over 10 years old should be replaced, he says. Your new one will pay for itself in efficiency in just a few years."
Hershkowitz: "The next big cause of emissions in your house is your lighting. You have some spots here. Replacing light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint by 60 to 70 percent when it comes to your lighting."
Kristen Flanagan: "You know, you realize that every little thing you do makes a difference."
Champion: "And that's the point, little things. So, if you don’t know how much power you are using, there’s a cool way to know that, these little things called kilowatts. If you plug something into it and, you can see right there on it, it said zero. As soon as you turn on the power, then you can see how much power you're using. It just gives you an idea that power isn't something that’s abstract. It's something that actually can be measured."
GMA co-host Robin Roberts: "That’s right. Every little thing you do."
Viewers shouldn’t expect any break in the climate change advocacy. On Friday, April 20, GMA will use Earth Day to lobby for global warming.