In Alarmist Report, CBS's Scott Pelley Ignores Scientist's Key Findings

April 2nd, 2007 12:13 PM

"60 Minutes" resident global warming alarmist Scott Pelley, who compared global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers, reported on another piece on the April 1 edition. Pelley featured a scientist and self proclaimed former skeptic, and a University of Maine scientist without telling his full story.

First, Pelley toured a receding glacier with glaciologist Gino Casassa. Casassa claimed to be a former skeptic, and Pelley came to the conclusion that he changed his ways after witnessing this glacier. Apparently, when watching a glacier recede, one can jump to the conclusion that SUV driving soccer moms are causing it.

PELLEY: Casassa is a glaciologist who surprised us when he told us what he used to think of global warming.

CASASSA: I just didn't believe in global warming-- I mean, in global warming being produced by mankind, by us contaminating the atmosphere. I just refused to believe that. Wow, wow, wow. Look at that one.

PELLEY: Well, there's a bit of your proof.

CASASSA: Yeah, exactly.

PELLEY: He says, now, the evidence has convinced him. We set out to find more evidence as Casassa went to measure the height of O'Higgins. We climbed to a spot where he crossed from earth to ice in 2004. You thought we were going to walk from here on to the ice.

CASASSA: Yea, and now it's water.

After profiling a couple of penguin experts on the issue, Pelley moved on to University of Maine climatologist Paul Mayewski. Through the course of the interview, Mayewski claimed that "over the last few thousand years, this temperature change truly is different." Pelley featured Mayewski demonstrating rising levels in greenhouse gasses and alarmist predictions of rising sea levels leading to "the largest catastrophe the modern world had experienced."

What Pelley neglected to report that Paul Meyewski co-authored a report indicating solar activity plays a role in the increase of the earth’s temperature. This would not make Scott Pelley’s report. That would be equivalent to Holocaust denying. The transcript is below.

PELLEY: If it's clear the south is warming, Paul Mayewski is here to find out why.

PAUL MAYEWSKI: We're just on the edge of something that is potentially going to be much, much bigger.

PELLEY: Mayewski is among the most accomplished Antarctic scientists. He's director of the climate change institute at the University of Maine, and he's been exploring Antarctica since 1968. They've even named a mountain after him here. What are some of the questions, some of the big questions you'd like to answer here?

MAYEWSKI: We'd, of course, like to be able to demonstrate that, over the last few thousand years, this temperature change truly is different.

PELLEY: Is warming caused by man's pollution in the atmosphere?

MAYEWSKI: Just keep pulling on that, so it's tight around your legs.

PELLEY: Mayewski says the answer is right under our feet. So, with the help of scientists from Poland's Arstowski Research Station, we set out to climb to the top of a glacier that was fractured by deep crevasses covered in snow. Antarctica is one and a half times the size of the United States. And it's covered in ice that averages a mile in thickness. And so this is the top.

MAYEWSKI: This is the top of the plateau, a spectacular 360- degree view.

PELLEY: Paul, that's science the hard way.

MAYEWSKI: Yep. If you want to learn about the climate, you've got to get here and you've got to experience the place.

PELLEY: One of the reasons you work so hard to get to a place like this is because it's just about as remote as you can imagine. Just listen for a second. Nothing. Dead silence. We're up on the Warsaw plateau. It's about 1,500 feet or so from sea level on King George Island in Antarctica. The other reason you come here is to see some of the most dramatic evidence anywhere in the world of climate change. Over the past 50 years, this region, the Antarctic peninsula, the northwestern part and the islands around it, has been going up in temperature about one degree every decade, and that makes the region the fastest warming place on earth. Mayewski is here to drill an ice core because, when ice is laid down, it captures everything in the air. Drilling down is drilling through time.

MAYEWSKI: The ice cores are really the only way we have of demonstrating what greenhouse gas levels were like prior to their first measurement by humans, which is really 1957 or so.

PELLEY: By chemically analyzing the core, he can see what was in the air thousands of years ago.

MAYEWSKI: And one more sample will do it.

PELLEY: Back in Maine, Mayewski has a vault of hundreds of cores. He once led a team that drilled a glacier core two miles deep. He and his colleagues have found some of the most powerful evidence that man is changing the climate. What do the ice cores tell you about greenhouse gases?

MAYEWSKI: Now we know from the ice core record that it's-- the levels and the speed of rise are significantly, significantly greater than anything in the last 850,000 years. And the levels that we expect to get by the end of this century are going to be double what we have today.

PELLEY: Mayewski and his colleagues have timed the sudden rise in greenhouse gases to the start of the industrial revolution about 150 years ago. If, as expected, greenhouse gas pollution doubles by the end of this century, temperatures are predicted to rise four to six degrees.

MAYEWSKI: You could very well see sea level rises on the order of several feet and perhaps even several tens of feet. If sea level were to rise like that, that would be tremendous changes, immense migrations.

PELLEY: You would potentially have millions, hundreds of millions of people who would have to move inland.

MAYEWSKI: It would be the largest catastrophe that the modern world had experienced.

PELLEY: That rise in sea level would play out over decades. But some of it may be inevitable. It turns out that many greenhouse gases last a long time in the atmosphere. And there's a lot up there already. If we stopped every automobile, every factory, every emission of a greenhouse gas today, would the world continue to warm?

MAYEWSKI: It would certainly for a while. It is important that everybody really begin to make reductions in greenhouse gases and all the toxic elements that go along with it in order to impact or to have a change in the future. And once we start, it's not going to be an immediate solution. We're going to have to pay for a while for what we've done.