On NBC's Today, Willard Scott attempted to call global warming into question by stating that "the folks out in Denver and Colorado ... [are having] the coldest winter they've had in years." But as Media Matters has noted, local weather conditions are not indicative of whether the Earth is warming.
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On the January 2 edition of NBC's Today, weather reporter Willard Scott introduced his weather report by asking co-host Meredith Vieira if she was "a global-warming fan" and whether she "believe[d] in global warming." Vieira responded that "something's going on, 'cause it's warm here" in New York City. Scott then suggested that recent temperatures cast doubt on the existence of global warming: "From Savannah all the way up to Boston, we're having unheard-of warm weather, but ask the folks out in Denver and Colorado. ... [They are having] the coldest winter they've had in years. So it all depends on which side of the Mississippi [River] you're hanging your hat."
As Media Matters for America noted when conservative radio host William Bennett mockingly claimed that "half the people in the country" will "have to fight through snowstorms to watch this global warming thing," weather in a portion of the United States is not indicative of whether the Earth is warming. As the National Climatic Data Center noted in its preliminary 2006 report, "[f]ollowing the warmest year on record for the globe in 2005, the annual global temperature for 2006 is expected to be sixth warmest since recordkeeping began in 1880." That report also noted that "the 2006 annual average temperature for the contiguous United States (based on preliminary data) will likely be 2°F (1.1°C) above the 20th Century mean, which would make 2006 the third warmest year on record."
Additionally, Scott's question about "belie[f]" in global warming ignores that organizations representing thousands of scientists share the consensus view that, according to the June 2006 National Academy of Sciences report, "human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming" of the planet, as Media Matters has documented.
Scott's statement recalls comments by CNN host Miles O'Brien and CNN meteorologist Chad Myers, who also discussed purported doubts about global warming on the January 25, 2006, edition of CNN's American Morning, as Media Matters noted. O'Brien transitioned from a report on global warming to a weather forecast by describing Myers as "a little bit of a skeptic on global warming." Myers denied the label but then promoted the so-called "heat island" theory, which had been debunked by several recent studies.
From the January 2 edition of NBC's Today:
SCOTT: Well, listen are you a globing -- a global-warming fan? Do you believe in global warming?
VIEIRA: I'm not a fan. No. No, sir.
SCOTT: Well --
VIEIRA: But I -- something's going on, 'cause it's warm here.
SCOTT: Well, now, wait a minute -- that's it; it's warm here. From Savannah [Georgia] all the way up to Boston, we're having unheard-of warm weather, but ask the folks out in Denver and Colorado --
VIEIRA: That's so.
SCOTT: -- the coldest winter they've had in years. So it all depends on which side of the Mississippi you're hanging your hat.