On the May 3 edition of CNN's American Morning, during a discussion about CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck's May 2 hour-long special, "Exposed: The Climate of Fear," co-host Kiran Chetry stated that there is "no denying" global warming is happening, but added, "I think the cause and how we can help is something that is up for debate." In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, scientific organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) share the consensus view that, as stated in a June 2006 NAS report, "[H]uman activities are responsible for much of the [planet's] recent warming."
In February, the IPCC released its fourth assessment report, which found:
Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic [human-produced] greenhouse gas concentrations. This is an advance since the TAR's [Third Assessment Report] conclusion that "most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations". Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns. [The report defines "very likely" as a greater than 90 percent probability of occurrence.]
Later in the interview, Beck repeated a false attack frequently made by conservatives that in his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth (Paramount Classics, May 2006), former Vice President Al Gore greatly exaggerated worst-case projections of sea level increases. Beck told Chetry, "It is important to have ... a reasonable conversation on this without the, you know, shock waves of 20 feet of sea level rise." As Media Matters noted, this characterization of Gore as an alarmist is based on the false claim that the IPCC's assessment of a likely rise of 23 inches contradicts Gore's claim. But the IPCC projection involved rising sea levels as they are affected before 2100 due to "[c]ontinued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates" -- not the melting or breakup of the West Antarctic ice shelf or the Greenland ice dome at an indeterminate point in the future, which is what Gore was discussing in the film.
Beck's appearance on CNN was his second in two days to discuss his special. As Media Matters noted, Beck appeared on the May 2 edition of CNN Newsroom and told host Don Lemon that he is doing the special because "the scientific consensus in Europe in the 1920s and '30s was that eugenics was a good idea," adding: "I'm glad that a few people stood against eugenics."
Chetry ended the interview by announcing, "I guess I just made a programming decision that we're going to run [Beck's special] again at some point."
From the May 3 edition of CNN's American Morning:
CHETRY: A recent poll showed about 60 percent of Americans think that global warming has started, and --
CHETRY: -- there's a very small amount who think it's never going to happen. Is the debate about the -- I mean, we have gone up, point -- what is it? -- .7 degrees?
BECK: Yeah, about .7 degrees Celsius. Look, there is no --
CHETRY: So there is no denying it's happened. But I think the cause and how we can help is something that is up for debate.
BECK: Yeah. There are three -- there are three questions -- really, kind of four. There's -- has the globe gotten warmer? Yes, it has. That's undeniable. Is this a lasting effect or is this just a cycle? That's still up for debate. The next one is: Is man causing it?
And the fourth one is: If man is causing it and the other three are true, then are we able to stop it? Even there, some scientists say it's already too late. There's a lot of debate.
CHETRY: Right. But we're pretty smart people, and if we can figure out ways to not destroy our planet, shouldn't we at least try?
BECK: Oh, of course we should. Nobody -- I mean -- I want clean air. I want water. I mean, I think this is -- it's obscene to say that people who are on the other side of the debate don't want a clean planet.
I have children, and I think about -- I think about all of the issues that we're facing today as a generational issue. I mean, I don't want to leave our planet in a worse shape for our children. It's not about us. As we get older and have children, it becomes less and less about us and more and more about our children. We should do the right thing. But when you can --
CHETRY: What are people going to get when they watch your special?
BECK: Well, the special was last night. I hope they just got a look at the other side, enough to where they say, "Wait a minute. Let's use reason here. Let's not silence dissent." It is important to have a conversation and important to have a reasonable conversation on this without the, you know, shock waves of 20 feet of sea level rise.
CHETRY: And I guess I just made a programming decision that we're going to run it again at some point.
BECK: Oh, good. Go for it.
CHETRY: Glenn Beck, always great to talk to you. Thanks a lot.
BECK: Great to talk to you. Bye-bye.