Now that Colorado is enduring one of the worst wildfires in its history, liberals are pointing to man-made global warming as the culprit. On Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, correspondent Anne Thompson hyped the “dire” and lasting impact of the fires on the environment and pointed toward man-made global warming as the probable cause.
The “increasingly bigger” fires, Thompson said, are “Leading some to question if this wildfire season is worse because of climate change.” One of her experts, a professor from the University of Arizona, proclaimed that “we won’t see these forests coming back in our lifetime or even our grandchildren’s life times.” [Video coming soon. MP3 audio here.]
Thompson hinted that the heavier fires could be a result of the “warming of earth’s atmosphere by burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and gas.” She then set the “dire” consequences of this possible man-made disaster: “Altering the very environment that made America’s west great.”
Thompson quoted two professors who live outside Colorado when she chould have interviewed Colorado state climatologist Nolan Doesken, who pointed out that, “you can’t say it’s climate change just because it’s an extreme condition.” Doesken also noted that spring of 2012 looked much like the spring of 1910, when warm temperatures hit early and that year was a bad year for fires.
Instead of reporting a fair story, Thompson continued the liberal global warming line and tied it to Colorado wildfires, using sources who support her position and failing to bring on any skeptics who challenge the myth that Colorado wildfires are related to “global warming.”
See relevant transcript below.
NBC Nightly News
June 5, 2012
7:05 p.m. EDT
KATE SNOW: Now to the west. From Montana to New Mexico, record-setting wildfires are charring mountains, valleys, and houses. Nearly 1,000 homes have been destroyed already this fire season. Firefighters were hopeful today that thunderstorms and monsoon rains might help them douse the flames, but as we’re about to hear, it could make their jobs harder not easier. Chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson reports on the impact of these increasingly bigger and more destructive fires.
ANNE THOMPSON, NBC News chief environmental affairs correspondent: When the fires finally go out, this is when the environmental impact really begins.
WALLY COVINGTON, Northern Arizona University: After a fire, what’s set into place is a series of events, especially on steep slopes, of massive erosion where the soils can literally be stripped from the land, leaving a barren wasteland.
THOMPSON: Transforming forever the landscape of the American West. Dr. Wally Covington of Northern Arizona University says the more than 2 million acres already burned this year stripped the land of trees and soil that helped keep watersheds clean, leave hundreds of animal species without places to live and forage, and ruin the beauty that’s put 25 percent of Colorado homes in a fire risk zone.
COVINGTON: What we’ve been seeing really, not just this year but since 2000, is an increasing crescendo of heavier fires that are burning hotter than anything we’ve seen in historic times.
THOMPSON: Leading some to question if this wildfire season is worse because of climate change. The warming of earth’s atmosphere by burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and gas. The vast tinder box, visible from the air.
JERRY MEEHL, National Center for Atmospheric Research: It makes things hotter and that of course adds to the wildfire risk, but the heat also dries things out more so you get increased evaporation.
THOMPSON: In a normal year we should have one record high temperature for every record low. Meehl says so far this year there’s been ten record highs for each record low. And there’s been much less snow and rain. Boulder, Colorado, home to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, recorded its driest March to June on record.
MEEHL: When we get extreme heat and record heat, that combination of heat and dryness creates these conditions that are really explosive.
THOMPSON: And consequences that are dire.
THOMAS SWEETNAM, University of Arizona: We won’t see these forests coming back in our lifetime or even our grandchildren’s life times.
THOMPSON: Altering the very environment that made America’s west great.
Jeffrey Meyer contributes Posts at NewsBusters and he is an intern for the Media Research Center.