CBS and NBC Trumpet UN Predictions About Warmest Decade Since 1850

CBS and NBC on Tuesday nightly eagerly pounced on the latest UN pronouncement about a warming world, without any regard for ClimateGate disclosures about manipulation of past data and without mentioning, as the AP noted, "the United States and Canada experienced cooler conditions than average." CBS anchor Katie Couric announced: "At the world climate conference in Copenhagen today, scientists said this decade is on track to become the warmest since records were first kept back in 1850."

NBC anchor Brian Williams touted "a big headline from that climate meeting going on in Copenhagen. The United Nations weather experts reported today this decade is on track to become the warmest since it started keeping records back in 1850. And 2009, they say, could rank among the top five warmest years ever." He proceeded to set up a piece about Peru: "Anne Thompson shows us a place where they say the climate crisis is right there for all the world to see, in the form of glaciers melting and threatening the supply of fresh water."

Couric recalled how "last night, Mark Phillips reported from the Maldives where rising seas could mean disaster, but there's a very different view in Greenland where melting glaciers could bring opportunity."

But first, Phillips recounted more disaster in Greenland:

There's no mystery about the affect global warming is having on the great glaciers of Greenland. More ice breaking off and floating out to sea than has ever been observed before.... Greenland's most active glacier now sheds enough ice each year to cover Manhattan almost a mile deep. Space imagery of the glaciers shows how it's been shrinking back over the years, supporting the scientific consensus that the Greenland icecap is thinning. The melt water causing sea levels around the world to rise. Levels that are feared may rise another two feet or more this century by the most widely accepted estimates. These mountain-sized bergs have been called the best evidence of global warming on the planet....

Phillips, however, saw "a silver lining in the climate change cloud" in economic opportunity for the fishing-based land: "Mining companies are lining up to explore the rich deposits of gold, copper and iron-ore that are becoming more accessible as the ice recedes from the coastal regions."

Thompson began her report on the Tuesday, December 8 NBC Nightly News:

Peru is a land of natural wonders. Its mystical Andes Mountains are home to most of the world's tropical glaciers. In the Cordillera Blanca, some three miles high, the 18,000-year-old glaciers are shrinking. Peruvian glaciologist Marco Zapata has spent three decades here, and he's stunned by the melt rate. MARCO ZAPATA: The glaciers are depleting fast, so that means that the reserve of fresh water will disappear in the future.

THOMPSON: The most dramatic loss is visible in the Pastoruri glacier, now split in two. The shrinking of the Pastoruri Glacier has been fast and furious, losing 40 percent of its mass in just the last 13 years. The United Nations says the Andes glaciers could be gone by 2022, and with them their run-off. Climate change is to blame. The glaciers provide 85 percent of the fresh water for Peru's most populated area, and water generates 80 percent of the country's electricity. Peru's first environmental minister, Antonio Brack Egg, says the nation must take action now or risk water wars....

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center