This weekend, both CBS and MSNBC – in addition to several print outlets – made sure to fit their political agenda to the disaster, blaming climate change for the monster hurricane that unleashed tons of rain and destruction on Texas. Instead of pointing out that the lack of steering currents in the atmosphere was largely responsible for much of Harvey’s flooding conditions, both networks attempted to use the natural disaster to further a climate change agenda that much of the country remains deeply skeptical of.
On CBS, New York University professor Michio Kaku seemed downright embarrassed to have to fly the “climate change caused this” flag in relation to the hurricane. While he pointed out that the Gulf of Mexico was two degrees warmer this year and that the temperature change could have a driving effect on hurricane season, it was This Morning co-host Dana Jacobson who couldn’t wait to get up on the political soapbox.
“That’s the theory that climate change is impacting all of this,” she said eagerly.
Kaku, looking somewhat torn, reluctantly concurred.
“Well, we’re not sure, okay,” he said. “There’s no smoking gun but it is consistent with the fact that the Gulf is warming up, and that is the energy that is driving these monster hurricanes and, according to the government, this hurricane season, watch out.”
Fair enough. Clearly, this is someone who is more concerned about preserving actual scientific fact than in pushing a political agenda. Good for Professor Kaku.
Aerisweather founder Paul Douglas, who appeared on MSNBC later on Saturday, was not so circumspect in laying blame. After hesitantly admitting that Hurricane Harvey “would have formed regardless” of the warm Gulf waters, Douglas barreled forward with some conjecture.
“The fact that it passed over water that is two to three degrees warmer than average, that helped to fuel the storm, and also water levels,” he said. “Sea level is a foot higher in Galveston than it was a century ago so that’s making the storm surge on the Texas on the coast even worse. So, a convergence of factors, climate change flavored the storm. It probably will make the rainfall amounts much worse than they would be otherwise.”
Pure guesswork, painted as science. And of course, all of it aimed at promoting an agenda that would decimate many of the industries that make Texas the economic powerhouse that it is.