ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos began with a segment on extreme weather in the U.S. After a run down of the blizzards in the east and drought in the west, there was a panel discussion which included NC Gov. Pat McCrory, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, ABC's chief business and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and Dr. Heidi Cullen, a research scientist who is the chief climatologist at Climate Central. Author of the Weather of the Future.
Rebecca Jarvis discussed the economic impact of the extreme weather events.
A number of economists are looking at this as cutting into GDP growth. An average number of economists are seeing it as a .3 percent hit on GDP growth.Gov. McCrory talked about the problems in NC. Mayor Garcetti described the drought in CA, then he got into causes.
Causes below the orange squiggle.
GARCETTI: I think it's clear human beings have had an impact on creating the problem, but we have to solve it now. ... But it's not a question anymore about this happening every so often, we're expecting this to be the new status quo.The real meat of the segment came from Dr. Heidi Cullen.
CULLEN: The cold that we're seeing here is very much connected to this broader pattern. And really when you put it into context, climate change, burning fossil fuels means that we're going to see more of these very expensive extreme weather events, specifically the kinds of extremes we can expect -- more heat waves, droughts, floods. We're already seeing those.Then she answered those fools who say because it's cold, global warming can't be real.
You know, this winter certainly doesn't disprove global warming. I think it's one of these things where every time we have a really cold winter we begin to ask ourselves all over again, so is global warming real or not. Cold winter doesn't mean global warming is gone.Then she explicitly linked extreme weather to global climate change.
And really, when you look at the big picture, we've actually globally been incredibly warm. January is probably going to come in as one of the top three warmest Januaries on record. And, you know, the 10 warmest years have all happened since 1988.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But your big point is that on these intense weather systems they're made more intense by climate change.Stephanopoulos gave Gov. McCrory, a known climate denier, a chance to show his ignorance, but McCrory didn't take the bait.
CULLEN: That's right. I mean, basically when you warm up the planet, you've got more moisture in the atmosphere, which means that when it rains it rains heavier. And you can also evaporate more, so that means that the tendency for drought is going to get worse.
So the kinds of droughts that we've been seeing in Texas, or in California right now, we know that climate change makes them worse....We've already looked at the Texas drought in 2011. We know that climate change made that drought 20 times more likely.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor McCrory, do you accept that argument? In the past you've said that you believe that this whole issue of climate change is in god's hands.Then McCrory babbled about "cleaning the environment."
MCCRORY: Well, I believe there is climate change. I'm not sure you can call it climate warming any more, especially here in the Carolinas.
I think the big debate is how much of it is man-made and how much will just naturally happen, as the Earth evolves. And the question then is what do we do about it, and how much it will cost the consumer.
Heidi Cullen brought McCrory's comments back to the real issue.
CULLEN: We absolutely have to get ahead of it. And, really, you know, when it comes to dealing with our environment, I think one of the things that we're seeing is that burning fossil fuels has put additional heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. So cleaning up our atmosphere is -- is part of cleaning up our environment. It's all interconnected.It was good to see the network put out some truth about global warming/climate distruption.