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ABC and NBC Acknowledge 'ClimateGate,' But Remain Undeterred: 'Science is Solid'

More than two weeks after ClimateGate broke, ABC's World News finally got around to mentioning it on Sunday evening, but not to explore how the e-mails discredited leading scientists who insist mankind is causing global warming as, instead, ABC declared "the science is solid" and NBC assured viewers "the evidence is overwhelming that man is behind climate change."

ABC reporter Clayton Sandell merely included, in a larger story about the Copenhagen conference, how "global warming naysayers are claiming that e-mails stolen from" East Anglia University "show climate scientists discussing how to fudge results to promote the idea that humans are altering the planet." After failing to inform viewers of any specifics the e-mails revealed, Sandell, who didn't utter a syllable about them on Sunday's Good Morning America, concluded his World News piece:

The science is solid, according to a vast majority of researchers, with hotter temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising sea level providing the proof.

Over on the NBC Nightly News, following a shoddy Friday night story, Anne Thompson checked in from Copenhagen with a story on "cautious optimism that a political agreement can be reached on reducing carbon dioxide emissions," before she repeated the usual hysteria about how "the Greenland ice sheet...is melting at an ever faster pace." Only at the very end did Thompson raise "this scandal called ClimateGate," offering the most-benign explanation of how "essentially, in those e-mails, some climate scientists seem to be suggesting that perhaps they're massaging the data." But, she countered in citing the UN's Yvo de Boer:

When you look at the overall science and the fact that science from around the world has been reviewed by scientists around the world - 2,500 by the UN - he says the evidence is overwhelming that man is behind climate change.

On Friday, NBC reported on ClimateGate, the first morning or evening ABC, CBS or NBC news program do to so, but only to see the disclosures as a threat to the global warming alarmist agenda. The BiasAlert item, "NBC Nightly News Takes Up ClimateGate, But Frets It Could 'Delay Taking Action,'" recounted NBC brought up ClimateGate in only in the most cursory manner, while:

[C]orrespondent Anne Thompson, a long-time ally of the environmental left, despaired the e-mails may end up "giving politicians from coal and oil-producing states another reason to delay taking action to reduce emissions. The government's leading scientist told Congress there is no time to lose."

BiasAlert post from Rich Noyes on Sandell's Sunday GMA coverage: "ABC Remains Silent on ClimateGate; Claims 'Growing Scientific Evidence' Supports Warming Theory." Back on November 29, ABC's This Week roundtable briefly discussed ClimateGate, but GMA has yet to mention the topic and the couple of vague sentences on the December 6 World News is all that newscast has offered.

So far, the only broadcast network story to adequately summarize the revelations in the e-mails came - coincidentally? - on a newscast nearly 75 percent of Americans couldn't see. A 4 PM EST Saturday college football game telecast by CBS Sports (Alabama v Florida) meant no CBS Evening News on any EST or CST station, and not even all MST and PST affiliates carried it. (NB post on the story)

On that widely-bumped newscast (which is posted on CBSNews.com), however, Kimberly Dozier relayed:

The e-mails seem to show that some of the world's top experts decided to exclude or manipulate some research that didn't help prove global warming exists. Nineteen ninety-eight was the hottest year since record keeping began. But the temperature went down the next year and it's only spiked a couple of times since.

An e-mail from 1999 shows scientists worked hard to demonstrate an upward trend. They talk of using a trick to hide the decline in global temperatures. It worked like this: when temperature readings gathered from studying tree rings showed what looked like a decline in temperatures from the 1980s to the present, the scientists added in measurements taken later by more modern instruments, which gave them the answer they wanted.

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide these transcripts of the stories on the Sunday, December 6 ABC and NBC evening newscasts:

ABC's World News:

DAN HARRIS: Tomorrow is the start of a huge global summit on what some people believe is the most important problem in the world, climate change. However, as this summit begins, climate change skeptics have been handed some real ammunition - a scandal over leaked e-mails from key scientists. Clayton Sandell is at the summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, tonight.

CLAYTON SANDELL: Today, as delegates gathered here in Copenhagen, the U.N. climate chief put nations on notice, saying it's time to make real commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

YVO DE BOER, U.N. FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE: Well, time is up. Over the next two weeks, governments have to deliver a strong and long-term response.

SANDELL: Wealthy nations like the U.S. and developing countries like China and India are pointing fingers over who should be working hardest to cut emissions. Making cuts is difficult and expensive, meaning higher energy costs for average citizens in the middle of a global recession.

JEFFREY SACHS, THE EARTH INSTITUTE: We may get indignant in the U.S., "Oh, why aren't China and India and so forth doing their things?" but the rest of the world is saying, "What are you talking about? When are you going to show some leadership?"

SANDELL: This is the room where delegates from over 190 countries will gather on Monday. When President Obama comes here, he'll bring a proposal to cut U.S. emissions 17 percent by 2020, 83 percent by 2050. But the President faces new challenges in Copenhagen. Global warming naysayers are claiming that e-mails stolen from this research university show climate scientists discussing how to fudge results to promote the idea that humans are altering the planet. Today the U.N. admitted the scandal looks bad.

DE BOER: I actually think it's very good that what has happened is being critically addressed in the media because this, this process has to be based on solid science.

SANDELL: The science is solid, according to a vast majority of researchers, with hotter temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising sea level providing the proof. Clayton Sandell, ABC News, Copenhagen.

NBC Nightly News:

LESTER HOLT: Now to that big summit on climate change that begins tomorrow in Denmark. More than 190 nations will be represented, and President Obama himself will attend at the end of the 12-day conference. Our chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson is already in Copenhagen, and she joins us now with a preview. Anne?

ANNE THOMPSON: Good evening, Lester, from rainy Copenhagen where there is actually some cautious optimism that a political agreement can be reached on reducing carbon dioxide emissions. And the reason is, is because in the last few weeks three of the biggest emitters in the world - the U.S., China and India - have all put specific proposals on the table promising to reduce their carbon footprints. The world is gathering in Copenhagen - 192 nations coming to the capital of Denmark, a leader in cutting the emissions fueling climate change. Over the last two decades, Denmark has slashed its carbon footprint by 13 percent while growing its economy by more than 45 percent. Over the next two weeks, the nations of the world will try to find common ground here on how to reduce global warming and make commitments to change their carbon-burning ways. Yvo de Boer is the U.N.'s climate chief, and will play a key role in the upcoming talks.

YVO DE BOER, U.N. FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE: We know that the Himalayan glaciers are disappearing and that tens of millions of people in India and China rely on those glaciers for their drinking water supply. So what we have is basically a pretty small window of opportunity to change all of that.

THOMPSON: One of the biggest changes is happening on the Greenland ice sheet. It is melting at an ever faster pace. Danish glaciologist J.P. Stephenson says changes in the atmosphere are changing the ice.

J.P. STEPHENSON, GLACIOLOGIST: This place where we are standing used to be about 45 feet higher 10 years ago.

THOMPSON: The ice is going into the ocean raising sea levels, and that could cause some very expensive problems for coastal cities in the U.S. A new report from the World Wildlife Fund and the Alliance Insurance Group says an increase of some two feet in sea level could cause $2.8 trillion of damage in Miami, $1.8 trillion in the New York-Newark area, and $753 billion in New Orleans. In other places the problem is not enough water. Arizona is in the 15th year of a drought. Conserving water is now second nature in Flagstaff, a city of 65,000 people.

PROFESSOR ABE SPRINGER, NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY: Flagstaff has enough water to get it into the near future, but there are concerns about the supply out to the year 2050.

THOMPSON: And what are the concerns?

SPRINGER: To have enough water to supply potential anticipated future growth.

THOMPSON: Trying to balance the desire for economic growth around the world with the need to reduce emissions from the coal, gas and oil that helps fuel such growth is the challenge of Copenhagen.

Now, also under discussion here are those stolen e-mails from a British University that have made this scandal called ClimateGate. And, essentially, in those e-mails, some climate scientists seem to be suggesting that perhaps they're massaging the data. I spoke to Yvo de Boer about that. He said certainly the language in those e-mails looks bad. He's glad that both the U.N. and the university are investigating those e-mails, but he said when you look at the overall science and the fact that science from around the world has been reviewed by scientists around the world - 2,500 by the U.N. - he says the evidence is overwhelming that man is behind climate change.

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