THE BLOG

Debate Climate Solutions, Not the Facts

02/18/2014 07:06 pm ET | Updated Apr 20, 2014

Last year, LCV joined tens of thousands of others in calling for the major TV networks to devote more time to covering the climate crisis.

Recently, a group of senators committed to tackling climate disruption made a similar call.

This weekend, the Sunday morning political shows on NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox News all spent some time discussing climate change. And it was a classic case of 'be careful of what you wish for.'

Even putting aside Fox News' expected ridiculous performance, where self-described "denier" George Will said "the only question is how much money are we going to spend, how much wealth are we going to forgo creating in order to have zero discernible impact on the environment," the rest of the networks produced more of a mixed bag.

In what was largely a "he said/she said" segment, on Meet the Press, David Gregory posed pointed policy questions to Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn who continued the familiar tactics of climate change deniers, calling the increase atmospheric carbon "slight", and attempting to cast doubt on the scientific consensus on climate change by highlighting two skeptics in the face of thousands of scientists around the world.

After repeatedly repudiating Rep. Blackburn's spin, Bill Nye, who was debating Blackburn, frustratingly appealed, "You are a leader, we need you to change things, not deny what's happening."

In a sign that Republican strategists are starting to see the disconnect between the Republicans in Congress and the public, Nicole Wallace acknowledged that "most Republicans do acknowledge global warming is real and happening."

ABC's this week with George Stephanopoulos had a more substantive discussion of what needs to be done to address climate change, including how businesses must "innovate or die" according to ABC correspondent Rebecca Jarvis. Dr. Heidi Cullen, Chief Climatologist for Climate Central pointed out that despite the media's focus on East Coast cold said, "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."

On Face the Nation, Dr. Marshall Shepherd, the former head of the American Meteorological Society did a good job explaining the difference between weather and climate, comparing weather to your mood, and climate to your personality.

In Rep. Blackburn's most telling admission, she proudly boasted that Congress has repeatedly said "no" to the policy solutions to climate change. The good news is that President Obama is following through on his promise to act if Congress failed to do so. In fact, this week I joined the president in announcing his next steps on increasing the fuel efficiency for heavy duty trucks.

The networks should continue to cover the climate crisis, including representing differing views on solutions. But they would do well to head the words of Secretary of State John Kerry who this weekend said, "We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact... Nor should we allow any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits."