PBS Predicts More ‘Climate Disasters’ If GOP Doesn’t Fall In Line

News & Politics

On Friday, Washington Post associate editor Jonathan Capehart and New York Times columnist David Brooks joined PBS NewsHour host Judy Woodruff for their standard discussion of the week’s events which this week included dire warnings that more Hurricane Ian-like storms will occur if Republicans do not fall in line and vote for their preferred policies.

Woodruff led Capehart not so much with a question, but a declaration “we have been covering climate change. We’re going to be seeing more and more of these climate disasters, calling on political leadership, but also the resources that governments are going to have to spend to clean up, to restore life to what people are — people deserve.”

Capehart agreed with the premise, not just in terms of the physical rebuilding that will have to be done after Ian, but “but improving so that, when the next once-in-a-100-year storm comes by in week two after a previous one, that folks can survive, that the structures can survive. We’re looking at more severe storms happening much more frequently.”

Far from having historic storms every week, Ian notwithstanding, 2022 has been below normal in terms of hurricane activity, which seems like an important data point if PBS wanted an intellectually honest conversation.

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Concluding his remarks, Capehart tried to dismiss claims that climate legislation is too expensive, “But then the other big question becomes, where does all the money come from? And that is the key thing, that, if they — if Washington doesn’t get its act together and start doing things more boldly to address climate change, then addressing the climate is super expensive. Repairing and restoring communities after they have been decimated for the fifth or sixth time is even more expensive.”

Because he spoke in very broad generalities, Capehart never explained how this money would prevent hurricanes, but Woodruff overlooked that as she turned to Brooks, “And there is this divide, David, about what to do about climate change right now.”

Brooks waxed nostalgic, “Yes, I’m old enough to remember when Republicans talked about climate change, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham” as he lamented that “it got turned partisan, like everything else.”

Continuing with the political side of the matter, Brooks lamented that “just a big collective action problem, where the costs of addressing climate change are right now, but the benefits are long term.”

While noting that there is “this logic where people are saying, we just can’t afford not to do it,” he wrapped up the climate portion of the discussion with more gloom, “And whether that will kick in, I confess, I’m not too optimistic, with China being where it is. But you can’t help not be startled by the weather patterns.”

At least Brooks mentioned that there are other countries in the world, but he still declined to draw the logical conclusion that blaming storms on Republicans for not passing certain types of legislation is absurd.

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Here is a transcript for the September 30 show:

PBS NewsHour

9/30/2022

7:40 PM ET

JUDY WOODRUFF: And we are, as Jonathan — and we have been covering climate change. We’re going to be seeing more and more of these climate disasters, calling on political leadership, but also the resources that governments are going to have to spend to clean up, to restore life to what people are — people deserve.

JONATHAN CAPEHART: Right. Well, restore — at this point, it’s got to be not just restoring, but improving so that, when the next once-in-a-100-year storm comes by in week two after a previous one, that folks can survive, that the structures can survive. We’re looking at more severe storms happening much more frequently.

This storm, Hurricane Ian, coming through the coast, raking across Florida, ramping back up in the Atlantic, raking across the Carolinas, you have got people and politicians who are looking around and thinking, how do we how — do we address these things? How do we address the climate? How do we repair?

But then the other big question becomes, where does all the money come from? And that is the key thing, that, if they — if Washington doesn’t get its act together and start doing things more boldly to address climate change, then addressing the climate is super expensive.

Repairing and restoring communities after they have been decimated for the fifth or sixth time is even more expensive.

WOODRUFF: And there is this divide, David, about what to do about climate change right now.

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I’m old enough to remember when Republicans talked about climate change, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

CAPEHART: Me too.

BROOKS: And it got turned partisan, like everything else. And, globally, it’s just a big collective action problem, where the costs of addressing climate change are right now, but the benefits are long term. But now, if we get more natural disasters, the costs are also short term. And so you see this logic where people are saying, we just can’t afford not to do it. And whether that will kick in, I confess, I’m not too optimistic, with China being where it is. But you can’t help not be startled by the weather patterns.

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