‘Code Red For Humanity,’ CNN Warns of ‘Planet-Cooking Pollution’ During 2021 Review

News & Politics

All throughout Sunday and Monday, CNN featured several top 10 year in reviews to recap the year’s biggest stories. Climate correspondent Bill Weir was responsible for the climate edition as he warned that the world is “close to a point of no return” when it comes to the “code red for humanity” of “planet-cooking pollution.”

Weir kicked off his top 10 in Greenland, declaring that scientists, “believe that this is the birthplace of the iceberg that sank the Titanic. But now scientists are really worried this place could help sink Miami and Boston and Bangkok and Shanghai because just this part of Greenland has enough ice that if it all melts, will raise sea levels by two feet.”

Next, Weir included “that icy surprise in Texas which illustrated how the climate crisis can run hot and cold with wind chills below zero on the Rio Grande. Nearly 10 million lost power. The February blast became America’s costliest winter storm event ever. ”

Despite the historic nature of that storm, some in the media still found a way to blame Republicans

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Various floods took the eight spot on Weir’s list, but at number seven, “the U.S. rejoins the Paris Climate Accord hours after Joe Biden became president. But pledging to slash planet-cooking pollution by half this decade is one thing, convincing Congress to take bold action is another.”

Weir kept the hyperbole up on for number six, “a code red for humanity as scientists around the world issue their most dire warning to date. The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it’s unequivocal that human activity has cranked up the global thermostat by over two degrees Fahrenheit and that we are careening dangerously close to a point of no return.”

This year also gave various CNN personalities an excuse to see all the cool medieval castles in Scotland while covering COP26, which was number five on his list. Not seeing the irony, Weir lamented, “For the first time in 26 meetings, the world’s delegates agree that fossil fuels are driving the climate crisis. But not a single country committed to stopping oil or coal production any time soon.”

Hurricane Ida and recent tornados came in at four and three, respectively. At number two was another historic event that the media claimed could’ve been avoided, if only politicians cared was the Pacific Northwest heat dome and at number one, “America’s megadrought.” 

Weir concluded by declaring: “The feds declared the first ever shortage of the Colorado River, which is a source of life for over 40 million Americans. Meantime, smoke from western wildfires reached the east coast this year from one to ten, it is all connected. And without dramatic changes, on a global scale, scientists warn us the worst is yet to come.”

Of course, people like Weir never seek to see if previous gloomy predictions came true, but they do give Weir a reason to take a nice field trip to Greenland.

This segment was sponsored by Farmers Insurance. Their contact information is linked.

Here is the relevant transcript (click “expand”)::

CNN Newsroom with Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell
December 27, 2021
3:50 PM ET

BILL WEIR: The signs were everywhere in ’21, starting at the top of the world where Greenland’s highest peak was so freakishly warm that it rained for several hours. [FROM GREENLAND] They believe that this is the birthplace of the iceberg that sank the Titanic. But now scientists are really worried this place could help sink Miami and Boston and Bangkok and Shanghai because just this part of Greenland has enough ice that if it all melts, will raise sea levels by two feet. [VOICE-OVER] A new study predicts the Arctic will see more rain than snow as soon as 2060 and in the meantime, the ice sheets so vital to a planet in balance is melting at a staggering rate.  At number nine, that icy surprise in Texas which illustrated how the climate crisis can run hot and cold with wind chills below zero on the Rio Grande. Nearly 10 million lost power. The February blast became America’s costliest winter storm event ever. 

At number eight, flash floods on three continents. In Germany and Belgium, modern-day warning systems failed as a month of rain fell in one day. In China, commuters clung to the ceiling of a subway as a thousand-year flood hit Henan Province. And back in the U.S., the deadliest flood in Tennessee history came like a tidal wave. At number seven, the U.S. rejoins the Paris Climate Accord hours after Joe Biden became president. But pledging to slash planet-cooking pollution by half this decade is one thing, convincing Congress to take bold action is another. At number six, a code red for humanity as scientists around the world issue their most dire warning to date. The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it’s unequivocal that human activity has cranked up the global thermostat by over two degrees Fahrenheit and that we are careening dangerously close to a point of no return. 

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN [on 11/01/21]: We meet with the eyes of history upon us. 

WEIR: And those warnings made number five all the more urgent: COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland. 

BILL WEIR [FLASHBACK]: Of the four main themes laid out by COP26 host Boris Johnson, coal, cars, cash and trees, probably is going to be cash that provides the biggest challenge.

WEIR: For the first time in 26 meetings, the world’s delegates agree that fossil fuels are driving the climate crisis. But not a single country committed to stopping oil or coal production any time soon. 

PAMELA BROWN [on CNN Newsroom, 08/28/21]: A monster named Ida. The hurricane is intensifying quickly and drawing chilling comparisons to Katrina. 

WEIR: Hurricane Ida comes in at number four as 150-mile-per-hour winds screamed ashore in Louisiana, in early September. But that was just the beginning. Ida’s aftermath dropped a rain bomb on New York sudden enough to drown families in their basement apartments. And all told, the single storm cost over $60 billion. 

BORIS SANCHEZ [on CNN’s New Day, 12/11/21]: We are following breaking news this morning. A dangerous and deadly night across the central United States. A powerful line of storms unleashing at least 24 tornadoes across five states. 

WEIR: At number three — tornadoes in winter. December usually brings the fewest twisters of any month. But record warmth in the heartland spun up funnel clouds from Arkansas to Ohio and weeks later, the damage is still being tallied. 

At number two, the Pacific Northwest heat dome which pushed the mercury in famously mild Portland well over 100 degrees for days, creating a mass casualty event of creatures great and small. Over a billion shellfish baked to death on the shores of British Columbia. And a little town of Litton broke the Canadian heat record three times in a week before most of it burned to the ground. 

And at number one — America’s megadrought. Your water can come from rivers, reservoirs or from wells. All of which have been impacted by the 20-year megadrought fueled by the climate crisis with 90 percent of the west starving for rain. The feds declared the first ever shortage of the Colorado River, which is a source of life for over 40 million Americans. Meantime, smoke from western wildfires reached the east coast this year from one to ten, it is all connected. And without dramatic changes, on a global scale, scientists warn us the worst is yet to come. Bill Weir, CNN, New York. 

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