On June 25, PBS NewsHour ran a six-minute segment on the historic Arctic heat wave and its links to climate change. In the segment, PBS NewsHour correspondent William Brangham interviewed Merritt Turetsky, a scientist who has studied Arctic ecosystems for more than 20 years. Turetsky noted that the record-breaking temperatures are “part of a longer-term trend” that “will become more frequent in the Arctic because of climate change.”
PBS NewsHour’s segment is just the second time since June 20 that a major broadcast or cable news show has even mentioned the Arctic heat wave. From June 20 to June 24, only NBC’s Today mentioned the heat wave; it was a very brief segment that covered the extreme weather as an isolated event and did not go into detail on the global consequences of this unprecedented heat wave.
The length of the PBS segment allowed the program to explore the scope of the heat wave and its wider implications, including how it will “affect everyone on the globe.” It has already led to an increase in wildfires, which both worsens air quality and leads to an uptick in carbon emissions, and is accelerating thawing permafrost, which releases massive amounts of greenhouse gases and significantly transforms Arctic ecosystems.
This follows a trend of PBS outperforming its corporate broadcast news counterparts in the scope, depth, and amount of its climate change coverage. In each of the past four years, PBS aired more climate segments than any of the evening news shows on the corporate broadcast networks.
From the June 25, 2020, edition of PBS NewsHour: