Americans Tuning Out Climate Change

May 22nd, 2011 at 2:19 pm | 24 Comments |

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According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans are less concerned about climate change than in the past.  Has the environmental movement dropped the ball on keeping the issue in the public eye?

The poll reports:

Americans continue to express less concern about global warming than they have in the past, with 51% saying they worry a great deal or fair amount about the problem — although attitudes appear to have stabilized compared with last year. That current level of worry compares with 66% just three years ago, and is only one percentage point higher than the low Gallup measured in 1997.

There are any number of theories that explain why Americans seem less interested in this issue now than they were in the days when Al Gore told inconvenient truths. Perhaps the protracted recession has pushed all other concerns from the minds of most Americans. Perhaps the effort by the conservative/libertarian pundit class to add doubt and scorn to the political environment surrounding this issue has had an effect.

Or, perhaps, it’s because there is no sustained media effort by the environmental movement to keep its ideas in the political forefront. Gore’s movie helped to push the conversation in the eco-conscious direction, but it obviously wasn’t enough.

We simply do not have an ideologically focused green media in the United States. The environmental movement is at risk of dying out in this country if eco-conscious people don’t borrow a few tactics from their adversaries in the conservative/libertarian pundit class.

The critics of today’s environmental movement are sustained by a conservative media apparatus specifically created to keep the right’s ideas in perpetual prominence. Conservatives had a compelling interest in building this media empire, as they believed their contenders were too often getting adverse rulings from biased referees in the arena of ideas.

It’s not enough to complain about this conservative media apparatus, to attack it for peddling misinformation about climate science, to denounce it for its smears of those concerned about this issue. Why not replicate the right’s tactics? Why not work to build up an environmental media apparatus geared to promoting green policy initiatives and obtaining specific political outcomes?

Clearly, environmentalists can no longer rely upon the mainstream media to devote sufficient time to these issues. As economist Bruce Bartlett noted in 2009:

[The mainstream press] no longer has the resources to pay reporters to look into things deeply and write about issues authoritatively. Reporters even at the best newspapers often seem like glorified bloggers who get their basic facts from the Internet instead of their own research, substitute speed for thoroughness and accuracy, and have no time to become experts on the subjects they cover because they are covering the waterfront. And since television news has always depended upon newspapers as their basic sources of material, the decline of newspaper reporting led inevitably to a decline in television reporting.

Bartlett was speaking of progressives generally, not environmentalists specifically, when he noted, “I think they need to abandon the mainstream media and create their own alternative media just as conservatives have done. That will help redress the imbalance that now exists in the media which benefits conservatives.” However, his advice is critical for environmentalists in particular.

No movement can survive for long if its core issues are not constantly reinforced in the American political conscience. Conservatives understand this: it’s why we have right-leaning think tanks, pro-Republican publications, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News. These entities may be a source of irritation for environmentalists—but why can’t they be a source of inspiration?

It’s long past time for the environmental movement to focus on its own political sustainability—to push for nationally syndicated commercial radio shows dealing with green issues, to lobby for wider distribution of documentaries on our planet’s peril, to subject the hardcore climate deniers to the same sort of public rebuke Van Jones was subjected to in 2009, to convert the environmental movement into an interest group that politicians from both parties are profoundly reluctant to antagonize.

Americans’ decreasing concern for green issues should increase the motivation of environmentalists to press harder to integrate their concerns into the national discourse. After President Lyndon Johnson destroyed Senator Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election, it seemed that Americans weren’t interested in conservatism either. The outcome of that election galvanized the American right, which spent the next four decades working to ensure that the products from their idea factories were always on the average American’s shopping list.

The green movement needs to study what worked for the conservative movement, and use those same tactics to regain the political momentum they’ve lost. Of course, environmentalists have to move much faster than conservatives did decades ago. With the physical and political climate deteriorating, environmentalists must make the ironic choice to turn up the heat.


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24 Comments so far ↓

  • arvan

    Environmentalists don’t have access to the new infinite resources of the robber barons who are looting this country. They can’t afford to run a 24-hour “news” network. They can’t afford to buy politicians by the dozen.

    Besides, all the slobbering animals have already been hypnotized by the right-wing propaganda. Those who are left are the ones with sufficient intelligence to recognize outright lies. If the environmentalists turn to demagogy, it will turn the thinking public off, and will never reach the unthinking masses.

  • Scritor

    This is really screwed up. You just wrote a paean to the machinations of a movement that sustains itself by falsehoods, since arguments from the truth no longer result in their desired policy outcomes.

    This is obviously one of those cases where the answer is to look at the source of the pollution and rid yourself of it, rather than decide that garbage legitimates garbage.

    One of the more flagrant sources of ideological pollution is Fox News, which engages in its slanted, ginned-up “reporting”. Also complicit are right-wing think tanks (not all of them!) that seem to service money rather than research or objective truth. If we delegitimized these as the journalistic and scientific malpractice that they are, we wouldn’t have to encourage environmentalists and all other kinds of lobbies to push for their own parajournalistic and parascientific networks. They could just present the truth and argue from the facts.

    Because once the left generally (or its various constituencies specifically) decides to engage the media in this manner, we are no longer dealing in the province of free argument under the auspices of the Founders’ freedoms of speech and the press. Instead, we are dealing with propaganda and fact-free ideology, as the best way to spread your ideology is to couple it with sensationalist falsehoods to manipulate people. (It’s a short stretch to argue that what these actors do is closer to Pravda than to the free-spirited debate of a democratic society.)

    This, of course, is one of the principal reasons that academics have a significant problem with the conservative movement. If you spend your life as a scientist or historian researching the truth and defending your data, you’re probably not going to want to sign on with a party that openly tolerates playing fast and loose with “truth” and “data”.

  • mememine69

    Funny isn’t it how the media are the only ones left now, still acting like climate change is even now a real emergency anymore?
    The thousands of consensus scientists who themselves proclaimed doom for 25 years watched silently as American IPCC funding was pulled and didn’t even react to Obama not even mentioning once, the climate crisis in his state of the union speech. Shouldn’t these countless thousands of saintly consensus scientists be screaming and marching in the streets and be demanding air time for our biggest emergency ever? They have children and families too who will be effected by their catastrophic climate change crisis.
    The voting majority are now former believers and all hope for climate mitigation action is lost yet nobody is acting like this is still a crisis, except the main scream media.
    Climate Change fear mongering has done to progressivism, science and journalism what abusive priests did for the Catholic Church and there is widespread talk now of criminal chargers for leading news editors and lab coat consultants who knowingly lead us to a false war like Bush did.

  • armstp

    Good luck with getting big parts of this country concerned about global warming when most of the GOP does not even believe in science.

    “…no sustained media effort by the environmental movement to keep its ideas in the political forefront. “

    There is a sustained media effort to undermine the global climate science and it is coming on a massive scale from FOX and the Murdoch empire of media properties.

    “This is a network whose personalities flatly reject climate change science and which has established an annual tradition of using winter weather to cast doubt on global warming. On the opinion side of the purported Fox News partition, Sean Hannity claims global warming “doesn’t exist,” and on the “news” side, Bret Baier reports that “the Earth has actually cooled over the last decade.”

    As we uncovered last December, Fox’s Washington managing editor Bill Sammon sent an email at the time of the Copenhagen summit directing Fox journalists to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.” This places Fox farther from the mainstream than even contrarian climate scientists like Roy Spencer, who has said “no one I know seriously debates that warming has actually occurred.” ”

    Stanford Scientist Criticizes Fox Distortion Of His Climate Study

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201105110017

    Beck Celebrates Earth Day By Attacking Schools For “Indoctrinat[ing]” Kids “With Earth Day Rap”

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201104220007

    GOING GREEN: How News Corp. Cashes In On Both Sides Of The Climate Fight

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201104210014

    WSJ Badly Misrepresents EPA’s Effort To Address Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201103160030

    Doocy: “People Aren’t So Big On” Climate Change “Any More Because Of The Climategate Scandal”

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201102280005

    NYT: James Murdoch’s Views At Odds With Fox News On Climate Change

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201102190004

    Fox’s Oil Man Eric Bolling: Short On Science, Long On Climate Misinformation

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201102080045

    Fox Escalates War On Climate Science As House GOP Readies Attack On EPA

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201102040021

    Fox Business’ Asman and GOP Strategist McGlowan Mock Global Warming: “Let It Go, Al Gore. Let It Go”

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201102030009

    Fox Reportedly Sought Expert To Ridicule Gore

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201102020038

    Fox Hosts Yet Another Climate Skeptic To Cast Doubt On Global Warming

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201102020028

    Doocy Jokes About Snowstorm: “Is This All Natural? Or Is It Global Warming?”

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201102020003

    Fox Again Hosts Sussman’s Confused Climate Analysis

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201102010037

    Fox News’ Top 10 Lies About Climate Science

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201102010025

    Etc., Etc., Etc……

    Rolling Stone: At Fox News, “Manufacturing Doubt About Global Warming Remains Official Policy”

    No one does more to spread dangerous disinformation about global warming than Murdoch. In a year of rec­ord heat waves in Africa, freak snowstorms in America and epic flooding in Pakistan, the Fox network continued to dismiss climate change as nothing but a conspiracy by liberal scientists and Big Government. Glenn Beck told viewers the Earth experienced no warming in the past decade — the hottest on record. Sean Hannity declared that “global warming doesn’t exist” and speculated about “the true agenda of global-warming hysterics.” Even Brian Kilmeade, co-host of the chatty Fox & Friends, laughed off the threat of climate change, joking that the real problem was “too many polar bears.”

    Murdoch’s entire media empire, it would seem, is set up to deny, deny, deny. The Wall Street Journal routinely dismisses climate change as “an apocalyptic scare,” and Fox News helped gin up a fake controversy by relentlessly hyping the “climategate” scandal — even though independent investigations showed that nothing in the e-mails stolen from British climate researchers undercut scientific conclusions about global warming.

    Murdoch knows better. In 2007, he warned that climate change “poses clear, catastrophic threats” and promised to turn News Corp. into a model of carbon neutrality. But at his media outlets, manufacturing doubt about global warming remains official policy. During the 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen, the Washington editor of Fox News ordered the network’s journalists to never mention global warming “without immediately pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.” Murdoch may be striving to go green in his ­office buildings, but on air, the only thing he’s recycling are the lies of Big Coal and Big Oil. [Rolling Stone, 2/3/11]

    Fox News’ Top 10 Climate Science Distortions And Fabrications

    1. Global warming “doesn’t exist”

    2. 2009 was “the coldest year on record”

    3. “Nearly all of the [Arctic] ice has returned”

    4. “How can there be global warming if it’s snowing and it’s bitterly cold?”

    5. “The Earth is actually cooling now”

    6. Hacked emails prove scientists are “doctoring” data to exaggerate global warming

    7. El Nino is the cause of warming of the past 30 years

    8. Climate science warned of global cooling in the 1970s

    9. “NASA acknowledges solar cycle, not man, responsible for global warming”

    10. Phil Jones told BBC that “the Middle Ages were warmer than the climate now”

    You could go on and on there are literally thousands of examples where FOX and Murdoch are in a war against the science of global warming.

    WHAT IMPACT DO YOU THINK THIS SUSTAINED EFFORT BY FOX AND MURDOCH’S OTHER PROPERTIES HAS HAD ON U.S. PUBLIC OPINION?

    THERE IS NO OTHER MEDIA OUTLET ON THE PLANET THAT IS TALKING MORE ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING THAN FOX AND MURDOCH’S OTHER MEDIA ASSETS. UNFORTUNATELY THEY ARE USING BULLSHIT TO DISCREDIT AND DISRUPT INTELLIGENT DISCUSSION AND SOLUTIONS FOR THE VERY IMPORTANT TOPIC OF GLOBAL WARMING.

    • anniemargret

      Yes, so true. Rush Limbaugh who has been proclaiming global warming/climate change is a nasty liberal hoax is heard by millions of dittoheads who bob their heads up and down and take his word as solemn.

      But I don’t remember Rush Limbaugh holding an advanced degree in climatology and/or meteorology? I think he just got past high school. Yep, he’s got the gift of political gab (more to the point, its’ political garbage), but how in God’s name does any American put their faith in this subject to a political entertainer like Limbaugh against 90% of the world’s leading climatologists?

      It doesn’t just make you want to scratch your head it makes you want to cry from the stupidity of it.

  • shediac

    The right-wing is right. Shut down FEMA, let the south live (or not) with floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires (hello Texas), God will save them (or not). How many non tobacco or flat earth scientist still post their anti-climate change views?

  • Arms Merchant

    “Shouldn’t these countless thousands of saintly consensus scientists be screaming and marching in the streets and be demanding air time for our biggest emergency ever?”

    Exactly. Here’s one of those scientists with his story:

    “I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic. ”

    “This evidence first became clear around the mid-1990s. At this point, official ‘climate science’ stopped being a science. In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory.

    “But official climate science ignored the crucial weather balloon evidence, and other subsequent evidence that backs it up, and instead clung to their carbon dioxide theory — that just happens to keep them in well-paying jobs with lavish research grants, and gives great political power to their government masters.”

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/04/07/climate-models-go-cold/

  • Katie Fromage

    The problem, Arms Merchant, is that your guy David Evans was never really any sort of expert in the field, or climate scientist.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/who-is-rocket-scientist-david-evans

    • Arms Merchant

      The problem Katie, is that alarmists desperately point to “credentials” (like you) and “consensus.” Well, science is about neither. It’s about replicable results. No wonder the public is becoming increasingly skeptical.

      • armstp

        The problem, Arms Merchant, is people like you live in a science and fact free magical world. You continually want to mix your politics with science.

        Can you give us one significant and credible study that suggests that global warming is not occuring, that it is not being caused by carbon emissions and that it is not man made? Just one significant and credible study.

        We could give you thousands of studies from credible scientists all over the world done over decades who work in many many different fields that provide enormous evidence of global warming.

        Why don’t take a look at this link:

        http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=credible+global+warming+studies&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

        By the way what is the motivation for these thousands of scientists from all over the world to fake global warming and its impact on the planet and on humans? Logic of deniers like yourself makes no sense whatsoever.

        • Arms Merchant

          armstp

          “Can you give us one significant and credible study that suggests that global warming is not occurring, that it is not being caused by carbon emissions and that it is not man made? Just one significant and credible study.”

          Aside from the straw man alert (I never said that AGW was NOT occurring–rather, Evans’ article asserts that its effect is insignificant but vastly overblown by the hysterics), here are 257 — yes, 257 — peer-reviewed articles that call into question, in various degrees, the alarmist’s claims. And it’s a link from 2008, so I’m sure there are many more by now. And no, I haven’t read them all.

          http://petesplace-peter.blogspot.com/2008/04/peer-reviewed-articles-skeptical-of-man.html

          Since you seem to hold peer-review as the gold standard for science, I’ll leave you some thoughts from an article on, amazingly, the topic of peer-review:

          “Peer review, on which lay people place great weight, varies from being an important control, where the editors and the referees are competent and responsible, to being a complete farce, where they are not. As a rule, not surprisingly, the process operates somewhere in the middle, being more than a joke but less than the nearly flawless system of Olympian scrutiny that outsiders imagine it to be. Any journal editor who desires, for whatever reason, to reject a submission can easily do so by choosing referees he knows full well will knock it down; likewise, he can easily obtain favorable referee reports. ”

          “…we might well bear in mind that the United Nations (and its committees and the bureaus it oversees) is no more a scientific organization than the U.S. Congress (and its committees and the bureaus it oversees). When decisions and pronouncements come forth from these political organizations, it makes sense to treat them as essentially political in origin and purpose. Politicians aren’t dumb, either―vicious, yes, but not dumb. One thing they know above everything else is how to stampede masses of people into approving or accepting ill-advised government actions that cost the people dearly in both their standard of living and their liberties in the long run.”

          http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1963

        • armstp

          Arms Merchant,

          Nice try with your bullshit list of peer review. Have you actually looked at the articles and the critiques of this list.

          1) the compiler of the list is clearly cherry-picking. There are many many more peer reviews that support these topics and conclusions about global warming.

          2) many of these peer reviews that are suppose to arguing against the topic or against global warming do not in fact do that. The compiler of the list misinterprets most of the supposive anti-global warming peer reviews.

          “The first one I checked out (I ignored ones that had one of the usual dirty dozen as a coauthor) was Effects of bias in solar radiative transfer codes on global climate model simulations(Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 32, L20717, 2005)- Albert Arking . Here is the abstract:

          Codes commonly used in climate and weather prediction models for calculating the transfer of solar radiation in the atmosphere show systematic differences amongst each other, and even the best of codes show systematic differences with respect to observations. A 1-dimensional radiative-convective equilibrium model is used to show the effects of such bias on the global energy balance and on the global response to a doubling of CO2. We find the main impact is in the energy exchange terms between the surface and atmosphere and in the convective transport in the lower troposphere, where it exceeds 10 W m−2. The impact on model response to doubling of CO2, on the other hand, is quite small and in most cases negligible.

          I don’t know, does that sound “skeptical of man-made global warming” to you? ”

          “BTW, you really should read the paper. It in NO WAY is attempting to negate AGW. In fact, it is one of the many MANY sensitivity studies that you deniers are always clamboring that we climate scientists are too stupid to do (too bad you don’t pay attention to what’s actually published out there). In fact, you should read ANY of those papers on your “list”. I found several that were good pieces of work that, in fact, were in no way criticizing AGW and were supportive of it. Someone didn’t do their research very well…

          Rather than make an honest attempt to understand the years of experience and scientific research that has gone into this issue, you’re randomly pulling papers off internet sites and throwing around words like you have an understanding of the issues. Bleah. I’m wasting my time. ”

          “Guess you really didn’t read many of the papers, even simply the abstracts. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy:

          This is the final sentence of the abstract from the paper:

          Modeling climatic effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions: unknowns and uncertainties. Reply to Karoly et al.(Climate Research, Vol. 24: 93–94, 2003)- Willie Soon, Sallie Baliunas, Sherwood B. Idso, Kirill Ya. Kondratyev, Eric S. Posmentier

          “Our review does not disprove a significant anthropogenic influence on global climate.”

          So they look at uncertainties in GCMs but clearly state that they do not believe their analysis disproves AGW.

          I’m just randomly picking papers to look at. Funny how many don’t belong. ”

          “For future debates, you might want to remember to read papers before categorizing them as anti-AGW. You’re not doing your “cause” any good by posting such incredibly sloppy research.

          I’ve got a lot more respect for those skeptical of AGW who have actually thought about the problem than those like you who are ignorantly repeating propaganda and who haven’t had an original thought of their own.

          A word of advice – spend a little bit of time each day thinking critically. And read papers. Don’t rely on key words or abstracts. That’s how you got yourself into trouble this time. ”

          The list here is a mix of

          1. Old studies from the 1980′s or early 90′s – not particularly relevant to today

          2. Studies published in dubious journals (i.e. “Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology”) or journals not particularly related to climate science (i.e. Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering). Many here are published in “Energy & Environment”, a known denier journal that publishes sub-standard papers. It’s editorial board is filled with those with a particular extreme ideological slant. It’s thus no surprise it’s not carried on ISI’s Journal Citation Report.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_and_Environment

          3. Studies that discuss specific effects of future warming

          4. Studies that don’t argue against the consensus view (the vast majority of them)

          For instance, aside from 1 or 2 (the Soon/Baliunas study being seen as a massive failure of the peer review process by the editors of the journal it was published in), the studies in the “solar” section discuss solar variation, a known forcing in past and current climate change, yet don’t argue against the consensus that most of the recent warming is due to human activities. In fact, solar forcing has had at most a negligible effect in recent decades, negative over the last 20 years.

          http://publishing.royalsociety.org/media/proceedings_a/rspa20071880.pdf

          Next, on “sea level rise”, for example, the blog post cites this study as somehow arguing against the consensus:

          http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/308/5730/1898

          In fact, increased precipitation in the Antarctic is predicted by the climate models.

          Another study notes that temperatures in one sea region were a little warmer 1000 years ago (which means?).

          Another example: 2 papers are authored by Stefan Rahmstorf, misinterpreted of course. Here’s his page on global warming:

          http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~stefan/warmingfacts.pdf

          “I’ve actually read many of them in my research. They make no comment about current climate, which is why I believe your list is a total joke. I am sure that many of the authors would be puzzled and horrified that you use their work as so called “evidence” that there is no consensus on AGW. It’s beyond misleading and dishonest. THAT is why you piss me off so much. The appropriate question is whether YOU have read these articles. Apparently not.”

  • balconesfault

    We simply do not have an ideologically focused green media in the United States. The environmental movement is at risk of dying out in this country if eco-conscious people don’t borrow a few tactics from their adversaries in the conservative/libertarian pundit class.

    Like, say – buying a major news network, and dedicating its resources to slandering climate change denialists?

    You just have to watch the advertisements that air during the Sunday Morning Talk Shows on the “Liberal” networks … during Face the Nation, or Meet the Press. ExxonMobil. Chevron. BP. Big Coal.

    Big industrial clients whose profits will continue to be larger every day that the US does not institute a climate change policy. The networks understand what this focused ad spending means, and they respond by doing their best to turn out the lights on the climate change issue.

    The problem with climate change as an issue is it typifies the Boiling Frog Syndrome. The temperature on earth can keep trending up … ecosystems can keep changing due to temperature stresses … climatalogical changes can significantly begin to affect the habitability of certain places in our planet … but since they accrue gradually over time, rather than instantaneously, most people are pretty happy with just ignoring inconvenient truths over the long haul.

  • nhthinker

    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.

    Raising the cost of energy in the US will clearly COST American jobs over the next decade.

    Any treehugger that propagandizes that American jobs should take a backseat to CO2 emission is going to be resented by most realistic Americans.

    The Gulf has lost many oil rig jobs and Obama gave Brasil 2 billion dollars in part to lower the need to keep oil jobs in America.

    The Pickens plan (with its substantial positive impact on American jobs) is on hold, in part, because the EPA considers CO2 from natural gas a poison.

    Temperatures over the next several years are expected to be stable or go down.

    Americans feel selfish because the lives of children are expected to be tougher than they were for their parents.

    The liberals are serious about taxing vehicle mileage instead of gasoline because cars are getting more efficient.

    A refocus on Climate Change? Tain’t going to happen.

    • balconesfault

      Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. Raising the cost of energy in the US will clearly COST American jobs over the next decade.

      No. Raising the cost of energy will RESTRUCTURE American jobs. In fact, it could very well produce more employment than our current oil/coal based economic model.

      The Gulf has lost many oil rig jobs and Obama gave Brasil 2 billion dollars in part to lower the need to keep oil jobs in America.

      Now you’re just repeating right wing lies. At this point, you become as recused from reality as Arms Merchant – which is a very sad place to be.

  • armstp

    Good luck with getting big parts of this country concerned about global warming when most of the GOP does not even believe in science.

    “…no sustained media effort by the environmental movement to keep its ideas in the political forefront. “

    There is a sustained media effort to undermine the global climate science and it is coming on a massive scale from FOX and the Murdoch empire of media properties.

    “This is a network whose personalities flatly reject climate change science and which has established an annual tradition of using winter weather to cast doubt on global warming. On the opinion side of the purported Fox News partition, Sean Hannity claims global warming “doesn’t exist,” and on the “news” side, Bret Baier reports that “the Earth has actually cooled over the last decade.”

    As we uncovered last December, Fox’s Washington managing editor Bill Sammon sent an email at the time of the Copenhagen summit directing Fox journalists to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.” This places Fox farther from the mainstream than even contrarian climate scientists like Roy Spencer, who has said “no one I know seriously debates that warming has actually occurred.” ”

    Stanford Scientist Criticizes Fox Distortion Of His Climate Study

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201105110017

    Beck Celebrates Earth Day By Attacking Schools For “Indoctrinat[ing]” Kids “With Earth Day Rap”

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201104220007

    GOING GREEN: How News Corp. Cashes In On Both Sides Of The Climate Fight

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201104210014

    WSJ Badly Misrepresents EPA’s Effort To Address Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201103160030

    Doocy: “People Aren’t So Big On” Climate Change “Any More Because Of The Climategate Scandal”

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201102280005

    NYT: James Murdoch’s Views At Odds With Fox News On Climate Change

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201102190004

    Fox’s Oil Man Eric Bolling: Short On Science, Long On Climate Misinformation

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201102080045

    Fox Escalates War On Climate Science As House GOP Readies Attack On EPA

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201102040021

    Fox Business’ Asman and GOP Strategist McGlowan Mock Global Warming: “Let It Go, Al Gore. Let It Go”

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201102030009

    Fox Reportedly Sought Expert To Ridicule Gore

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201102020038

    Fox Hosts Yet Another Climate Skeptic To Cast Doubt On Global Warming

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201102020028

    Doocy Jokes About Snowstorm: “Is This All Natural? Or Is It Global Warming?”

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201102020003

    Fox Again Hosts Sussman’s Confused Climate Analysis

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201102010037

    Fox News’ Top 10 Lies About Climate Science

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201102010025

    Etc., Etc., Etc……

    Rolling Stone: At Fox News, “Manufacturing Doubt About Global Warming Remains Official Policy”

    No one does more to spread dangerous disinformation about global warming than Murdoch. In a year of rec­ord heat waves in Africa, freak snowstorms in America and epic flooding in Pakistan, the Fox network continued to dismiss climate change as nothing but a conspiracy by liberal scientists and Big Government. Glenn Beck told viewers the Earth experienced no warming in the past decade — the hottest on record. Sean Hannity declared that “global warming doesn’t exist” and speculated about “the true agenda of global-warming hysterics.” Even Brian Kilmeade, co-host of the chatty Fox & Friends, laughed off the threat of climate change, joking that the real problem was “too many polar bears.”

    Murdoch’s entire media empire, it would seem, is set up to deny, deny, deny. The Wall Street Journal routinely dismisses climate change as “an apocalyptic scare,” and Fox News helped gin up a fake controversy by relentlessly hyping the “climategate” scandal — even though independent investigations showed that nothing in the e-mails stolen from British climate researchers undercut scientific conclusions about global warming.

    Murdoch knows better. In 2007, he warned that climate change “poses clear, catastrophic threats” and promised to turn News Corp. into a model of carbon neutrality. But at his media outlets, manufacturing doubt about global warming remains official policy. During the 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen, the Washington editor of Fox News ordered the network’s journalists to never mention global warming “without immediately pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.” Murdoch may be striving to go green in his ­office buildings, but on air, the only thing he’s recycling are the lies of Big Coal and Big Oil. [Rolling Stone, 2/3/11]

    Fox News’ Top 10 Climate Science Distortions And Fabrications

    1. Global warming “doesn’t exist”

    2. 2009 was “the coldest year on record”

    3. “Nearly all of the [Arctic] ice has returned”

    4. “How can there be global warming if it’s snowing and it’s bitterly cold?”

    5. “The Earth is actually cooling now”

    6. Hacked emails prove scientists are “doctoring” data to exaggerate global warming

    7. El Nino is the cause of warming of the past 30 years

    8. Climate science warned of global cooling in the 1970s

    9. “NASA acknowledges solar cycle, not man, responsible for global warming”

    10. Phil Jones told BBC that “the Middle Ages were warmer than the climate now”

    You could go on and on there are literally thousands of examples where FOX and Murdoch are in a war against the science of global warming.

    WHAT IMPACT DO YOU THINK THIS SUSTAINED EFFORT BY FOX AND MURDOCH’S OTHER PROPERTIES HAS HAD ON U.S. PUBLIC OPINION?

    THERE IS NO OTHER MEDIA OUTLET ON THE PLANET THAT IS TALKING MORE ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING THAN FOX AND MURDOCH’S OTHER MEDIA ASSETS. UNFORTUNATELY THEY ARE USING BULLSHIT TO DISCREDIT AND DISRUPT INTELLIGENT DISCUSSION AND SOLUTIONS FOR THE VERY IMPORTANT TOPIC OF GLOBAL WARMING.

  • PatrickQuint

    armstp: “By the way what is the motivation for these thousands of scientists from all over the world to fake global warming and its impact on the planet and on humans? Logic of deniers like yourself makes no sense whatsoever.”

    Science is cliquish. It’s very difficult to get funding if you try to do research that runs counter to the prevailing opinion. There’s your motive.

    Katie Fromage: “The problem, Arms Merchant, is that your guy David Evans was never really any sort of expert in the field, or climate scientist.”

    That doesn’t stop the man from accurately reporting the results of experiments. His claims can be argued on their merits.

    “Financial Post
    David Evans consulted full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change) from 1999 to 2005, and part-time 2008 to 2010, modelling Australia’s carbon in plants, debris, mulch, soils, and forestry and agricultural products. He is a mathematician and engineer, with six university degrees, including a PhD from Stanford University in electrical engineering. The comments above were made to the Anti-Carbon-Tax Rally in Perth, Australia, on March 23.”

    Since I’m not immune to evidence, I’ll probably take a look at a whole bunch of Evans’ claims. I’ll number them, because that might make things easier somehow.

    1. Climate models predict that increases in temperature will increase the total amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, which would greatly magnify any warming effect. Evans claims that this predicted increase in water vapor has not occurred.

    2. Evans claims that atmospheric changes are met with a dampening effect, though he fails to name the cause. Since the current atmospheric temperature is neither that of Venus nor Pluto, it is reasonable to presume that there are natural braking mechanisms for climate change. We might be messing them up (re: deforestation), but they should exist.

    3. Evans claims that global temperature predictions have been proven false (too high) when presented to congress in 1988, 1990, 1995, and 2001. I’ll have to see how consistent the climate models actually screw this up, though I do recall the record is less than impressive.

    4. Evans says: ” They keep lowering the temperature increases they expect, from 0.30C per decade in 1990, to 0.20C per decade in 2001, and now 0.15C per decade — yet they have the gall to tell us “it’s worse than expected.” ”

    5. “In the United States, nearly 90% of official thermometers surveyed by volunteers violate official siting requirements that they not be too close to an artificial heating source.” This sounds easy to check. Evans claims that ground-level data is being distorted by heat sources, often because they’ve been located in cities. Now, Evans fails to mention that temperatures *changes* can still be measured accurately so long as the distortion from heat is constant.

    6. Evans claims that satellite temperature data (which sounds quite reliable) has measured no significant increase in temperature in the last decade, and puts 1998 as the hottest year on modern record.

    7. The data so far has been distorted by a warming trend since the “little ice age” since 1680 along with something called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

    Evans is quite clear that carbon dioxide causes an increase in global temperature. He just doesn’t think it’s that big. From what I understand of global climate trends, methane is doing as much heating as carbon dioxide despite far smaller concentrations, because carbon dioxide is a very weak greenhouse gas.

    This sounds like a great excuse to better educate myself on the science. Those all certainly look like plausible issues with the science of it.

    • Scritor

      In the main, science can be cliquish. That is to be expected of any human endeavor, actually.

      However, science does make a big fuss about seeking non-falsifiable data and arguing for the closest to objective truth that we as humans can attempt. This is what differentiates it from philosophy and theology, though they were understood to be the same discipline before the Renaissance.

      So yes, while the prevailing scientific consensus may tolerate models that don’t explain everything or aren’t always right, the whole thrust of scientific modeling is to be based on observed reality. And the point of scientific theories is to take the data we’ve observed and try to explain it. So when, as armstp points out, Arctic ice begins a dramatic retreat and that retreat, unlike the 100+ years of rising yearly temperatures, can actually be charted over the course of a person’s life, it becomes clear that this is a phenomenon that we ought to be able to explain, since natural forces had kept Arctic ice levels pretty uniform before that period.

      Because on the surface of it, the greenhouse effect is not all that complicated–I was able to understand its basic tenets in grade school–and the enhanced greenhouse effect (known variously as climate change or global warming) is potentially an extremely serious threat, we ought to take it with a commensurate level of seriousness. Yes, there could be a lucrative reason for the scientific community to predict environmental catastrophe, but it’s pretty obvious that such a conspiracy would have been dismissed quite some time ago. The reality of the matter is that the effects scientists talked about from before I was born (the greenhouse effect and carbon dioxide’s potential contribution to it have been known for about a century) seem to be worsening various aspects of the environment and the conspiracy theories seem to be getting way more intricate.

    • armstp

      Patrick,

      Garbage! You pull out that all the 1,000s of scientist over decades of work are making up global warming so they can get funding? Really! It is that simple. They do all of the very tedious studies supported by incredible amounts of information gathering that is peer reviewed so they can only get funding. Boy, that would have to be a massive conspiracy. So a scientist in say Russia studying the impact of global warming on plants in Siberia is in a conspiracy to support global warming for funding with a scientist studying ice cores in the Antartic who is from New Zealand? Come on are you that stupid? Do you wear a tinfoil hat? It is all one big conspiracy to get funding? You cannot get funding if you go against the grain? Really? Do you have any proof of this? In any field of science? Basically, Patrick you do not believe in science or scientists. You are a nut.

  • LFC

    Back in the day, hundreds of papers were written showing that smoking cigarettes caused no increase in cancer. How did this happen? Well, people were bought and paid for, and they published their claptrap in non-peer reviewed journals. It was the best money the tobacco companies ever spent, holding off regulations and warnings while they killed more people a year than AQ has ever managed.

    The climate change denialists are even better funded and have a right-wing noise machine to echo their intentional misinterpretations, selective data usage, out outright fabrications. As islands disappear and people living near a coast have their lives destroyed, they’ll just say it’s “natural”. Besides, it probably won’t happen in our lifetimes so why worry?

    And to anybody who says that the snow in the east this winter is a counter argument to global warming, you are too stupid to be in this discussion. Yes, I’m talking to you Bill O’Reilly. Go back to high school, take a 10th grade chemistry course, and then maybe … BIG maybe I know … you’ll understand why an increase in global temperatures is expected to increase snowfall in certain areas.

    • Arms Merchant

      You’re fooling yourself if you think all the funding is on the energy company side.
      http://climatequotes.com/2011/01/08/how-can-climate-scientists-spend-so-much-money/

      Climate is a highly non-linear system with lots of feedback mechanisms that even climate scientists don’t understand well. Someone may well be stupid for pointing to record snowstorms as evidence against AGW, but someone else is really stupid for pointing that it’s evidence for it.

    • balconesfault

      The climate change denialists are even better funded and have a right-wing noise machine to echo their intentional misinterpretations, selective data usage, out outright fabrications.

      If Fox News were around 40 years ago, we would still have lead in our gasoline today.

  • Scritor

    “Climate is a highly non-linear system with lots of feedback mechanisms that even climate scientists don’t understand well.”

    Is a BS argument. You can say that about anything. Evolution is a highly non-linear system with lots of feedback mechanisms that even evolutionary biologists don’t understand well. Which, of course, is why they still study it. This explains why we can’t predict with certainty what the next flu version will look like, by the way. It doesn’t mean we can’t use the principles of evolution to do so, though, and the flu vaccine manages to take the basic principles of evolution and do a decent job at stopping the flu. Much more so than if we said, evolution is way too complicated. Let’s just wait and see how many people die from the flu. For that will determine how true the science was.

    The economy, in many respects, is possibly even more complex. That hasn’t stopped Keynesian demand-based and monetarist money-supply-based macroeconomics from being the standard models for the field. We don’t know nearly enough about macroeconomics, but we do know that if you change interest rates or run surpluses so that you can spend them off during recessions, the effects approximately match the theory.

  • balconesfault

    Science is cliquish. It’s very difficult to get funding if you try to do research that runs counter to the prevailing opinion. There’s your motive.

    This is the height of the no-nothingness embraced by the climate change denialists. Even if the vast preponderance of the scientific community is generating studies which point to validation of a certain theory, there must be the possibility that they are all engaged in concerted fraud because that’s where the money is?

    A ridiculous, ignorant way to view the motivation that drives scientists. Do you really believe that most of them couldn’t make far more money, if fraud were their goal, producing fraud that benefits the large institutions that profit the most from continues combustion of fossil fuels as our primary energy source? ExxonMobil has far deeper pockets to fund research than the average university.

    This form of climate change denialism is akin to Christians who believe that carbon dating that shows the earth to be older than 8,000 years must be a trick by Satan. It is magic thinking with a more sophisticated face – but still magic thinking.