To celebrate the Fourth of July, Fox & Friends fired up a grill and hosted climate change contrarian Joe Bastardi to mock concerns about global warming. Responding to a New York Times op-ed on ways to lower the carbon footprint of holiday cooking, Bastardi, who is not a scientist, rambled off a familiar list of climate fallacies:
BASTARDI: It sounds to me like it's the last gasp of a desperate movement because I think they know things are turning around, the overall global temperature and they're trying to grasp at any straw they can get their hands on. The human contribution every year to global - to CO2 - is .09 parts per million. That means if you made a million dollars, which I know you do, you'd be taxed 9 cents on it. Now, if you take the ocean and the atmosphere together, the human contribution is so tiny you can't even measure it.
Contrary to Bastardi's claim, the "tiny" size of the human CO2 contribution tells us nothing about whether those emissions are changing the climate. What matters is how much CO2 concentrations have changed and how that affects the Earth's carbon cycle.
As the Congressional Research Service explains, the release of CO2 from fossil fuel use causes the otherwise balanced carbon cycle to overflow into the atmosphere:
If humans add only a small amount of CO2 to the atmosphere each year, why is that contribution important to global climate change? The answer is that the oceans, vegetation, and soils do not take up carbon released from human activities quickly enough to prevent CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere from increasing. Humans tap the huge pool of fossil carbon for energy, and affect the global carbon cycle by transferring fossil carbon--which took millions of years to accumulate underground--into the atmosphere over a relatively short time span. As a result, the atmosphere contains approximately 35% more CO2 today than prior to the beginning of the industrial revolution. As the CO2 concentration grows it increases the degree to which the atmosphere traps incoming radiation from the sun, which further warms the planet.
Fox Nation is claiming a recent study, covered by Reuters, found that "Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduce Global Warming":
In fact, the study said that the "cooling effect" of the "rapid growth in short-lived sulfur emissions," largely due to Chinese coal consumption, "partially offsets rising greenhouse gas concentrations." Responding to the Fox headline, the study's lead author, Robert Kaufmann, wrote via email:
Now come the worst part of publishing an article on a topic of general interest...the distortions. Sulfur emissions ARE NOT GREENHOUSE GASES and the article carefully separates the two. Sulfur emissions are known as radiatively active gases because they reflect incoming solar radiation back to space. But they are not greenhouse gases, which affect Earth's energy balance by absorbing out-going long wave radiation. So the headline is PATENTLY FALSE.
The Associated Press also reported that "sulfur's cooling effect is only temporary, while the carbon dioxide from coal burning stays in Earth's atmosphere a long time." The new study suggests that as China and other developing nations begin to control their sulfur emissions, it will be more difficult for the long-term global warming trend to hide.
The Washington Times published an op-ed by Evan Bayh and Andy Card arguing that "Congress needs to dial back Obama's rule-making machine." However, the Times failed to disclose that Bayh and Card are employed by the Chamber of Commerce to promote its deregulation agenda through media appearances.
A June 2 memo from Chamber President Tom Donohue reported that "the Chamber has recently enlisted former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card and former Senator Evan Bayh who will carry a bipartisan message on regulatory reform out around the country through a 'road show' of speeches, events, and media appearances at various local venues."
The op-ed by Bayh and Card echoes Donohue's memo, which outlines how the Chamber will be "making the case for broader regulatory reform" and "telling the story about the dangers and costs of over-regulation."
For instance, Donohue wrote that the Chamber is "working to build support" for the following policies:
Bayh and Card called for similar changes: Passing "legislation in Congress to guarantee an up-or-down vote, with no Senate filibuster, on regulations with an economic impact of more than $100 million," granting citizens "judicial access and tools they need to hold federal agencies accountable for limiting regulatory burdens and for using sound science to support proposed rules," and requiring "more rigorous cost-benefit analysis" with "independent verification."
A Wall Street Journal editorial obscured the fact that a Duke University study strongly suggested methane from a natural gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, contaminated water supplies.
On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace criticized a University of Maryland study which indicated that Fox News viewers are more misinformed than the consumers of other news media. Wallace said the study labeled those who "questioned whether climate change is occurring" as misinformed, and suggested that doing so would be improper.
The study actually asked, "Do you think that MOST SCIENTISTS believe that" 1) Climate change is occurring, 2) Views are evenly divided or 3) Climate change is not occurring. Noting that the correct answer is that most scientists believe that climate change is occurring, the study found that of those who said they watched Fox News "almost every day," 60 percent got it wrong -- significantly higher than the consumers of other news sources.
A Stanford University study similarly found that "more exposure to Fox News was associated with more rejection of many mainstream scientists' claims about global warming, [and] with less trust in scientists."
It is a fact that climate change is occurring, and anthropogenic global warming is so well-supported in peer-reviewed research that, as the Maryland study notes, the United States' National Academy of Sciences and "97% of self-identifying actively publishing climate scientists agree" that it is occurring.
After President Obama announced that the U.S. will tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Fox News figures falsely suggested that government restrictions are encumbering domestic oil production. In fact, drilling is nearing a twenty-year high, and countless economists have explained that expanded U.S. oil production is not a solution to high oil prices.
Following the lead of the Heartland Institute, Fox News trumpeted the utterly baseless claim that scientists at the University of Colorado are "doctoring" sea level data to "exaggerate the effects of global warming." In reality, the scientists used a standard and transparent procedure performed by other research groups around the world, and even the climate skeptic cited by Fox News objects to the implication that the group engaged in scientific wrongdoing.
Fox News contributor and psychiatrist Keith Ablow misinformed viewers by dismissing EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's statement that limits on air pollution from coal-fired power plants benefit those who suffer from asthma. Indeed, it is widely accepted among public health professionals that pollution from these plants exacerbates asthma symptoms.
A Wall Street Journal editorial calls on Congress to cancel EPA's proposed limits on mercury emissions and other toxic air pollution from power plants, claiming that the action amounts to a "War on Jobs." However, studies have found that the new standards, which have been decades in the making and are already being met by a majority of coal-fired utilities, would actually result in a net creation of jobs.
NBC Meet The Press moderator David Gregory and a Meet the Press graphic suggested that President Obama's economic record consists of higher unemployment, debt, and gas prices. However, Obama's economic policy raised employment; the debt increase is largely due to Bush-era policies, as well as the economic downturn; and experts say it's "not credible" to blame Obama for gas prices.