Sean Hannity promoted a claim that dangerous "global cooling" is coming, adding sarcastically on his radio show, "I thought all scientists agreed on this -- apparently not." Sadly for Hannity, the claim did not come from a scientist -- in fact, it came from John Casey, a man that even climate "skeptics" labeled a "scam artist."
Here's a helpful list for Hannity to refer to next time he is looking for support:
When 97 percent of climate scientists accept manmade global warming, it's no wonder that those in denial are getting desperate for an "expert."
The Washington Examiner is promoting a press release from a man predicting "global cooling" who even a climate "skeptic" has called a "scam artist."
The Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard writes that the "war between former Vice President Al Gore and his critics over global warming is about to hit the boiling point" with a "new claim" from John Casey that "global cooling" is coming. Who is John Casey? The Examiner says that Media Matters called Casey a scam artist "[b]ecause his predictions go against the mainstream." In fact, in 2010 Media Matters quoted blogger Tom Nelson -- who calls climate change a "hoax" -- warning that he thinks Casey is "a scam artist" trying to trick the "skeptic community" into bankrolling him.
Casey created the "Space and Science Research Corporation" (SSRC), which boasts that "it has a dedicated list of 'Supporting Researchers' who have committed their name and assistance to the mission of the SSRC." Four of these seven researchers are also listed as experts on Casey's other website, the "International Earthquake and Volcano Prediction Center," perhaps because they make no claim of expertise in climate change, instead stating that they study earthquakes and volcanoes.
Casey also has no background in climate science, possessing only an undergraduate degree in physics and math and a master's in management. Since we pointed that out in 2010, Casey has pumped up his biography, adding that he is "one of America's most successful climate change researchers and climate prediction experts," even though he does not appear to have ever published a single peer-reviewed paper on the subject.
Instead he wrote a self-published book on climate change "put together" with the help of an astrologer-cum-thoroughbred horse-racing advocate who claims to be the illegitimate daughter of Ernest Hemingway. He claims his book, Cold Sun, is "internationally acclaimed," citing one of his own volcano-specialist "Supporting Researchers" and an anonymous Amazon.com review. In it, Casey predicts that there will be "catastrophic shortages in the world's food supplies" from "global cooling," and that the first indicators of this will "be felt at any time and certainly by December 2012" (2012 was actually one of the 10 warmest years on record globally and the warmest year on record in the U.S.). Despite his claims of international prominence, neither Skeptical Science nor DeSmogBlog -- which maintain extensive records on the industry of faux-experts sowing doubt on climate change -- have ever written a single word about him.
As Congress considers legislation promoting energy efficiency, Media Matters examines the facts behind such efforts. Contrary to persistent myths in the media, increasing energy efficiency of appliances and buildings is a cost-effective way to benefit the environment and economy, and has historically enjoyed bipartisan support.
Fox News is using a tragic train crash in Spain to question whether California's high-speed rail plan is "safe." However, the train crash is a rare event: you are more likely to die from a shark attack or a lightning strike than a train crash in the United States. Automobile crashes, on the other hand, are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. and are especially likely to cut short the lives of the very young, exacting large social and economic costs.
CBS News framed its story similarly to Fox News, titling its report "Despite Spain crash, California proceeding with high-speed rail system." However, its report noted that "high speed rail is one of the safest ways to travel, generally speaking." Indeed, Japan and France have been operating high-speed rail for over 30 years without a single fatality. The President of US High Speed Rail Association, Andy Kunz, said in a phone conversation that "the California system will be more like the one in Japan" than the Spain track. The Spanish crash, which occurred when a driver reportedly went twice the speed limit, occurred on an older line that was "not on their true high-speed system." He added California's system will be using the "very safest" measures including technology that "overrides the driver in cases where there is a situation like this" and tracks that "don't have tight curves like" the one in Spain, which is "why it costs more."
Art Guzzetti, the Vice President of Policy at the American Public Transportation Association, told Media Matters in a phone conversation, "the way the media should cover it is they should look at the whole body of experience" as "you can't draw conclusions from one" tragic event. "The whole body of experience, the whole body of evidence, the whole body of facts shows that passenger rail is safe," he said. "The real safety issue," he added, is motor vehicles, noting that deaths per passenger mile for motor vehicles are over 40 times larger than for Amtrak, and over 20 times larger than for commuter rail.
After hyping the claim that the "totalitarian" Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) displayed bias against conservative groups by not granting fee waivers, Fox News has ignored a report refuting that allegation.
The conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) claimed in May that the EPA waived fees for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for liberal groups "about 90 percent of the time," while denying conservative groups the waivers "about 90 percent of the time." Fox News brought up the scandal on at least 12 occasions (dedicating over 18 minutes of airtime)*, hosting CEI's Chris Horner, Republican congressmen and others who blasted the disparity as representative of the "totalitarian" "life on Obama's animal farm." Fox News host and purported energy expert Eric Bolling even bizarrely claimed that this practice would "hit us at the pump":
However, a Politico analysis found a "much more modest disparity": liberal groups received the waivers 52 percent of the time, while conservative groups received them 39 percent of the time. Politico's analysis differed from CEI's in part because CEI counted a late response to a fee waiver request as a denial even if the EPA eventually granted the waiver, and because Politico included smaller green groups in its analysis. Fox has not covered the analysis as of 11 a.m. ET on July 23.
Politico noted that there are several factors that complicate attributing this small gap to political bias:
No, seriously. Fox News reported that the "power disruptions that were caused by Superstorm Sandy" will become more frequent across the country as a result of climate change, according to a new report from the Department of Energy.
Watch as Fox News -- on the same show that once wondered whether moon volcanoes meant global warming wasn't occurring -- connects "higher temperatures [and] more frequent droughts" to climate change:
Sure, the Fox News reporter felt the need to tack on the inane disclaimer that "there are those that are skeptical of climate change and feel that a lot of the data out there has been sort of bloated a little bit." But this segment is a big step forward for a network that once directed its reporters to cast doubt on the basic fact that the planet has warmed and has misled its audience in 93 percent of its coverage according to an analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The report in question, released July 11, found that our unrestrained greenhouse gas emissions will lead to more power disruptions, and noted that many of these impacts are already being felt -- drought in Texas, wildfires in the Southwest, flooding in the Midwest, and other events connected to climate change have caused blackouts and billions of dollars of damage.
As Fox News has now recognized the economic threat posed by climate change, will the network continue its refrain that the issue should not be a priority?
UPDATE (7/12/13): The reporter in this segment, Rick Folbaum, was previously the host of a 2005 special "The Heat Is On: The Case of Global Warming" that did not dispute the science demonstrating manmade climate change. In a preview to the special, Folbaum unequivocally conveyed the threat of climate change:
After months of research and interviews with many experts, I've learned this simple fact: the earth is heating up. And it's happening much faster than ever before. No one can argue with this. The vast majority of the scientific community says we're witnessing a unique and troubling kind of climate change, one where changes that used to occur over centuries are now taking place during the course of a single lifetime.
However, after conservative groups (including several who received funding from ExxonMobil at the time) lashed out at Fox News, the network responded by airing a special that only featured contrarians on the science and threat of global warming.
A review of claims made by the Cato Institute's Patrick Michaels over the last quarter century shows that he has repeatedly been proven wrong over time. Michaels is one of a few contrarian climate scientists who is often featured in the media without disclosure of his funding from the fossil fuel industry.
The Wall Street Journal is suggesting that there should be no benefit assigned to reducing the carbon dioxide emissions that drive climate change, seeking to criticize the Obama administration for raising the figure used to estimate those benefits -- the "social cost of carbon." However, experts widely agree that the government should calculate a social cost of carbon, and recent studies support the administration's new estimate.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board and Fox News are throwing around baseless estimates of how much carbon standards for existing power plants, which have not even been proposed yet, will cost.
Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced in a speech on a series of executive actions to address climate change that he was "directing" the Environmental Protection Agency to set a standard for how much carbon pollution existing power plants can emit. A Journal editorial that ran in the paper Wednesday argued that these carbon standards would be too costly, claiming "In general every $1 billion spent complying with an EPA rule threatens 16,000 jobs and cuts GDP by $1.2 billion." But that is based on an analysis prepared for the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) of a rule that impacts them, not EPA rules in general.
The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service concluded that "little credence can be placed" in CIBO's estimates of costs and job losses. Retrospective analyses of industry studies such as CIBO's have found that they regularly overestimate costs and underestimate benefits.
Similarly, Fox News suggested that carbon standards would boost energy prices by 20 percent and cost 500,000 jobs. However, that is based on an as-yet unreleased Heritage Foundation analysis that will look at several EPA rules including the not yet proposed rule on existing power plants' carbon pollution.
The only cost estimates based on an actual proposal for carbon standards are from an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which found that the standards could actually lower power bills by giving plant owners credit for any improvements in energy efficiency. The Heritage Foundation previously overestimated the costs of cap-and-trade and released a widely-criticized cost estimate for immigration reform.
These News Corp. outlets' willingness to throw around unsubstantiated numbers undermines their credibility on the costs and benefits of reducing carbon pollution through the EPA when we actually have rules on the table.
Fox News is questioning accurate temperature data in an attempt to refute evidence of climate change cited by President Barack Obama in a major speech Tuesday.
During coverage of Obama's address, Fox News host Neil Cavuto asked weather forecaster Joe Bastardi whether Obama's statement that "[t]he 12 warmest years in recorded history have all come in the last 15 years" is correct. Bastardi responded "no":
But Politifact examined the temperature data and rated a similar statement by Obama true:
Data from NASA shows 13 of the hottest years on record have come in the last 15, and by a different data set produced by NOAA, 14 of the hottest years on record have come in the last 15. Obama was actually over-cautious in his statement, so we rate his statement True.
Furthermore, studies have shown that the "urban build-up" that Bastardi referenced has not compromised the reliability of this temperature data.
While Cavuto suggested that Bastardi was "part of the 3 percent" of climate scientists who deny manmade climate change, Bastardi is not a climate scientist and weather forecasting differs from climate science in important ways. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change explained, the projections made by climate models are more predictable than short-term weather forecasts:
[L]ong-term variations brought about by changes in the composition of the atmosphere are much more predictable than individual weather events. As an example, while we cannot predict the outcome of a single coin toss or roll of the dice, we can predict the statistical behaviour of a large number of such trials.
Bastardi has made several statements about climate change that scientists have called "completely wrong," "scientifically incorrect" and "nonsense." In 2012, Bastardi claimed that carbon dioxide "literally cannot cause global warming," which Rolling Stone rated the number one "dumbest thin[g] ever said about global warming."