Dobbs again questioned human-caused global warming, suggested sun may be more responsible

››› ››› HANNAH DREIER

Lou Dobbs again questioned the impact of humans on global warming and suggested that solar activity may be far more responsible for global warming, ignoring the conclusion by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that "it is extremely likely [>95% chance] that humans have exerted a substantial warming influence on climate" and that this "estimate is likely to be at least five times greater than that due to solar irradiance changes."

On the January 5 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs again questioned the impact of humans on global warming and suggested that solar activity may be far more responsible for global warming than humans, stating, "[M]any scientists are saying, 'My gosh, compared to what our sun can do, man has minuscule influence.' " However, Dobbs ignored the conclusion by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that "it is extremely likely [>95% chance] that humans have exerted a substantial warming influence on climate" and that this "estimate is likely to be at least five times greater than that due to solar irradiance changes."

During the segment, Dobbs aired a report from CNN correspondent Ines Ferré, which included a clip of meteorologist Joseph D'Aleo stating of global warming: "We are too short-sighted or certainly the -- those who believe in it are not looking at all the big picture, which needs to include other factors than natural cycles in the ocean and of the sun that are the real drivers." Following the report, Ferre stated, "There are also more questions over claims that so-called global warming is manmade. Scientists are looking at sunspot activity. They're linking the presence or absence of sunspots to warmer or cooler temperatures on earth." Dobbs responded, in part, that "what we're watching now -- we're in what, the second year of the solar sunspot activity cycle, an 11-year cycle, and many scientists are saying, 'My gosh, compared to what our sun can do, man has minuscule influence.' "

However, as Media Matters for America has noted, the IPCC's 2007 "Synthesis Report" concluded that "[w]arming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level" and that "[m]ost of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [defined in the report as a ">90%" chance] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic [human-caused] GHG [greenhouse gas] concentrations." The IPCC report specifically rebuts the suggestion that nature is primarily responsible for global warming in the last 50 years:

The observed widespread warming of the atmosphere and ocean, together with ice mass loss, support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely [<5% chance] that global climate change of the past 50 years can be explained without external forcing and very likely that it is not due to known natural causes alone. During this period, the sum of solar and volcanic forcings would likely [>66% chance] have produced cooling, not warming.

In comparing human-caused and natural "radiative forcing," (which is defined as "an index of the importance of [a] factor as a potential climate change mechanism"), the IPCC's February 2007 Working Group I Report "The Physical Science Basis" concluded that since 1750, "it is extremely likely [>95% chance] that humans have exerted a substantial warming influence on climate. This RF estimate is likely to be at least five times greater than that due to solar irradiance changes. For the period 1950 to 2005, it is exceptionally unlikely [<1% chance] that the combined natural RF (solar irradiance plus volcanic aerosol) has had a warming influence comparable to that of the combined anthropogenic RF."

From the January 5 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:

DOBBS: Up next, new indications that the hype over global warming may be based on inexact science and inexact assessment of facts. We'll have that report. Hold your breath, don't get excited, all of you enthusiasts for or against global warming. Just the facts coming up.

[...]

[begin video clip]

FERRÉ: New data from the University of Illinois says ice levels are roughly the same as those seen 29 years ago. But after decades of ice melt in the Arctic, that may be of little comfort. The increase is because of the formation of thin ice, which melts easily once the winter is over.

Even so, one climatologist skeptical of global warming feels the entire debate is muddled with selective data.

D'ALEO: We are too short-sighted or certainly the -- those who believe in it are not looking at all the big picture, which needs to include other factors than natural cycles in the ocean and of the sun that are the real drivers.

FERRÉ: NASA scientists report that more than 2 trillion tons of land ice in Greenland, the Arctic, and Antarctic have melted since 2003.

Some farmers fear future regulations on greenhouse gas emissions could include what could amount to a cow tax. The United Nations calculates livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

PAT MICHAELS (Cato Institute senior fellow): Extremism in the pursuit of climate policy is certainly no virtue. And what's really going on is we have rather a moderate increase in temperature, so why would one jump off the bridge and take money away from people?

FERRÉ: The Environmental Protection Agency says methane, a greenhouse gas associated with livestock, is not being considered for regulation at this point.

[end video clip]

FERRÉ There are also more questions over claims that so-called global warming is manmade. Scientists are looking at sunspot activity. They're linking the presence or absence of sunspots to warmer or cooler temperatures on earth. Lou?

DOBBS: Yeah. The one -- the one issue here, and as we have examined and reported on the issue of global warming, it is so clear that on both sides, but particularly the pro-global warming, if there is such a thing, if I can put it that way, they are -- they bring this thing to a personal belief system. It's almost a religion, without any question. And what we're watching now -- we're in what, the second year of the solar sunspot activity cycle, an 11-year cycle, and many scientists are saying, "My gosh, compared to what our sun can do, man has minuscule influence."

FERRÉ: And there's some scientists that say that, for example, last year there were 266 days out of all of last year that there was no sunspot activity.

DOBBS: Wow.

FERRÉ: And so they're saying now this is going to indicate cooler temperatures on earth. But yeah, I mean, people are very passionate about this topic.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Climate Change
Person
Lou Dobbs, Ines Ferre
Show/Publication
Lou Dobbs Tonight
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