Fox News' Hemmer, Gallagher, Wilson baselessly suggest short-term weather impacts global warming debate

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

Fox News' Trace Gallagher and Brian Wilson cited the "irony" of snowfall in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere in the U.S. on the day Al Gore testified on global warming before a Senate committee, which Bill Hemmer stated was "making for an inconvenient forecast." But climate scientists -- including at least one who has disputed aspects of the scientific consensus on global warming -- completely reject the notion that short-term changes in weather, let alone an individual winter storm in January, bear any relevance to the global warming debate.

On January 28, Fox News anchor Trace Gallagher and Washington, D.C., bureau chief Brian Wilson cited the "irony" of snowfall in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere in the United States on the same day former Vice President Al Gore testified on global warming before a Senate committee, which Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer stated was "making for an inconvenient forecast." However, as Media Matters for America has noted -- but Fox News did not mention in its reports -- according to a March 2, 2008, New York Times article, climate scientists -- including at least one who has disputed aspects of the scientific consensus on global warming -- completely reject the notion that short-term changes in weather, let alone an individual winter storm in January, bear any relevance to the global warming debate.

On Fox News's America's Newsroom, Hemmer reported that Gore was "making his case to a Senate committee, pressing for U.S. leadership in fighting climate change. Now, the elements outside on the Hill today making for an inconvenient forecast as we tackle global warming." Wilson replied that "[t]here is a bit of irony in the fact that they're holding a global warming hearing on the day when much of the United States is in the middle of an ice storm."

Later, on Fox News' The Live Desk, Gallagher, discussing "[t]he weather situation around the country," said that "the irony here is the weather's terrible, snowing outside, but inside, Al Gore is speaking about global warming. They really don't use the phrase 'global warming' much anymore, because the globe really isn't warming much anymore."

In fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change'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%" probability] 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.

As Media Matters has noted, despite overwhelming evidence of human-caused global warming and warnings by experts that short-term weather conditions are not evidence for or against its existence, numerous media figures have previously suggested that winter storms are evidence against the existence of global warming.

From the January 28 broadcast of Fox News America's Newsroom:

HEMMER: Meanwhile, former Vice President Al Gore braving the snow in Washington to testify on global warming today. The environmental activist making his case to a Senate committee, pressing for U.S. leadership in fighting climate change. Now, the elements outside on the Hill today making for an inconvenient forecast as we tackle global warming.

Brian Wilson's covering that today. Good morning to you, Brian. Was this hearing postponed, or will it be? What's the truth on that?

WILSON: No, it was postponed. It was set -- scheduled to start yesterday, and they postponed it until today because of cold and icy weather in the Washington, D.C., area. There is a bit of irony in the fact that they're holding a global warming hearing on the day when much of the United States is in the middle of an ice storm, and in Washington, D.C., they closed all the schools, because it's too icy and snowy.

HEMMER: To that point, why now is there more discussion about climate change instead of global warming?

WILSON: Well, there are a few inconvenient facts out there that are causing some scientists to scratch their heads. For example, in 2008, the average temperature in the United States -- the lower 48 -- dropped a degree and one-third. It's now just a bit above century averages. Icelandic glaciers that were once said to be melting at an alarming rate are no longer melting at that alarming rate, but at a more normal rate.

So there are some people out there saying maybe we shouldn't talk about global warming, maybe we should change the debate and talk about climate change, saying that the erratic weather we're experience [sic] is somehow caused by man's impact on the environment.

HEMMER: Well, nice to see you outside anyway.

From the January 28 broadcast of Fox News' The Live Desk with Martha and Trace:

GALLAGHER: The weather situation around the country is a mess. Yeah, it's nice where [correspondent] Jonathan Hunt is, but take a live look at Boston -- the snow on the ground. It is a mess around much of the country. The reason we bring this up is for a couple of reasons. One is the airports situation from coast to coast is bad. If you're going to fly, keep that in mind. We've got the domino effect from New York through Chicago all the way to the West Coast there.

The other one, of course, is very big concern about ice storms in the Northeast and the Midwest tonight. That can be a major problem for the power problem across -- the power situation across the country. That's a live look, by the way, at Capitol Hill. Chris, over here. Where -- there it is.

And the irony here is the weather's terrible, snowing outside, but inside, Al Gore is speaking about global warming. They really don't use the phrase "global warming" much anymore, because the globe really isn't warming much anymore. Now they use the phrase "climate change." We'll keep you up to speed on that.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Climate Change
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Show/Publication
The Live Desk, America's Newsroom
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine
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