With Climate Change Announcement Pending, Conservative Media Retreat To Denial

››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL & MAX GREENBERG

In anticipation of President Barack Obama's announcement of measures to reduce carbon emissions, conservative media outlets are once again attempting to cast doubt on the science behind climate change. But despite their claims, a substantial majority of scientists acknowledge the evidence that the earth is warming largely due to human activity.

Vast Majority Of Climate Scientists Acknowledge Manmade Climate Change

Study: 97 Percent Of Peer-Reviewed Scientific Literature Acknowledges Manmade Climate Change. A peer-reviewed paper published at Environmental Research Letters found that the vast majority of the scientific literature that stated a position on climate change acknowledged that human activity is driving it:

We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11 944 climate abstracts from 1991-2011 matching the topics 'global climate change' or 'global warming'. We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. [Environmental Research Letters, 5/15/13]

 The Consensus Project created the following graphic based on these results:

Consensus Project[The Consensus Project, accessed 6/24/13]

Survey: 97 Percent Of Active Climate Scientists Agree "Significant" Manmade Warming Is Occurring. A 2009 survey published by the American Geophysical Union asked 3,000 Earth scientists whether "compared with pre-1800s levels ... mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant" and whether "human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures." Ninety percent said "risen" to the first question and 82 percent said "yes" to the second. Of those that specialize in climate science, 97 percent said human activity was a "significant" contributor to rising temperatures:

Results show that overall, 90% of participants answered "risen" to question 1 and 82% answered yes to question 2. In general, as the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement with the two primary questions (Figure 1). In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered "risen" to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2.

The article included the following graphic contrasting this consensus to public opinion:

American Geophysical Union

[Eos, American Geophysical Union, 1/20/09]

Review: 97 To 98 Percent Of Most Actively Publishing Climate Researchers Agree Majority Of Warming Is Manmade. From a review of researchers' agreement with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's conclusion that "'most' of the 'unequivocal' warming of the Earth's average global temperature over the second half of the 20th century" is from manmade greenhouse gases, as published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal:

Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97-98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC [anthropogenic climate change] outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers. [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 4/9/10]

Survey: 84 Percent Of Scientists Acknowledge Warming Mostly From Human Activity. From Pew Research Center, based on a survey of 2,533 members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International:

About half of the general public (49%) says the earth is getting warmer "mostly because of human activity, such as burning fossil fuels," while 36% say warming is occurring "mostly because of natural changes in the atmosphere." About one-in-ten (11%) say "there is no solid evidence that the earth is getting warmer."

By contrast, 84% of scientists say the earth is warming because of human activity. Scientists also are far more likely than the public to regard global warming as a very serious problem: 70% express this view, compared with 47% of the public. [Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 7/9/09]

Nearly 200 Scientific Organizations Acknowledge Human-Caused Warming. NASA states that "most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing" manmade climate change, including "nearly 200 worldwide scientific organizations." [National Aeronautics and Space Administration, accessed 6/24/13]

Survey: 84 Percent Of Climate Scientists Say Public Should Be Told To Be Worried About Climate Change. Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch of Germany's Institute for Coastal Research conducted an international survey of climate scientists in 2008 and asked, "How convinced are you that most of recent or near future climate change is, or will be, a result of anthropogenic causes?" Eighty-four percent answered either 5, 6 or 7 on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 7 (very much), as a 2010 report on the survey noted. The scientists were also asked, "Over the issue of climate change, the general public should be told to be" unconcerned (1) or very worried (7). Eighty-four percent answered 5, 6, or 7. Only 5 percent answered 1, 2, or 3 as can be seen by this chart showing the percentage of climate scientists for each response:

Institute for Coastal Research

[Helmholtz Gemeinschaft, 9/15/10]

Obama Set To Announce He Will Act On Climate Change

Obama To Announce Tuesday A Plan To Reduce The Carbon Emissions Driving Climate Change. Reuters reported:

President Barack Obama said on Saturday that he will outline a climate change plan on Tuesday centered around reducing pollution from carbon emissions as he attempts to make good on a pledge for his second term.

"This Tuesday, I'll lay out my vision for where I believe we need to go - a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change and lead global efforts to fight it," he said in a White House video. [Reuters, 6/23/13]

Conservative Media React By Denying Climate Science

Ben Stein: Despite What "Global Warming Terrorists Will Tell Us, The Science Is Not Clear On" Climate Change. On Saturday, frequent Fox News guest Ben Stein stated:

CHARLES PAYNE: You know, Ben, it -- it just seems really tough that we would all be asked to pay so much higher in electricity costs at a time when the country is still trying to struggle out of this abyss that it's in.

BEN STEIN: Well, there is no cost that is too high to pay to save the Earth. The real problem is, do we really know that this is hurting the Earth? The science is not a hundred percent unanimous, despite what the global warming skeptics and terrorists will tell us, or global warming terrorists will tell us, the science is not clear on this. I just don't think we should be going all out on this until the science is completely clear. [Fox News, Cavuto on Business, 6/22/13]

Wash. Times Accuses Scientists Of "Data Manipulation." From The Washington Times' Water Cooler blog:

There's been so much stormy weather around the White House in recent weeks that it's no wonder that President Obama has heeded the radar and returned to the familiar, vapid region of climate change.

[...]

What's missing so far is any authentic discussion of the flawed science and data manipulation that has gone into much climate warming reasoning. The jury is still out of whether mankind or cow-emitted methane has caused either the rising or falling of the planet's temperature. [The Washington Times, 6/23/13]

Paul Driessen: Science Behind Endangerment Finding Is "Manufactured, Manipulated And Even Fraudulent." From a Washington Times op-ed by Paul Driessen:

However, the global-warming "disasters" exist only in computer models and assertions by scientists who are addicted to billions of dollars in government climate-Armageddon grants. Moreover, the "preventative measures" are far worse than the disasters EPA claims to be preventing.

[...]

[A]s Climategate and numerous studies have shown, the "science" behind the EPA's ruling that carbon dioxide "endangers" human health and welfare is conjectural, manufactured, manipulated and even fraudulent. [The Washington Times6/24/13]

  • Five Investigations Into "Climategate" Cleared Scientists Of Falsifying Data. Contrary to misinformation pushed around hacked emails publicized during the so-called "Climategate" controversy, five separate investigations have cleared the scientists involved of falsifying data. FoxNews.com touted one of those reviews, by the National Science Foundation, as having the "final say" in the matter. The review cleared Penn State scientist Michael Mann of scientific misconduct. [Media Matters, 8/30/11]  [Media Matters, 8/8/11]

Forbes' Basile: Current Climate Change Is Once Again Natural. From a Forbes column by Thomas J. Basile:

Like his views on nuclear disarmament, Obama's Climate Change rhetoric reflects his willingness to drive an agenda that will put America at a global disadvantage.

Look, I don't have a problem if you believe that Climate Change exists. It does. It has existed since time began. Climate cycles have been thoroughly catalogued in the annals of human history and they existed long before man put pen to paper to chisel stone. [Forbes, 6/24/13]

IBD: "There's No Global Warming Dragon To Slay." From Investor's Business Daily:

Apparently President Obama will announce yet another set of policies next month aimed at mitigating global warming. But why? The enemy he promises to fight simply doesn't exist.

[...]

There's no global warming dragon to slay. It has been as much a myth as any fire-breathing lizard from a children's book. A world that was supposed to be sick with a human-induced fever has gone 17 years and four months without any statistically significant warming.

As noted skeptic Christopher Monckton wrote last week on the wattsupwiththat blog, "There has been no global warming statistically distinguishable from zero for getting on for two decades." [Investor's Business Daily, 6/17/13]

  • Science Examines Longer-Term Trend. Cherry-picking short time periods can obscure the long-term upward trend in global temperatures, and the substantial warming that has gone into the oceans. [Media Matters, 10/15/12]

Donald Trump Dismisses Climate Change By Pointing To Magazine Covers. Frequent Fox News guest Donald Trump dismissed climate change on Fox & Friends Monday by saying that magazine covers previously declared that there would be global cooling:

DONALD TRUMP: The great global warming debate, you know. You know, in the 1920's magazine covers had a very, very scary phenomenon, you know what it was called, it was called global cooling. The planet was cooling, you know, the waves theory, right? The planet was severely cooling and everybody was worried about global cooling. Now it's global warming. No, we have bigger problems, believe me. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/24/13]

  • Magazine Covers Did Not Represent Scientific Consensus. A review published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society concluded that despite some magazine covers in the 1970s,  "[t]here was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age" and that "emphasis on greenhouse warming dominated the scientific literature even then." [Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, September 2008]
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