From Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change, to the establishment of the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants, to a landmark international climate agreement, 2015 has been full of major landmarks in national and global efforts to address global warming. Yet you wouldn't know it if you inhabited the parallel universe of the conservative media, where media figures went to ridiculous and outrageous lengths to dismiss or deny climate science, attack the pope, scientists, and anyone else concerned with climate change, and defend polluting fossil fuel companies. Here are the 15 most ridiculous things conservative media said about climate change in 2015.
A Wall Street Journal op-ed declared that the World Health Organization's (WHO) recent statement linking red and processed meats to cancer was not actually about protecting public health, but "about fighting global warming."
The November 9 op-ed, headlined "The Climate Agenda Behind the Bacon Scare," claimed WHO's announcement "seems particularly well timed" to coincide with upcoming United Nations climate negotiations, where nations hope to achieve an international agreement to act on global warming. The writers dismissed WHO's conclusions about cancer -- which were was based on an assessment of "more than 800 studies that investigated associations of more than a dozen types of cancer with the consumption of red meat or processed meat in many countries and populations with diverse diets" -- as "flimsy at best," and posited that its findings would be used by environmental activists or "doomsayers" who "want to take on modern agriculture" to reduce greenhouse gas-intensive meat consumption. The op-ed concluded: "In other words, meat is a double threat that governments should contain. Hang on to your T-bones and sausages, folks."
One of the op-ed writers, Jeff Stier, is described as head of the "risk analysis division" at the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR). NCPPR has been given at least $445,000 from ExxonMobil, and has received over $300,000 from DonorsTrust, a dark money group that receives large donations from groups connected to the oil billionaire Koch brothers.
NCPPR has extensively railed against climate change efforts, including attacking the CIA for providing climate data to scientists, making the false claim that Pope Francis' climate stance could hurt the poor, and urging Apple to end their environmental initiatives.
Stier is also listed as a health and scientific policy expert at the Heartland Institute, which is known for its annual climate denial conferences and has received over $700,000 from ExxonMobil. Julie Kelly -- the co-author of the Journal op-ed -- was listed as a food writer, but she is also a food policy adviser for Heartland, according to National Review.
Media coverage of the debt ceiling frequently claims that raising the limit without simultaneous spending cuts would give President Obama a "blank check," repeating a pattern of promoting this false narrative -- or failing to correct it -- that occurred during the unprecedented brinkmanship of 2011. The phrase implies that the debt ceiling governs additional spending desired by the White House, when in fact it is a restriction on the executive branch's ability to borrow money to pay for spending measures already enacted by Congress.