Both mainstream and conservative media outlets have responded to the recent spike in gasoline prices by circulating talking points rooted in politics rather than facts. As a whole, these claims reflect the misconception, perpetuated by the news media, that changes in U.S. energy policy are a major driver of oil and gasoline prices.
In his January 5 Wall Street Journal column, Pete du Pont used data from the U.K.'s Met Office Hadley Centre, which he misidentified as the "Hadley Climatic Research Unit," to suggest that climate change is not human-caused. In fact, according to the Met Office, "human activities like burning coal, oil and gas, have led to an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, causing an enhanced greenhouse effect and extra warming," and as a result, "over the past century there has been an underlying increase in average temperatures which is continuing" and "[g]lobally, the ten hottest years on record have all been since 1997."
From a January 5, 2010 Wall Street Journal column by Pete du Pont:
Al Gore said the other week that climate change is "a principle in physics. It's like gravity. It exists." Sarah Palin agreed that "climate change is like gravity," but added a better conclusion: Each is "a naturally occurring phenomenon that existed long before, and will exist long after, any governmental attempts to affect it."
Over time climates do change. As author Howard Bloom wrote in The Wall Street Journal last month, in the past two million years there have been 60 ice ages, and in the 120,000 years since the development of modern man, "we've lived through 20 sudden global warmings," and of course this was before--long before--"smokestacks and tail pipes."
In our earth's history there has been both global warming and global cooling. In Roman times, from 200 B.C. to A.D. 600, it was warm; from 600 to 900 came the cold Dark Ages; more warming from 900 to 1300; and another ice age from 1300 to 1850. Within the past century, the earth has warmed by 0.6 degree Celsius, but within this period we can see marked shifts: cooling (1900-10), warming (1910-40), cooling again (1940 to nearly 1980), and since then a little warming. The Hadley Climatic Research Unit global temperature record shows that from 1980 to 2009, the world warmed by 0.16 degree Celsius per decade.
In his OpinionJournal.com column, former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont wrote that "[t]ax rate reductions increase tax revenues. This truth has been proved at both state and federal levels, including by President Bush's 2003 tax cuts on income, capital gains and dividends." However, several former and current Bush administration economists have stated that tax cuts, including those passed under Bush, produce a net decrease in revenue.
In a June 21 column, former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont (R) used misleading statistics to claim that the United States could dramatically increase its domestic production of oil and natural gas. In addition, du Pont praised nuclear power for creating "clean energy" because it does not produce carbon dioxide emissions. Less than a month ago, du Pont attacked "global warming alarmists" for blaming increased global temperatures on higher carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.
On Fox News Live, anchor Bill Hemmer interviewed Wall Street Journal columnist and former Gov. Pete Du Pont (R-DE) about An Inconvenient Truth, a new documentary on former Vice President Al Gore's campaign to raise awareness of global warming. During the interview, Hemmer repeatedly characterized as "convincing" Du Pont's Journal column, which presented a series of assertions on global warming that misrepresent the underlying scientific research and relied on a misleading, industry-funded study on climate change to claim that the "truth about 'global warming' is much less dire than Al Gore wants you to think."
Wall Street Journal columnist Pete Du Pont claimed that carbon dioxide is "not a pollutant" and repeatedly cited a misleading, industry-funded study on climate change to prove that the "truth about 'global warming' is much less dire than Al Gore wants you to think." Similarly, Rush Limbaugh noted that the "Antarctica ice sheeting is actually increasing" as evidence that global warming theory is "unsupportable by facts."
Defending President Bush's domestic spying program in his January 17 column, Pete du Pont claimed that "the federal courts have consistently ruled that the constitution gives the president the authority ... to acquire foreign intelligence without warrants or other approvals." But, contrary to his suggestion, these federal court rulings do not address the legality of Bush's authorization of the National Security Agency to conduct warrantless domestic surveillance.