10 Dumbest Things Fox Said About Climate Change In 2012

In contrast to official temperature records showing a consistent warming trend, Fox Business reporters have claimed that the “temperature basically hasn't changed much since the ice age” and that it's actually “getting colder.” Fox News figures have also denied the scientific consensus that human activity is driving climate change, claiming that carbon dioxide “literally cannot cause global warming” and suggesting that “Mars wobbles” or “wind farms” may be causing it instead. Those are just some of the 10 dumbest things Fox News, Fox Business and their websites said about climate change in 2012:

1. Fox Reporter: “The Temperature Basically Hasn't Changed Much Since The Ice Age.” During the Ice Age, much of North America, northern Europe and southern South America were covered with ice sheets. Natural climate cycles led to the end of the Ice Age tens of thousands of years ago. In the last century, temperatures have increased dramatically as a result of our massive emissions of greenhouse gases. Yet Fox Business reporter Tracy Byrnes claimed in March that “the temperature basically hasn't changed much since the Ice Age,” before confusing global warming with the depletion of the ozone layer:

2. During Record-Breaking Heat, Fox Anchor Claims “It's Getting Colder.” During the third warmest summer on record in the U.S., David Asman, who hosts shows on both Fox News and Fox Business, claimed “it's getting colder”:

3. Fox “Expert”: Carbon Dioxide “Literally Cannot Cause Global Warming.” Joe Bastardi is a meteorologist that is often presented as a climate change expert on Fox News, even though he has no climate science training. Bill O'Reilly has cited Bastardi as the reason that he is “skeptical” about global warming, but scientists have called Bastardi's statements “completely wrong,” “simply ignorant,” and “utter nonsense.” In March, Bastardi attempted to "throw out 150 years of physics" by dismissing the greenhouse effect -- the reason there is life on Earth -- as impossible. Bastardi stated on Fox Business that carbon dioxide (CO2) “literally” -- yes, literally -- “cannot cause global warming” because it doesn't “mix well in the atmosphere.” But physicist Richard Muller told Media Matters that CO2 is actually “completely mixed.”

4. Fox Reporter: “Mars Wobbles” May Be Causing Climate Change. Elizabeth MacDonald, a Fox Business reporter who often appears on Fox News, incorrectly said in November that “there's no consensus on what's causing climate change, and asked “is it solar flares? Is it the Mars wobbles? Is it the earth's axis tilting in a different way? I mean, that's the issue.” After being subject to mockery, she tried to walk back her comments saying she doesn't “think Mars wobbles cause hurricanes,” but did not explain her previous comments.

5. Fox Website: “Wind Farms Cause Global Warming.” In April, a study found that nighttime temperatures in areas around Texas wind farms were higher than in areas without wind turbines. Fox Nation, a section of FoxNews.com, linked to a story about the study with a headline declaring that wind farms “cause global warming.” But the study's authors called this coverage “misleading,” explaining that it is "[v]ery likely" that “wind turbines do not create a net warming of the air and instead only re-distribute the air's heat near the surface, which is fundamentally different from the large-scale warming effect caused by increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.”

6. Instead Of Scientists, Fox Turns To Mark Levin And A Coal Miner To Say “CO's What Make Plants Grow.” During an hour-long special on the “green agenda” hosted by anchor Bret Baier, Fox News did not interview a single scientist. Instead they turned to right-wing radio host Mark Levin, who denied that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that should be regulated, saying: “Carbon dioxide is what we exhale. Carbon dioxide is necessary for plants.” Fox later aired video of coal miner Robert “Buz” Hilberry echoing this, saying: “I'm no scientist but CO's what make plants grow and what make you breathe, so they're trying to choke us all out by stopping the burning of coal.” At no point did Fox clarify that it's the unusually high amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide that has scientists concerned, or acknowledge the scientific consensus:

7. Fox Contributor: There Are “Hundreds Of Thousands” Of Scientists “On Both Sides Debating” Global Warming. National Review Online's Deroy Murdock, a Fox News contributor, argued that NASA shouldn't explain the facts about global warming because the science is still up for debate, claiming “there are scientists on both sides -- there are hundreds of thousands on both sides debating” the causes of global warming. But even climate change contrarians don't claim to have that many scientists on their side. They often promote the Oregon Petition, which has been signed by less than 32,000 “scientists” who don't believe there will be “catastrophic” global warming. The petition includes only 39 climatologists and defines as a “scientist” anyone who claims to have a bachelor's degree in fields ranging from math to engineering. Credible surveys have found that the vast majority of climate scientists agree that human activity is driving global warming and less than one percent of peer-reviewed climate articles over the last two decades have rejected manmade causes.

8. Fox Reporter: Global Warming Advocates “Never” Cite A “Consensus Of Scientists.” On Fox News, Fox Business reporter Sandra Smith said that the problem with global warming activists is that they always cite “one scientist, it's never a collection of scientists, it's never a consensus of scientists.” After Fox News contributor Adam Lashinksy corrected her, Smith responded, “Adam, just so you know, the consensus has not been met among scientists on this issue. Or that CO2 actually plays a part in this global warming phenomenon as they've come up with somehow.” In fact, survey after survey has shown that the vast majority of climate scientists agree that greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change, while those trying to downplay global warming often resort to citing a single scientist if any. But Smith thought that she had hit on a good point during that December 1 appearance, and repeated it on a later Fox News show, saying “still to this day, there is not a consensus among scientists. If you ever hear the President or his administration, they typically cite a scientist when they're making a point, rather than a consensus of scientists.”

9. Fox Website: “Global Warming Means More Arctic Ice.” In October, the Associated Press reported that, contrary to conservative media misinformation, slight Antarctic sea ice growth is consistent with climate scientists' projections for a warming planet. Fox Nation posted the story with the headline “AP: Global Warming Means More Arctic Ice.” In fact, Arctic sea ice had just experienced the lowest minimum extent ever observed, a key indicator of rapid climate change.

10. Fox Declares “Global Warming Over” Based On A Tabloid Report. In October, Fox & Friends featured on-screen text declaring “Global Warming Over” based on a report by the UK tabloid The Daily Mail. But the UK's official Meteorological Office said that the article was “misleading” because it focused on a short period, obscuring that 2000 to 2009 was the warmest decade on record.