During their recent coverage of winter storms, Fox News has repeatedly mocked former Vice President Al Gore and cited the cold and snowy weather to attempt to discredit global warming. Fox News and other right-wing media routinely use snow to cast doubt on global warming, and internal emails from Fox News' Washington bureau show that in the past Fox employees have been instructed to question climate science.
Fox Uses Latest Snowstorm To Mock Gore, Climate Science
Doocy Asks: “I Wonder Where Al Gore Is This Morning?” On the January 27 broadcast of Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy reported from outside of Fox News' studios to show viewers how much snow fell in New York City during the previous evening's storm. During the segment, he asked, “I wonder where Al Gore is this morning?” He then added: “That global warming is really taking its toll. Isn't it?” [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 1/27/11]
Fox Chyron: “What Global Warming?” During one segment about the recent snowstorm, Fox & Friends aired an on-screen graphic that read, “What Global Warming?” [Fox & Friends, 1/27/11]
Doocy Mocks Gore In Front Of Dancing Polar Bear. During another segment on the heavy snowfall, Fox & Friends mocked global warming by having a man in a polar bear costume appear on the sidewalk behind host Steve Doocy, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and lei. Laughing, Doocy remarked “Somewhere, Al Gore's got to be giggling right now.” In response, co-host Brian Kilmeade added, “At least there's one polar bear left.” [Fox & Friends, 1/27/11]
Fox Nation: “Hey Gore...Obama Motorcade Caught In Snowstorm.” On January 27, Fox Nation linked to a Yahoo! News article titled, “Obama caught in Washington's wintry weather” with the headline, “Hey Gore...Obama Motorcade Caught In Snowstorm.” [The Fox Nation, 1/27/11; Yahoo! News, 01/26/10]
But Climate Scientists Say Storms, Short-Term Weather Patterns Have No Relevance To Global Warming
NASA Climatologist: “Weather Isn't Going To Go Away Because Of Climate Change.” A March 2008 New York Times article reported that 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 individual storms, bear any relevance to the global warming debate. From the article:
Many scientists also say that the cool spell in no way undermines the enormous body of evidence pointing to a warming world with disrupted weather patterns, less ice and rising seas should heat-trapping greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels and forests continue to accumulate in the air.
“The current downturn is not very unusual,'' said Carl Mears, a scientist at Remote Sensing Systems, a private research group in Santa Rosa, Calif., that has been using satellite data to track global temperature and whose findings have been held out as reliable by a variety of climate experts. He pointed to similar drops in 1988, 1991-92, and 1998, but with a long-term warming trend clear nonetheless.
Some scientists who strongly disagree with each other on the extent of warming coming in this century, and on what to do about it, agreed that it was important not to be tempted to overinterpret short-term swings in climate, either hot or cold.
Patrick J. Michaels, a climatologist and commentator with the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, has long chided environmentalists and the media for overstating connections between extreme weather and human-caused warming. (He is on the program at the skeptics' conference.)
But Dr. Michaels said that those now trumpeting global cooling should beware of doing the same thing, saying that the ''predictable distortion'' of extreme weather ''goes in both directions.''
Gavin A. Schmidt, a climatologist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan who has spoken out about the need to reduce greenhouse gases, disagrees with Dr. Michaels on many issues, but concurred on this point.'
”When I get called by CNN to comment on a big summer storm or a drought or something, I give the same answer I give a guy who asks about a blizzard,'' Dr. Schmidt said. ''It's all in the long-term trends. Weather isn't going to go away because of climate change. There is this desire to explain everything that we see in terms of something you think you understand, whether that's the next ice age coming or global warming.'' [The New York Times, 3/2/08]
WMO, NASA Confirm 2010 Was Warmest Year On Record, Earth Warmed From 2000-09
WMO: 2010 “Warmest Year On Record, Together With 2005 and 1998.” On January 20, 2011, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that data showed that 2010 ranked as the warmest year on record, along with 2005 and 1998. WMO also reported that "[a]rctic sea-ice cover in December 2010 was the lowest on record." From the January 20 press release:
The year 2010 ranked as the warmest year on record, together with 2005 and 1998, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Data received by the WMO show no statistically significant difference between global temperatures in 2010, 2005 and 1998.
In 2010, global average temperature was 0.53°C (0.95°F) above the 1961-90 mean. This value is 0.01°C (0.02°F) above the nominal temperature in 2005, and 0.02°C (0.05°F) above 1998. The difference between the three years is less than the margin of uncertainty (± 0.09°C or ± 0.16°F) in comparing the data.
These statistics are based on data sets maintained by the UK Meteorological Office Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit (HadCRU), the U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Arctic sea-ice cover in December 2010 was the lowest on record, with an average monthly extent of 12 million square kilometres, 1.35 million square kilometres below the 1979-2000 average for December. This follows the third-lowest minimum ice extent recorded in September.
“The 2010 data confirm the Earth's significant long-term warming trend,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998.” [World Meteorological Organization, 1/20/11]
NASA: 2010 Hottest Year On Record. In December 2010, the Washington Post's Post Carbon blog reported that NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies had released data showing that 2010 was the hottest climate year on record. [Washington Post, 12/10/10]
2000-2009 Warmest Decade On Record. In January, major meteorological organizations throughout the world -- including NASA -- released reports showing that the past decade, 2000-2009, was the warmest on record. The reports undermine the right-wing media's numerous claims that recent snow and cold weather show climate change does not exist or has slowed over the past 10 years. [Media Matters, 1/25/10]
Fox's Sammon Ordered Reporters To Cast Doubt On Climate Science
Fox Boss Ordered Staff To Cast Doubt On Climate Science. In the midst of global climate change talks in Copenhagen in December 2009, Fox News' Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon sent an email to Fox staff questioning the “veracity of climate change data” and ordering the network's journalists to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.” [Media Matters, 12/15/10]
Indeed, Fox Recently Tried And Failed To Debunk Fact That Global Temperatures Have Increased In Recent Decades. In an article titled, “Five Reasons the Planet May Not Be Its Hottest Ever,” FoxNews.com sought to debunk the fact that global temperatures have increased over the past 30 years, as well as the notion that human activity has contributed to the warming. But in compiling a handful of contrarian arguments, Fox largely ignored climate science and botched basic facts; even one of the skeptics Fox cited said part of the article “does not make sense.” [Media Matters, 1/27/11]
Right-wing Media Routinely Use Snow, Cold Weather To Claim Global Warming Isn't Happening
Beck Frequently Tries To Claim Winter Weather Debunks Global Warming. On his January 25 radio show, Glenn Beck suggested that cold weather and snow mean that global warming isn't happening, saying during a discussion of a NASA website on climate change, “By the way, has anybody noticed the record temperatures and continual driving snow in Manhattan?” Beck has also used January snowstorms to mock Al Gore, saying on the January 14 edition of his radio show, “Al Gore, you suck for being so wrong.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 1/25/11, 1/14/11]
Fox Nation Falsely Suggests January Snow Disproves Global Warming. On January 11, Fox Nation linked to a story about high amounts of snow in the U.S. with the headline, “Someone Tell Gore it's Snowing in 49 States Today, Including Hawaii.” [Fox Nation, 1/11/11]
Right-Wing Media Cite December 2010 Snowstorm To Mock Global Warming. Glenn Beck, Fox Nation, and right-wing blogger Jim Hoft all used the December 2010 snowstorm and the collapse of the roof of Minnesota Vikings' football stadium to mock Gore and claim that global warming isn't happening. [Media Matters, 12/13/11]
Wash Times Uses Cold Weather In December To Call Global Warming A “Hoax.” In a December 13 editorial, The Washington Times cited recent snow and cold temperatures to call global warming a “hoax.” [The Washington Times 12/13/10]
Right-wing Media Use DC Snowstorms To Attack Gore And Climate Science. Following a February 2010 snowstorm in Washington, DC, right-wing media across the board mocked Al Gore and tried to attack climate science by pointing to the snowfall. Fox Nation and Fox News personalities Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Gretchen Carlson, Steve Doocy, Stuart Varney, and Eric Bolling all used the DC snowstorm to attack Gore or the science supporting global warming, as did Rush Limbaugh and The Washington Times. The New York Post used the snowstorm to suggest that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) was correct in saying that the snow “must be a sign from God” about the existence of global warming. [Media Matters, 2/10/10]