In a mystifying attempt to turn the tables on science itself, Fox News is trying to reclaim the term “climate deniers” to refer to people who accept the preponderance of evidence confirming manmade climate change and support action to limit its impacts.
On Friday's edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy promoted National Review Editor Rich Lowry's attempts to paint “advocates of limits on carbon emissions” as “deniers.” Doocy proclaimed that based on our carbon emissions “you would think it would be 900 degrees right now on planet Earth, but instead over the past 15 years or so, we have been flat temperature-wise”:
It's interesting that Lowry is now attempting to co-opt the term “climate deniers,” when in the past he condemned it as a way of equating climate “skeptics” with Holocaust deniers:
Climate alarmists conjured a world where nothing was certain but death, taxes and catastrophic global warming. They used this presumed scientific certainty as a bludgeon against the skeptics they deemed “deniers” -- a word meant to have the noxious whiff of Holocaust denial.
But advocating action is in no way denying science. Fox News is once again trying to obscure the long-term warming trend, driven by greenhouse gas emissions:
It is true, as Lowry points out, that scientists are continually examining just how much the climate will warm in response to our emissions, but those uncertainties are hardly a good excuse for inaction. After all, we know that scientific studies continue to indicate what they did in 2007: the amount that the Earth would warm in response to a doubling of carbon dioxide “is likely to be in the range 2°C to 4.5°C,” or about 3.5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit. This led the International Energy Agency to warn in 2011 that drastic actions needs to be taken in order to limit warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, as the Wall Street Journal reported:
Dangerous climate change will be essentially irreversible within a little over five years, the International Energy Agency said in an annual report urging governments to do what they can to prevent this outcome.
To prevent long-term average global temperatures rising more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels--seen as the maximum possible increase without serious climate disruption--immediate, drastic changes to energy and industrial policies are needed, the IEA said in its World Energy Outlook.
Such a shift looks unlikely given current global economic problems and the move away from low-carbon nuclear power in some countries after the recent nuclear disaster in Japan, the IEA said.
When Lowry mocks scientists for examining, for instance, how sulfur dioxide aerosols from coal may have a temporary cooling effect that is limiting current warming, he is misguided. We know these sulfur emissions have huge health impacts, which is why they have been curbed in the U.S. and why developing nations are beginning to cut back. We also know, as we did before, that coal plants will contribute more to global warming than any other energy source, so building more coal plants in order to temporarily delay global warming via emitting respiratory-disease-causing pollutants is nonsensical.