Continuing its pattern of misinforming about climate change and about emails reportedly stolen from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (CRU), on December 8, Fox & Friends hosted Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) to attack the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its recent announcement that it will regulate carbon dioxide. Inhofe linked the EPA's announcement to “climate-gate” and claimed without challenge that EPA's decision --which co-host Steve Doocy initially described as a “sneaky way” to regulate carbon dioxide-- is “totally based on [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] IPCC science which is what has been debunked now, officially.”
FACT: Scientists say the illegally obtained emails do not undermine climate change science
Nature: “Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real.” A December 2 editorial in the science journal Nature stated: “Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real -- or that human activities are almost certainly the cause. That case is supported by multiple, robust lines of evidence, including several that are completely independent of the climate reconstructions debated in the e-mails.” Also from the editorial:
The stolen e-mails have prompted queries about whether Nature will investigate some of the researchers' own papers. One e-mail talked of displaying the data using a 'trick' -- slang for a clever (and legitimate) technique, but a word that denialists have used to accuse the researchers of fabricating their results. It is Nature's policy to investigate such matters if there are substantive reasons for concern, but nothing we have seen so far in the e-mails qualifies.
AMS: Impact on climate change science of emails “very limited.” Following the release of the reportedly stolen emails, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) reaffirmed its Statement on Climate Change, stating that it “is based on a robust body of research reported in the peer-reviewed literature.” AMS further stated: “For climate change research, the body of research in the literature is very large and the dependence on any one set of research results to the comprehensive understanding of the climate system is very, very small. Even if some of the charges of improper behavior in this particular case turn out to be true -- which is not yet clearly the case -- the impact on the science of climate change would be very limited.”
UCS: “The e-mails provide no information that would affect the scientific understanding of climate change.” The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has stated that "[t]he e-mails provide no information that would affect the scientific understanding of climate change, as many contrarians are falsely claiming. For years, thousands of scientists working at climate research centers around the world have carefully and rigorously reached a consensus on the extent of climate change, the urgency of the problem, and the role human activity plays in causing it." UCS further stated: “The findings of the USGCRP, IPCC and other scientific bodies are based on the work of thousands of scientists from hundreds of research institutions. The University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) is just one among many such research institutions. Even without data from CRU, there is still an overwhelming body of evidence that human activity triggering dangerous levels of global warming.”
Peter Kelemen: "[A]lleged problems with a few scientists' behavior do not change the consensus understanding of human-induced, global climate change." Kelemen, a professor of geochemistry at Columbia University's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, wrote that “I think it is important for scientists to clearly state that if basic data were withheld, or if there was unprofessional tampering with the peer-review process, we do not condone these acts. It is equally essential to emphasize that alleged problems with a few scientists' behavior do not change the consensus understanding of human-induced, global climate change, which is a robust hypothesis based on well-established observations and inferences.” Kelemen further wrote: “Outspoken critics often portray climate science as a house of cards, built on a shaky edifice of limited data and broad suppositions. However, it's more realistic to think of the science as a deck of cards, spread out, face up. Some data and interpretations of those data are more certain than others, of course. But pulling out one or two interpretations, or the results of a few scientists, does not change the overall picture. Take away two or three cards, and there are still 49 or 50 cards facing you.”
NASA's Gavin Schmidt: “There's nothing in the e-mails that shows that global warming is a hoax.” Wired's Threat Level blog reported on November 20 that Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said: “There's nothing in the e-mails that shows that global warming is a hoax. ... There's no funding by nefarious groups. There's no politics in any of these things; nobody from the [United Nations] telling people what to do. There's nothing hidden, no manipulation. It's just scientists talking about science, and they're talking relatively openly as people in private e-mails generally are freer with their thoughts than they would be in a public forum. The few quotes that are being pulled out [are out] of context. People are using language used in science and interpreting it in a completely different way.” Schmidt is a contributor to the Real Climate blog, which has stated that some of the stolen CRU emails “involve people” at Real Climate.
FACT: Thousands of scientists contribute to IPCC reports, not just CRU scientists
Distortions of illegally obtained documents from one group of scientists do not undermine overwhelming consensus. In a statement on the reported theft of the emails, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations' IPCC, stated that “no individual or small group of scientists is in a position to exclude a peer-reviewed paper from an I.P.C.C. assessment.” From Pachauri's statement:
In summary, no individual or small group of scientists is in a position to exclude a peer-reviewed paper from an I.P.C.C. assessment. Likewise, individuals and small groups have no ability to emphasize a result that is not consistent with a range of studies, investigations, and approaches. Every layer in the process (including large author teams, extensive review, independent monitoring of review compliance, and plenary approval by governments) plays a major role in keeping I.P.C.C. assessments comprehensive, unbiased, open to the identification of new literature, and policy relevant but not policy prescriptive.
The unfortunate incident that has taken place through illegal hacking of the private communications of individual scientists only highlights the importance of I.P.C.C. procedures and practices and the thoroughness by which the Panel carries out its assessment. This thoroughness and the duration of the process followed in every assessment ensure the elimination of any possibility of omissions or distortions, intentional or accidental.
IPCC: “Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis.” The IPCC, which is a scientific body established by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization, has established that "[w]arming of the climate system is unequivocal." The IPCC “reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide,” and its reports are the product of contributions from "[t]housands of scientists from all over the world."
Fox & Friends coverage of CRU emails disregards facts, context
Fox & Friends claims emails “prove” that scientists are “fudging,” “doctoring” numbers. Fox & Friends hosts Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, and Gretchen Carlson have repeatedly advanced the right wing's distortion of emails reportedly stolen from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (CRU) by hyping a litany of falsehoods that climate skeptics have propagated about the emails without any regard for facts or context. In fact, despite the hosts' claims, the content of the emails do not “prove” the scientists doctored or destroyed data, nor do they undermine the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activities are causing global climate change.