Hours after assuming office, President Joe Biden made good on several campaign promises to immediately address climate change. He reentered the United States into the Paris climate agreement and canceled the Keystone XL pipeline. He also nixed a recent Trump administration order to allow land development at key national monuments, including Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. In the coming days, the administration expects to begin the process of undoing some of the Trump administration’s most devastating environmental rollbacks.
These are small but important steps for the Biden administration to take on climate action. Rejoining the Paris accords is basically the bare minimum for climate action. While the agreement itself has not done enough yet to stop climate change, reentering it sends a message to the rest of the world that the U.S. is once again ready to join the global community in fighting climate change. This is also the view of Biden climate adviser Gina McCarthy, who stated that “We know rejoining [Paris] won't be enough, but along with strong domestic action, which this executive order kicks off, it is going to be an important step for the United States to regain and strengthen its leadership opportunities.” Additionally, cancelation of the Keystone pipeline “symbolizes a shift away from fossil fuels,” which is crucial, as the world needs to rapidly reduce fossil fuel emissions.
Despite these important (and popular) executive actions, Fox News promptly brought out the usual suspects to fearmonger about Biden’s actions and try to delay the necessary action needed to fight climate change.
Fox & Friends First invited climate denier Marc Morano to lie about climate impacts and energy independence
On the January 21 edition of Fox & Friends First, longtime Fox guest and climate denier Marc Morano bashed Biden’s decisions to rejoin the Paris accord and cancel the Keystone pipeline. He stated that UN climate agreements are about “wealth redistribution, sovereign-limiting treaties, and essentially using climate as a point to regulate society in other ways, and nothing to do with climate.”
He also states, without evidence, that these two actions will “hammer middle America” and devastate the economy. (Climate action will actually help U.S. businesses and jobs, while failure to act will devastate the economy to the tune of trillions of dollars.) He also repeated the misleading claim that the U.S. finally became energy independent under the Trump administration. The truth is, because oil is traded on a global market and the U.S. still indeed imports oil, it will always be susceptible to oil shocks and supply disruptions.
Later, on Fox & Friends, discredited contrarian Bjorn Lomborg downplayed the severity of the climate crisis
Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg has a long history of being spectacularly wrong about climate change, but nonetheless, he was invited on Fox News to discuss Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris accord and what it will mean for the U.S.
He stated that rejoining Paris will “cost a fortune and cut almost nothing, so basically achieve almost nothing to fix climate change.” He then downplayed both the severity of future climate impacts and the recent hurricane season.
Lomborg is once again chock-full of falsehoods. According to the London School of Economics, rejoining the Paris accords will actually “result in significant economic benefits for the United States,” while the growth of clean energy jobs is already surpassing fossil fuel jobs. He stated without evidence that global warming by 2070 will be “equivalent to each one of us being somewhere between 0.2 and 2% worse off.” Not noted is that by that same year, nearly 3 billion people are expected to be in “near un-liveable” heat conditions, and ecosystems could lose over one-third of their animal species. The world is on course for a 3 degree spike in global warming, which in several decades will lead to “even wider-ranging and more destructive climate impacts” than what we are seeing now.
Lomborg’s appearance followed a recent op-ed he wrote in the New York Post that argued against aggressive climate action. Since being discredited by the climate science community, Lomborg has generally been relegated to right-wing media outlets such as the Post and The Wall Street Journal, which, along with Fox News, happily embrace his insidious brand of lukewarm climate denial.
Expect these two segments to be representative of Fox’s future reactions to climate action
By bringing on discredited outcasts/right-wing media darlings Marc Morano and Bjorn Lomborg, Fox looks to continue its longstanding strategy of promoting climate falsehoods in order to delay climate action during the Biden presidency. We can expect that Fox News will throw the kitchen sink at delaying climate action, offering outright climate denial, lukewarm climate denial, and fearmongering about necessary climate action.