Fox's Oil Man Eric Bolling: Short On Science, Long On Climate Misinformation
Research ››› ››› SOLANGE UWIMANA
Fox's purported business expert Eric Bolling routinely advances falsehoods about climate change, airing views and hosting guests that reinforce skeptics' claims that global warming "is just a big scam." Bolling, "once one of the biggest individual traders of oil and energy futures," also regularly pushes offshore drilling on-air.
Bolling Was A Major Oil And Energy Trader
NJ Star-Ledger: "At His Peak," Bolling "Accounted For 5 Percent Of The Daily Trading" On Oil And Energy Futures. In a June 2008 profile of Bolling, The Star-Ledger of Newark, New Jersey, followed Bolling for an entire day of trading, reporting: "Once one of the biggest individual traders of oil and energy futures on Nymex [New York Mercantile Exchange] -- at his peak, he says, he accounted for 5 percent of the daily trading -- he has scaled back. Much of his money is now invested in shares of energy companies. A good amount of the consummate trader's money is now in cash." [The Star-Ledger, 6/29/08]
Trader Daily: Bolling Was Touted As One Of 100 Top Industry Players. According to the Trader Daily website, Bolling was "an extremely successful commodities trader" and "was a regular" on the now-defunct Trader Monthly magazine's annual " 'Trader 100' list of top industry players." [Trader Daily, 1/19/11]
According to Fox Business, Bolling Still "Trades Equities, Options And Derivatives," And Is A Member Of Several Exchanges. From Bolling's Fox Business biography:
He has recently served as an independent trader based out of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the world's largest trading center for energy. He specialized in trading a variety of commodities such as crude oil, gold and agricultural commodities. He served on the NYMEX's Board of Directors for five years, and subsequently acted as a strategic advisor there.
Bolling actively trades equities, options and derivatives and is a member of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the NYMEX and the Commodities Exchange of New York. [Fox Business, accessed on 2/8/11]
Bolling: "Oil May Be The Only Viable World Currency, Not The Dollar Nor The Chinese Yuan." During a recent interview with the Trader Daily website, Bolling was asked, "If you were going to start out as a trader today, would you start out in oil futures, as you did the first time around?" He replied: "Oil/energy. It is the lifeblood of our economy and the world's economy. In fact, oil may be the only viable world currency, not the dollar nor the Chinese yuan. So, yes -- I would start and end in energy." [Trader Daily, 1/19/11]
Bolling Frequently Uses Fox Platform To Push For More Drilling
Bolling: "Why Shouldn't We Be Drilling Our Own Crude Oil?" Discussing the Egypt protests and what it means for airlines' bottom line, Bolling stated that airlines are "very sensitive to price -- fuel price spikes. And the problem is ... we are sensitive. America is sensitive to fuel price spikes -- all fuels, except for one, natural gas, because we drill it here. We have enough here." He then asked: "So why shouldn't we be drilling our own crude oil?" He later added that the United States has "plenty of oil right here." [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 2/3/11]
Bolling Guest Bo Dietl: "Let's Drill. Let's Drill Up This ANWAR. Let's Get Our Own Self-Containment Deal." Bolling hosted Fox News contributor Bo Dietl, a former New York City Police Department detective, to discuss the unrest in Egypt and what it meant for fuel prices. Dietl advocated for drilling to counter the high fuel prices, saying: "You have ANWAR. You have -- you could do the horizontal drilling. You could do all kinds of things. There are technologies. We have a lot of oil here. We have to stop begging for ourselves in the Middle East. And that's exactly what we're doing every time there's something happening: 'Please, Mr. Arab. Please don't take our oil away.' I'm sick and tired of doing it. Let's drill. Let's drill up this ANWAR. Let's get our own self-containment deal." [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 2/3/11]
Bolling Suggests The "Solution" To High Oil Prices Is "Drill Baby Drill." In a post on his Twitter feed, Bolling wrote: "Gov. [Sean] Parnell of Alaska knows what the solution to high oil prices... drill baby drill":
Bolling: "With World Oil Prices Surging ... Shouldn't We Be Drilling Here, Now???" In a post on Facebook announcing Parnell as his guest, Bolling wrote: "We have Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell tonight... with world oil prices surging on Middle East rioting... shouldn't we be drilling here, now???" [Facebook, 1/28/11]
Bolling: "Drill Here, Drill Now ... Drill, Baby, Drill." In the wake of the BP oil spill, Bolling responded by calling for a continuation of offshore drilling, suggesting that the "six-dollar, seven-dollar diesel fuel" is "more harmful" for fishermen than the oil spill. He said: "We need to drill here, drill now, and hey, drill, baby, drill." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 4/30/10]
Bolling Uses Egyptian Unrest To Shill For More Oil Drilling. After noting that the wholesale price of gasoline had jumped in the wake of protests in Egypt, Bolling stated that the United States could replicate what he claimed happened in July 2008, when then-President Bush removed the moratorium on offshore drilling, saying, "Within six months, oil went to $33 a barrel." He then asked: "The thought of being able to drill more, what would that do to the price of oil?" Former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister replied that the United States should be producing its own oil to alleviate world demand. Bolling concluded: "My point was, it didn't matter if there's protesting in the streets. If -- it affects the price of gas and oil if there is. It didn't matter to natural gas, with the protesting, because we produce the natural gas that we use right here in America. Isn't that a case for drilling our own oil, not natural gas, but oil?" [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/2/11]
Bolling Guest: "We're Shutting Down Drilling In Our Own Gulf Of Mexico? This Is Absurd." Discussing how "scared" he was if the flow of oil from the Middle East were to be disrupted, Bolling asked Hofmeister to tell viewers "how important that Middle Eastern -- those two chokepoints, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Hormuz" are and "keeping flow oil through there is." Hofmeister replied: "We've known for decades how vulnerable we are, Eric, to these chokepoints. And there have been all kinds of scenarios and games played out in terms of what might happen. We use as a world 85 million barrels a day. The United States uses 20 million barrels a day, every day -- 10,000 gallons a second. And we're shutting down drilling in our own Gulf of Mexico? This is absurd." [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/2/11]
Bolling Hosted Guest With Energy Ties To Argue Against Oil Drilling Moratorium. On his Fox Business show, Bolling let former Sen. George Allen argue against the oil drilling moratorium and the "cap-and-trade scheme" for eight long minutes, failing to disclose that Allen's organization has received backing from the oil industry and that his political strategies company says it provides "lobbying counsel, consulting and strategic advice on a range of issues including energy." [Fox Business, Money Rocks, 6/24/10]
Bolling: China Is "Probably Drilling Offshore" And Taking Oil That "Could And Should Be Helping Our Situation." On Fox News' Your World, Bolling asserted that, according to offshore oil "drillers" with whom he had spoken, "China was probably drilling offshore, very close to our shore through Cuba, and taking some of that oil that -- that honestly could -- could and should be helping our situation." He also advanced the claim from oil and drilling companies that it would take less than 10 years to retrieve oil from offshore sites, adding, "some said up as close as one year." [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 7/1/08]
Bolling: Did Obama "Let" BP Oil Leak So He "Could Renege On His Promise" To "Allow Some Offshore Drilling?" On Fox Business' Happy Hour, Bolling invented a conspiracy theory about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, asking guest Alan Colmes: "Are you sure they didn't let [the oil spill] leak so he could renege on his promise to allow some offshore drilling?" Colmes replied: "Oh, that's what -- it's a big conspiracy. Hey, there's a black helicopter. Yeah, it's all about reneging on a permit, that's right." [Fox Business, Happy Hour, 5/27/10]
Bolling Wondered If Oil Leak Was An Act Of Sabotage "To Try And Pull Drilling." Discussing the oil spill, Bolling stated: "The question is, did they let this thing leak? I mean, BP said maybe a thousand barrels a day, it went to five thousand. Did they let it leak a little bit and say, boy I don't know. The conspiracy theorists would say, 'Maybe they'd let it leak for a while, and then they addressed the issue.' " Bolling added: "That would be a humongous accusation and probably the net result would be no different, but if they're going to try and pull drilling, that may be the way they do it." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/3/10]
Bolling: "Blizzard Versus Global Warming. Who Do You Believe: Al Gore Or Your Freezing Butt?" On his Fox Business show, teasing an upcoming segment on energy policy, Bolling asked: "Blizzard versus global warming. Who do you believe: Al Gore or your freezing butt?" He later stated: "A massive storm just swept through the country, so it's a great time to start talking about what? Global warming." [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 2/2/11]
Bolling: Warming Of The Earth Is "Disputed." On his show, Bolling called into question the science behind climate change, saying that the "basis for the argument on global warming or climate change" is "up for debate." Bolling added: "This is just a big scam." From the show:
BOLLING: Garland, where do you stand? I mean...
GARLAND NIXON (radio talk host): Well, there are three things that are not in dispute amongst -- throughout the scientific community, No. 1, the surface temperature of the earth is rising.
NIXON: OK, No, 2, that it is caused by the CO2 gases...
BOLLING: Also disputed.
NIXON: And No. 3, that the CO2 gasses are primarily caused by -- the rise in CO2 gasses are primarily caused by burning fossil fuels. It may be disputed, but if 99 people say something and one person disputes it...
BOLLING: ...are disputed and all three of them happen to be, you know, the basis for the argument on global warming or climate change and all three of them are up for debate.
NIXON: I said within the scientific community.
BOLLING: I will tell you unequivocally, I remember this, "Newsweek," the cover of "Newsweek" magazine saying, the impending, the coming ice age, because temperatures were going down. What about it? This is just a big scam. [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 1/10/11, via Nexis]
Bolling Mocked Global Warming. In a post on his Twitter feed, Bolling mocked global warming, writing: "Global Warming.hahaha. Yesterday....Houston first snow earliest on record and its snowing here right now!" [Twitter, 12/1/09]
Bolling: Snow "Breaking Al Gore's Heart Because" It's "Burying His Global Warming Theory." On Fox News' Your World, Bolling stated: "The mid-Atlantic region on the verge of breaking all-time records for snowfall, up to 16 inches already falling in parts of Maryland, and it's not just the Northeast. Sixty-three percent of the country is now covered in snow and it's breaking Al Gore's heart because the snow is also burying his global warming theory." [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 2/10/10]
Bolling Falsely Suggested Snow Disproves Global Warming. On Fox & Friends, referring to the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Bolling stated: "I think, a couple of years ago, they were in Washington. It was snowed out. The global warming issue wasn't, I guess, a factor there. But they solved that problem going to Cancun." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/9/09]
Bolling: "The Globe Gets Warmer And It Gets Cooler." On his Fox Business show, Bolling repeatedly cited a Newsweek article from 1975, saying the article is proof that "the globe gets warmer and it gets cooler and it's not a matter of one direction or the other." Bolling also referred to the manufactured "Climategate" scandal, saying that "a climate center in England basically said, hey, let's hide some of the science in these e-mails, let's make sure we don't expose all, you know, the science." [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 1/11/11, via Nexis]
Bolling: "Thirty Years Ago, We Worried About Global Cooling. Now We're Worried About Global Warming." During an interview with Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Bolling read headlines from 1974 about cooling temperatures and stated, "Thirty years ago, we worried about global cooling. Now we're worried about global warming. Is this not just the global cooling and warming over the course of 30-year periods?" [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 2/11/10, accessed via Nexis]
Bolling: "I think We Warm And We Cool. It's The Globe." Discussing a Rasmussen poll asking respondents "how likely is it that some scientists have falsified research data," Bolling stated: "Listen, you know where I stand on this. I'm not -- I think we warm and we cool. It's the globe." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/4/09]
Bolling Hosted Skeptic To Claim "There Is No Global Warming." Bolling hosted Brian Sussman, radio host and author of Climategate: A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes The Global Warming Scam, who asserted that "there is no global warming." Sussman claimed that the "hottest decade in history was the 1930s":
BOLLING: Even if we were to agree, which I'm not sure we are going to agree on it. But, what is it? Somewhere around a half a degree over the last 30 years the globe has warmed. Is that enough to effect that much change and really need that much regulation?
SUSSMAN: Yeah so, Alan's cute with these "Oh you're a flat earther" -- Listen, I've got 300 footnotes in my book. I'm using government data to prove my point. And you're absolutely right, since the little ice age, plane, train, automobile, leaf blower, lawn mower, all invented, population of the earth grown exponentially. The temperatures warm .7 degrees Celsius and most of that occurred before 1940 and the hottest decade in history was the 1930s not these last 10 years, so there is no global warming.[Fox Business, Follow the Money, 1/31/11]
- Bolling again hosted Sussman on February 2 to attack Obama's stated goal to have 80 percent of America's electricity come from clean energy sources by 2035. Saying it wasn't possible to achieve that goal, Sussman added: "We have a bunch of eco freaks now in charge of the country. These are people who believe it's immoral, immoral for anyone to make a profit off of the natural resource -- in this case, it's fossil fuel. That's why they demonize the fossil fuel increase." While Sussman spoke, images of the snowstorm flashed onscreen. [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 2/2/11, via Nexis]
Bolling Suggested There Is No Proof The Globe Is Warming. Discussing clean energy on February 2, Bolling stated: "It used to be cold in the '60s. Is there any proof of -- I mean, again, you say we should all agree that the globe is warming. I'm not sure I agree with that assessment." Sussman replied: "No, no. The globe warms and it cools, and right now, we may indeed be going into a cooling phase." Bolling interjected: "Exactly." [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 2/2/11]
Bolling: "Honestly, It Was Global Warming, And Then Things Got Cold So They Called It 'Climate Change.' " During the same February 2 segment, Branden Daly, former communications director for Rep. Nancy Pelosi, pointed out: "Global warming is also known as climate change. So, scientists have told us that not only are there gonna be more extreme summers, that sometimes we'll have more severe winter storms, as well. So, just the fact that we've had a severe storm in the Midwest doesn't mean that it's not climate change." Bolling replied: "Mr. Daly, honestly -- honestly, it was global warming, and then things got cold so they called it 'climate change.' " Bolling added: "It's not unlike -- not unlike the Obama administration sort of first saying that the stimulus plan, the $800 billion stimulus plan, was going to create 4 million jobs and then it was 3 million jobs and then it was 2 million jobs, and then it was 'save or create' and no one could figure out what that means." [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 2/2/11]
Bolling Cited Research From Organization With Heavy Ties To Energy Industry In Order To Criticize EPA. Bolling cited research from the Institute for Energy Research to criticize fuel efficiency standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The institute has heavy ties to the energy industry, which Bolling did not disclose. For example, the institute's president has lobbied for Koch Industries, a large private company with heavy interests in the oil industry, and the organization has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from ExxonMobil. [Fox Business, Happy Hour, 4/2/10]
Bolling Revived Debunked Climate Email Claim In Attack On Scientist. Bolling used a grant awarded under the stimulus bill to climate scientist Michael Mann to revive the debunked claim that emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University, some of which were written by Mann, undermine the scientific consensus on manmade global warming. His guest, Tom Borelli, further stated that Mann was "at the center" of the controversy, adding, "[T]hese emails that they're all looking at, it seems like the scientists themselves don't believe there's such a consensus because they have their conclusion that man's causing it, and now they're trying to ram the data to force-fit it. It's the round peg in the square hole." Bolling did not disclose the fact that Borelli's organization, the National Center for Public Policy Research, has received funding from the oil industry. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/15/10]
Climate Researchers Agree Human Activity A Contributing Factor In Warming Trend
Recent Warming Trend Is Established By Temperature Measurements, Other Observations. The National Climatic Data Center explains that the "warming trend that is apparent in all of the independent methods of calculating global temperature change is also confirmed by other independent observations":
Thousands of land and ocean temperature measurements are recorded each day around the globe. This includes measurements from climate reference stations, weather stations, ships, buoys and autonomous gliders in the oceans. These surface measurements are also supplemented with satellite measurements. These measurements are processed, examined for random and systematic errors, and then finally combined to produce a time series of global average temperature change. A number of agencies around the world have produced datasets of global-scale changes in surface temperature using different techniques to process the data and remove measurement errors that could lead to false interpretations of temperature trends.
The warming trend that is apparent in all of the independent methods of calculating global temperature change is also confirmed by other independent observations, such as the melting of mountain glaciers on every continent, reductions in the extent of snow cover, earlier blooming of plants in spring, a shorter ice season on lakes and rivers, ocean heat content, reduced arctic sea ice, and rising sea levels. [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climatic Data Center, accessed 1/14/11]
Survey: 97 Percent of 77 Active Climate Scientists Said "Human Activity Is A Significant Contributing Factor" In Changing Global Temperatures. A survey of Earth scientists conducted by University of Illinois Earth and Environmental Sciences professor Peter Doran and former graduate student Maggie Kendall Zimmerman found that there was an overwhelming consensus on human activity being a "contributing factor" in changing global temperatures. From the survey:
1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
With 3146 individuals completing the survey, the participant response rate for the survey was 30.7%. This is a typical response rate for Web-based surveys.
Results show that overall, 90% of participants answered "risen" to question 1 and 82% answered yes to question 2. In general, as the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement with the two primary questions. In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered "risen" to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2. [Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 1/20/09]
Study: 97-98 Percent Of The Most Active Climate Researchers Support Tenets Of Human-Caused Climate Change. From a study led by William Anderegg of Stanford University:
Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC. A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97-98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers. [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 6/21/10]