Fox News attacked President Obama's decision to sign an executive order that will make it easier for states and communities to prepare for impacts of climate change by denying the existence of global warming.
On November 1, Obama signed an executive order on climate preparedness. The New York Times reported that the order will “make it easier for states and communities to build resilience against storms, droughts and other weather extremes” and establish “a high-level task force of state and local leaders to offer advice to the federal government” on how to help local communities deal with climate change.
Reporting on the executive order during the November 2 edition of Fox & Friends Saturday, co-host Tucker Carlson denied the existence of global warming. He said that “temperatures have not risen in the past several years, they have gone down,” and claimed there is “an emerging scientific consensus that we may be in for a period of global cooling caused not by greenhouse gases but by fluctuations in solar energy -- sun spots.”
Carlson concluded that those calling for action in response to climate change “what they don't know definitively is the truth. And no one wants to admit -- maybe there's some things they don't fully understand. Why not just admit that?”
Contrary to Carlson's claim that an “emerging scientific consensus” predicts an upcoming period of global cooling, 97 percent of climate scientists and most leading U.S. scientific societies agree that a climate-warming trend has existed over the last century and that the trend is “very likely due to human activities.” In September, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which convenes hundreds of top climate experts from around the world to assess the scientific understanding of climate change, released a report concluding that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and will continue under all greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.
While climate scientists overwhelmingly believe the Earth is warming, Fox News has relentlessly championed climate change denial. This coverage has a real impact on the network's conservative viewers - while two-thirds of Americans believe in global warming, only 25 percent of Tea Party Republicans agree.
The IPCC has also addressed the short-term trend that Carlson refers to when he says that “temperatures have not risen in the past several years, they have gone down.” According to the IPCC, such trends are due to natural variability and do “not in general reflect long-term climate trends.” The IPCC finds it more significant that "[e]ach of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth's surface than any preceding decade since 1850," and predicts temperatures will keep rising in the long run.
A chart published previously by Skeptical Science illustrates how a short-term trend can be cherry picked from the longer warming signal: