Fox & Friends hosts Rush Limbaugh's "official climatologist" to cast doubt on climate science in wake of Irma
After two major hurricanes devastate the United States and the Caribbean, Roy Spencer claims, "This warming that we're seeing is relatively benign," and, "The extra CO2 is on average good for life on Earth"
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From the September 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Well it shouldn't be surprising if have you two big powerful hurricanes in a row there are going to be some people who said, "We've never had that before, so it must be climate change."
ROY SPENCER: Oh, and we knew this was going to happen, I mean, in terms of the hype because, as you know, we've gone almost 12 years without a major hurricane hitting the United States. So we've got a nation of teenagers who virtually none of them ever remember hearing in the news of a major hurricane hitting the United States. When I say major I mean a Category 3 or stronger.
DOOCY: So are you a climate denier? Because it sounds like -- well, those other people on the political left are saying, obviously, we've got to penalize, as we just saw, climate deniers, and yet, you're saying that human activity, as we've chatted before, may not be necessarily related to this.
SPENCER: Well, yes. Frequently I am called a climate denier. I don't know why. I believe that some of the warmth that we're experiencing now is due to the carbon dioxide that we're putting into the atmosphere from burning of fossil fuels. But when these big events happen, major hurricanes, whether it's [Hurricane] Harvey or whether it's [Hurricane] Irma, you have to look back in history to see the context. And I believe I have a graphic that I sent you that you might be able to show --
SPENCER: -- which shows all the major hurricanes which have hit Florida since 1900. And, basically that what each dot is a hurricane.
SPENCER: And what you see is that over time -- and this includes Irma. This goes all the way through Irma that just happened. As you go through time, there has been no increase in the number of major land-falling hurricanes in Florida, and there's been no increase in their intensity. The big one was 1935 with the Labor Day storm. And then weaker than that was [Hurricane] Andrew in '92, and then weaker than that was [Hurricane] Charlie in 2004. And then Irma was, more of middle of the road kind of major hurricane if you can think of such a thing.
DOOCY: Sure. You say that global warming alarmists are the ones who should be prosecuted. What are you talking about?
SPENCER: Yeah. Well, I wouldn't bring that up if it weren't for the fact that we're attacked as being the ones that should be prosecuted or killed. Some people are pretty radical about this. And it's because the people that are pushing for new energy policy want to have us using energy which is much more expensive than fossil fuels. And some day I hope we can have renewables, renewable energy sources which are competitive with fossil fuels. We are not there yet. And since everything that mankind does depends on energy, forcing expensive energy on people, which is what these people want, is going to create more poverty. And if there's one thing that we know that kills people in the world routinely, it's poverty.
DOOCY: Sure. And, doctor, just to get -- to make it clear, you do not see a connection between what is going on in our atmosphere -- or man is not creating global warming. That's what you told me during the commercial. Are you sure about that?
SPENCER: Well, I think -- OK, I think that mankind probably is contributing to the warmth we are currently seeing. We're about as warm as we were 1,000 years ago. No one knows why it was warmer back during the Medieval warm period. We're now warm again. Part of that is natural, no doubt, in my mind. Part of it is human caused. But it's missing the point, that this warming that we're seeing is relatively benign. It's only half of what climate models predict. The extra CO2 is on average good for life on Earth. So, to me, this is much ado about nothing. That there isn't really anything we can do about it anyway. The 2015 Paris climate treaty, everyone came to an agreement, which will have no measurable impact on global temperatures by the end of this century.