Using a series of misleading talking points, News Corporation's Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and Fox have accused the Obama administration of waging a "war on coal" because the EPA has moved to limit toxic air pollution from power plants. In reality, the EPA is issuing these rules because the Bush administration's regulations were rejected by courts, and the revised rules are expected to have significant public health benefits.
We noted in June that Fox News' iPad app was sponsored exclusively by ExxonMobil, a corporation known for paying think tanks to obfuscate the scientific consensus on climate change. Now FoxNews.com's "Planet Earth" section is also brought to you by the oil giant:
Last night on Fox News' The Five, Greg Gutfeld claimed that the world was hotter in 1910 than it is now:
GUTFELD: Can I address something, Bob? You always bring up this streak, the last ten years was about one and a half degrees warmer than the climate of the 70's. So that means - and actually, they also say that it hasn't been this warm since 1910. So that means we're still not back up to the 1910 levels of heat.
We are far above the "1910 levels of heat" as can easily be seen from the global temperature record, which dates back to 1850. This chart shows how the global surface temperature each year differs from the 1961-1990 average:
After relentlessly pushing the false claim that the so-called "Climategate" controversy showed climate scientists deceitfully manipulating data, conservative media are celebrating a Rasmussen Reports poll finding that a majority of Americans believe "some scientists" have likely "falsified research data" to support "their own theories and beliefs about global warming."
Politicians tend to blame global warming on mankind? Or you know, the scientists at the National Research Council, The American Chemical Society, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, The American Meteorological Society, and The Geological Society of America, and others, who say human activities are changing the climate.
By contrast, the type of politicians that Fox likes to host have denied this consensus. But why would Fox inform their viewers about the scientific consensus on global warming when there's a good Al Gore joke to be made?
A Wall Street Journal editorial endorses House Republicans' TRAIN Act [Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation], which would delay two Clean Air regulations and create a committee to report on potential economic costs of certain EPA rules. The Journal claims the legislation "would help expose some of the true costs that the agency is trying to hide."
Who's hiding? The EPA is already required to conduct economic analyses for significant regulation, and the Office of Management and Budget also reviews the costs and benefits of the rules. The Journal claims that these analyses are not sufficient because they do not consider the "broad[er]" or "more tangible" economic costs. In fact, the Congressional Research Service states that in "past experience," costs of regulation have not been "as great as they are projected to be" by EPA.
In response to the suspension of federal scientist Charles Monnett, who authored a 2006 article documenting polar bear deaths, conservative media have claimed that the case exposes "the global warming fraud" and that polar bears are not threatened by climate change. In fact, extensive research establishes that polar bears are vulnerable to extinction due to decreasing sea ice, and human-induced global warming is supported by a robust body of evidence independent of any polar bear studies.
Conservative media claim stricter standards for ground-level ozone, the primary component of smog, are unreasonable and unnecessary. In fact, EPA is strengthening the standards because health experts, including the scientific panel that advised the Bush administration, have said that the standards set in 2008 are not sufficient to protect the public.
Fox News host Greg Gutfeld dismissed the notion that small island states face an existential threat from climate change. However, studies have shown that ongoing climate change has severe consequences for the habitability of many small islands.
A New York Post editorial advocated for New Yorkers to "frack, baby, frack!" citing a "new study out of Penn State" claiming ample economic rewards of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. However, the editorial failed to note that the study was sponsored by a lobbying group representing gas companies.
The study itself acknowledges that "the Marcellus Shale Coalition provided the funding for this study" and it was "prepared as an account of work sponsored by the Marcellus Shale Coalition." The study was reportedly commissioned by MSC for $100,000.
Two of the study's authors, Timothy J. Considine and Robert Watson, previously wrote two reports also sponsored by the Marcellus Shale Coalition. The dean of Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, William E. Easterling, criticized the initial version of their 2009 report for making the "clear error" of failing to identify the sponsor, which is against Penn State policy. Easterling further stated that it would be "simply incorrect usage" to refer to the earlier report as a "Penn State report" rather than a "Marcellus Shale Committee report." Easterling also criticized the study's authors because they "may well have crossed the line between policy analysis and policy advocacy."