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."
You'd think Fox News would have learned its lesson about trying to pass GOP press releases off as news content. But today, Fox built a segment around a press release from Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) declaring EPA grants to foreign nations the "Outrage Of The Year." And, no surprise, Fox committed the same distortions as Inhofe.
Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced the segment by saying that the government is "now loaning foreign countries millions to promote climate change. Since February 2009, the EPA gave out 65 grants to foreign nations totaling $27 million. Outrageous, right?" Fox and Inhofe were particularly "outraged" about an EPA grant of what they claimed was "$718,000 to China for climate agenda."
But this grant, which doesn't actually have anything to do with climate change, was initiated in 2004 under the Bush Administration (the "project start" is "the date when work began on this grant.") In fact, as Rep. Henry Waxman revealed, "$21 million of the $27 million" represents grants started under Bush.
With an unusually intense heat wave sweeping the nation, Fox News has been silent on global warming, which scientists say makes heat waves like this one more likely. By contrast, Fox News repeatedly used winter storms to mock global warming -- one of several problems with Fox's coverage of climate change highlighted in a new mini-documentary by Media Matters Studios:
Most flagrantly, Fox Nation and Fox News personalities Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Gretchen Carlson, Steve Doocy, Stuart Varney, and Eric Bolling all seized upon the February 2010 blizzard to mock Al Gore and suggest that the storm undermines the science supporting global warming. That same winter, Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon ordered the network's journalists to cast doubt on climate change data.
In reality, that winter included "the eighth warmest December" since records began in 1880, the "fourth warmest" January, and the "sixth warmest" February according to global temperature data from NOAA. 2010 tied for the warmest year on record, and 2000-2009 was by far the warmest decade on record.
Over the past week, Fox News has not mentioned human-induced climate change or global warming while reporting on or discussing the current heat wave, according to a search of Snapstream video and Nexis transcripts.
The Washington Post reported that this "long duration, widespread heat wave continues to bake virtually the entire central U.S" and "969 daily high temperature records were either tied or broken in the country" through July 16. The Post further reported:
Climate change research indicates that manmade emissions of greenhouse gases may already be increasing the likelihood of extreme heat events like this one, including the 2003 European heat wave that killed tens of thousands. Also, recent studies have projected much hotter summers beginning as soon as just a few decades from now as the climate continues to warm. However, it will take months if not years for scientists to determine whether climate change has played a role in turning up the heat so far this summer, and in this heat wave specifically.
NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt told Media Matters it's "very probable that any particular heat wave happening now will be shown to have become more likely because of global warming," adding: "Of all the different extreme events that can happen, the partial attribution of heat waves to ongoing climate change is one of the easier connections."
The conservative media campaign in support of House GOP efforts to overturn light bulb efficiency standards signed into law by President Bush centers on two primary claims: 1) That we will all be forced to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when the standards take effect and 2) That CFLs are terrible.
It is simply not the case that consumers will have to use CFLs, contrary to what conservative media outlets claimed in at least 40 instances over the past seven months. Moreover, these media outlets have used false and misleading attacks to demonize CFLs, which can save households more than $57 per bulb, according to Consumer Reports.
In at least 40 instances since the beginning of 2011, conservative media outlets wrongly told consumers that the light bulb efficiency standards scheduled to take effect in 2012 will require them to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
Today, House Republicans voted to block light bulb efficiency standards passed in 2007. For months, conservative media have demonized the standards, portraying them as far-left, nanny state overreach. For instance, Fox's Charles Payne declared this week that the efficiency standards are designed to advance the "tree hugger" ideology:
Occasionally, in their hurry to link the efficiency standards with the "tree hugger" left, they've gotten a key fact wrong. A Washington Times column a by Ted Nugent attributes the light bulb standards to "this administration's energy policy," when in fact they were passed by George W. Bush.
Indeed, the history of federal efficiency standards is covered in the fingerprints of the last three Republican presidents.
Steve Milloy claimed in a Washington Times op-ed that air pollution from power plants is "not causing air-quality or public-health problems" and that EPA's clean air regulations "will bring no health or environmental benefits." However, health experts disagree with Milloy, who previously downplayed the dangers of secondhand smoke while taking money from the tobacco industry.
To celebrate the Fourth of July, Fox & Friends fired up a grill and hosted climate change contrarian Joe Bastardi to mock concerns about global warming. Responding to a New York Times op-ed on ways to lower the carbon footprint of holiday cooking, Bastardi, who is not a scientist, rambled off a familiar list of climate fallacies:
BASTARDI: It sounds to me like it's the last gasp of a desperate movement because I think they know things are turning around, the overall global temperature and they're trying to grasp at any straw they can get their hands on. The human contribution every year to global - to CO2 - is .09 parts per million. That means if you made a million dollars, which I know you do, you'd be taxed 9 cents on it. Now, if you take the ocean and the atmosphere together, the human contribution is so tiny you can't even measure it.
Contrary to Bastardi's claim, the "tiny" size of the human CO2 contribution tells us nothing about whether those emissions are changing the climate. What matters is how much CO2 concentrations have changed and how that affects the Earth's carbon cycle.
As the Congressional Research Service explains, the release of CO2 from fossil fuel use causes the otherwise balanced carbon cycle to overflow into the atmosphere:
If humans add only a small amount of CO2 to the atmosphere each year, why is that contribution important to global climate change? The answer is that the oceans, vegetation, and soils do not take up carbon released from human activities quickly enough to prevent CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere from increasing. Humans tap the huge pool of fossil carbon for energy, and affect the global carbon cycle by transferring fossil carbon--which took millions of years to accumulate underground--into the atmosphere over a relatively short time span. As a result, the atmosphere contains approximately 35% more CO2 today than prior to the beginning of the industrial revolution. As the CO2 concentration grows it increases the degree to which the atmosphere traps incoming radiation from the sun, which further warms the planet.