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."
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.