Fox & Friends conducted a one-on-one interview with Sen. James Inhofe for the second time in two weeks, during which he asserted that there is no "relationship between manmade gases and global warming." In fact, the scientific consensus view is that "human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming" of the planet.
For the second time in two weeks, Fox News' Fox & Friends conducted a one-on-one interview with Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) -- who in 2003 called global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" -- in which Inhofe downplayed the threat of climate change without challenge. During the interview, Inhofe asserted that there is no "relationship between manmade gases and global warming" and co-host Steve Doocy echoed this argument, declaring that Inhofe had made a "great point" because "there's been no scientific connection" established between climate change and human activity. In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, scientific organizations such as the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) share the consensus view that, according to a June 2006 NAS report, "human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming" of the planet.
Inhofe further suggested that the relatively calm 2006 hurricane season disproved warnings from scientists and others that global warming will lead to "terrible hurricane season[s]" and affirmed his claim that "there is not a relationship between hurricanes and what they call global warming by manmade gases." Doocy suggested the same at the beginning of the interview, noting that the 2006 season was "the calmest in a decade," and asking, "So what happened to all those naysayers about the hurricanes?" As the weblog Think Progress noted, a November 27 Drudge Report headline similarly implied that the 2006 hurricane season contradicted warnings from former Vice President Al Gore regarding the relationship between global warming and hurricanes. The headline was accompanied by a picture of Gore taken from the movie An Inconvenient Truth and read "BLEW IT: HURRICANE PREDICTIONS OFF TRACK; QUIETEST SEASON IN A DECADE." But the fact that there were fewer hurricanes in 2006 does not undermine Gore's position, as Think Progress explained:
First, Gore never predicted that there would be more storms in 2006. He said that global warming made it more likely that there would be more intense hurricanes in the future.
Second, the fact that there were fewer hurricanes in 2006 does not suggest that global warming is not real or not dangerous. There are other factors -- on a year-to-year basis -- that can reduce the number and intensity of hurricanes.
Think Progress went on to note several "other factors" that likely contributed to the calm 2006 season, which included abundant "Saharan dust and air over the Atlantic Ocean," the rightward trajectory of this year's storms, and the southward shift in wind direction due to a "rapidly growing El Nino, a warming of water over the tropical Pacific Ocean."
Furthermore, Inhofe attempted to downplay the fact that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- a fellow Republican -- has recently come out in support of legislation intended to target global warming. "There's a lot of publicity that they signed into law, this global warming law," Inhofe said. "But they don't have coal-fired generating plants in California. They're done in other states and they come in by wire. So it doesn't really affect them. ... So California is different than the rest of the country." But Inhofe ignored that the original bill signed by Schwarzenegger on September 27 not only imposes emissions restrictions on utilities, but also on automobiles. Moreover, Inhofe overlooked that Schwarzenegger approved a separate bill that prohibited utility providers in California from entering into long-term contracts with coal-fired power plants located outside of the state that do not meet certain emissions standards.
From the November 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
DOOCY: After predictions that this hurricane season would be the biggest, worst ever, nobody expected it to be the calmest in a decade. So what happened to all those naysayers about the hurricanes? Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chairman James Inhofe joins us from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Good morning to you, Senator.
INHOFE: Hey, good morning. And Steve, I heard you give the weather, and you're right. Out here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it's a terrible storm, and I'm sure that's due to global warming.
DOOCY: Well, you know what, at the beginning of this season after -- granted, last year was terrible. But all of the environmentalists and a lot of scientists said, "This is all because of global warming. And you think this year is bad, wait 'til next year."
INHOFE: Well, see, that was Al Gore, Barbra Streisand, Robert Kennedy Jr. --
DOOCY: Well-known scientists.
INHOFE: -- all of them making the -- well-known scientists -- all saying that because of global warming it's -- we're going to have a terrible hurricane season. At that time, we were on this program saying that there is not a relationship between hurricanes and what they call global warming by manmade gases.
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): And at the same time, Arnold Schwarzenegger -- well known in Hollywood and now across America as the governor of California -- he was on Meet the Press this past Sunday saying that, in fact, he does believe that there is global warming. Let's take a listen and I want to hear your comments.
SCHWARZENEGGER [video clip]: There's always in history been people that are back with the thinking in the Stone Age. And I think that the key thing for us is -- is not to pay attention to those things. Because as I said, the science is in. We know the facts. There's not any more debate as to global warming or not. We have global warming. And the fact also is that we can do something about it.
CARLSON: Those comments, I guess, were directed at you, Senator Inhofe. Your response?
INHOFE: Well, let me first clarify what they mean when they talk about global warming. My statement -- and I credit [Meet the Press host] Tim Russert for giving it accurately -- is that it's not the matter of whether or not it's getting warmer. What it is is: Is there a relationship between manmade gases and global warming? And there isn't.
Well, I love Arnold Schwarzenegger. In fact, my nephew is his creative consultant for his campaign. I think he's a great guy and all that. However, that's California. You know, one thing about Democrats -- they all read from the same songsheets. Republicans don't. And there's a lot of differing opinions in the Republican Party. And then, let's consider also, this is California we're talking about. And right in the center of California, you have this Hollywood mentality -- they call it the Hollywood elitists. They're the ones pouring money into campaigns, and that naturally prejudices people. And one other thing. You -- there's a lot of publicity that they signed into law, this global warming law, last -- last month. But they don't have coal-fired generating plants in California. They're done in other states, and they come in by wire. So it doesn't really affect them.
DOOCY: Right. Exactly right.
INHOFE: So California is different than the rest of the country.
DOOCY: And Senator, you made a good -- a great point earlier. You know, here is some sort of global warming going on. The temperature is just a little warmer around the world than it was a while back. But there's been no scientific connection -- they simply can't say, "You know what, you leave your car idling or you use a lot of hairspray, and you're poking a big hole in the ozone" or something like that.
INHOFE: Yeah, they try to do that. But the panic that's going on right now in that far-left environmentalist community is that one-by-one their strongest supporters are leaving them. For example, Paul Gilding, who is a former executive director of Greenpeace, he now says it's no longer a science, it's a religious test. Here's the best one here. Claude Allégre is a French geophysicist. He's the only one who is on both the French and the United States national academy of sciences. I'm going to read you his quote.
INHOFE: He says, "The cause of warming is unknown. The proponents of manmade catastrophic global warming are being motivated by money."
DOOCY: There you go.
INHOFE: So there you have it. And people are starting to panic now.
DOOCY: All right, Senator James Inhofe. Always good to speak with you, we'll talk to you again soon.
INHOFE: Thank you.