On Fox News Live, anchor Bill Hemmer interviewed Wall Street Journal columnist and former Gov. Pete Du Pont (R-DE) about An Inconvenient Truth, a new documentary on former Vice President Al Gore's campaign to raise awareness of global warming. During the interview, Hemmer repeatedly characterized as "convincing" Du Pont's Journal column, which presented a series of assertions on global warming that misrepresent the underlying scientific research and relied on a misleading, industry-funded study on climate change to claim that the "truth about 'global warming' is much less dire than Al Gore wants you to think."
During the May 24 edition of Fox News Live, anchor Bill Hemmer interviewed Wall Street Journal columnist and former Gov. Pete Du Pont (R-DE) about An Inconvenient Truth, a new documentary on former Vice President Al Gore's campaign to raise awareness of global warming. During the interview, Hemmer repeatedly characterized as "convincing" Du Pont's May 23 Wall Street Journal column, which, as Media Matters for America noted, presented a series of assertions on global warming that misrepresent the underlying scientific research and relied on a misleading, industry-funded study on climate change to claim that the "truth about 'global warming' is much less dire than Al Gore wants you to think." Hemmer also let Du Pont repeat his misleading claim that global warming is primarily caused by solar radiation, not human activity.
Du Pont's May 23 column relied heavily on the conclusions of a 2006 report, "Climate Science: Climate Change and Its Impacts," by David R. Legates, associate professor of geography and director of the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Delaware. The report was published by Du Pont's employer, the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think tank that has received substantial funding from energy interests such as ExxonMobil Corp. On Fox News Live, Du Pont repeated the claim from his column that "71 percent of the global warming is said to be because of solar radiation," an assertion that relied on Legates's argument that solar radiation has a significant effect on warming and should be incorporated into any climate models. Legates wrote:
Another variable that climate models do not take into account is the effect of changes in solar radiation on the Earth's climate. Over the past 350 years, scientists have discovered cyclical changes in the Earth's climate due to solar activity -- such as increases and decreases in solar flares and sun spots. Some researchers have argued that solar variability may be responsible for about 0.45 F of warming between 1900 and 1990 -- just under half of the recent warming -- and about a third of the total warming since 1500. This is notable since approximately half of the observed 20th century warming occurred before 1940 and cannot be attributed to human causes.
However Legates misrepresented the findings of solar radiation experts Judith Lean and David Rind, whose 1999 study Legates cited. While he noted their finding that "solar variability may be responsible for about 0.45 degree F of warming between 1900 and 1990," in order to emphasize the extent to which the sun is to blame for global warming, Legates ignored the conclusion Lean and Rind drew from this finding: that solar radiation has played only a small part in the warming observed in recent decades. Indeed, at a 1999 seminar hosted by the U.S Global Climate Change Research Program, Lean reportedly explained "that when the climate-warming energy represented by changes in the concentration of greenhouse gases is compared to that which is exerted by changes in the sun's radiation, the sun's effect is quite small."
From the May 24 edition of Fox News Live:
HEMMER: And former Delaware Governor Pete Du Pont is with me today. Governor, good morning to you.
DU PONT: Good morning, Bill.
HEMMER: You wrote a pretty convincing piece in The Wall Street Journal yesterday. Your take on global warming, as it relates to Al Gore's claim is what?
DU PONT: Well, I think it is more fiction than fact. And when you look at some of the statistics that go back to the first Earth Day in the spring of 1970, you see what's happening. The U.S. population is up 42 percent. The miles driven by Americans in cars is up 178 percent. And the gross domestic product in the country, up 195 percent. America is prospering, and yet the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] reports that pollutants in the United States, the six major pollutants, have actually declined by 50 percent. We have more wetlands, we have more bald eagles -- we used to have 500 pairs, we now have 7,500 pairs. We have more forest. Things are getting better in the environment, and I think we're making progress.
HEMMER: You make a convincing argument in your story as it relates to the United States. But I don't know what's causing these glaciers to disappear. I don't know if it man's fault or not, but back on our screen right over here, we can show you the coral reefs again, this is not the reefs -- there we go. You see all the color here, governor? Today, they're saying after several decades of abuse, now the color has been lost. I don't know who is to blame in all this, but these pictures tell a story of something. The question is what story do they tell?
DU PONT: Well, there's no question that the world changes as time goes by. One of the things that's doing this, of course, is solar radiation. And there -- in a new study put out by the National Center for Policy Analysis, which I talk about in the column, and I'm associated with that organization, 71 percent of the global warming is said to be because of solar radiation. And you know, you think about it, and that makes some sense. The EPA reports, excuse me, NASA reports that the lower ice cap on the southern part of Mars has been shrinking for six years. There are no SUV's on Mars, there are no factories putting out smoke on Mars.
HEMMER: No H2's driving up and down the sand there.
DU PONT: No. That is because of solar radiation. And I think much of the warming is because of solar radiation here on Earth.
HEMMER: One more issue, 15 seconds left to go here. Could it be the responsibility of developing countries who maybe have not advanced their own technology and level of adherence to the changing environment over the past 35 years, going back to 1972, as you make the point. Maybe it's India, maybe it's China. Would you buy that debate and argument?
DU PONT: Well, there's no question that global warming started up, we're getting it under control, we're making progress, and all the nations of the world are going to have to help make that progress. But let's not pretend there's going to be a vast emergency. There simply isn't, and I think we're making a lot of progress on pollution and doing very well here in the United States.
HEMMER: Thank you, governor.