Rosen touted global warming skeptics funded by petroleum industry, didn't challenge attack on Gore
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Discussing global warming on his Newsradio 850 KOA show, Mike Rosen cited as "reputable, highly qualified, respectable sources" several climate-change skeptics who receive funding from the oil industry. In addition, Rosen did not challenge a guest who falsely claimed that Gore "makes up a bunch of stuff" in his film An Inconvenient Truth.
The day after Al Gore's cautionary climate change film An Inconvenient Truth won the 2007 Academy Award for best documentary feature, Newsradio 850 KOA host Mike Rosen touted several oil industry-funded global warming skeptics as "reputable, highly qualified, respectable sources." Further, he allowed guest Christopher Horner, author of The Politically Incorrect GuideTM to Global Warming and Environmentalism, (Regnery, February 2007) to claim baselessly that Gore "makes up a bunch of stuff."
Horner, who Rosen noted "is not a scientist," is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). While Rosen claimed that Horner has "testified before congressional committees" and has "educated himself very roundly" on climate change, he failed to mention that CEI received $2,005,000 from ExxonMobil Corp. from 1998 through 2005, according to the Greenpeace-affiliated watchdog group Exxon Secrets, which draws its figures from ExxonMobil's own public filings. An article in The Washington Post noted on May 28, 2006, that CEI's oil-funded benefactors extend well beyond ExxonMobil:
CEI relies on donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. The most generous sponsors of last year's annual dinner at the Capital Hilton were the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Exxon Mobil, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and Pfizer. Other contributors included General Motors, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Plastics Council, the Chlorine Chemistry Council and Arch Coal.
As Media Matters for America has noted, while CEI has been praised by conservative media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal for "consistently pointing out the flaws in some of the political conclusions that have been reached" regarding climate change, the organization has engaged in overt acts of distortion in attempting to debunk climate change science. For example, one advertisement CEI sponsored suggested that environmentalists have falsely labeled carbon dioxide a pollutant, arguing that it is in fact, "essential to life." But the ad distorts the argument made by scientists that while carbon dioxide is not inherently harmful; excessive discharges of the gas destabilize global temperatures via the greenhouse effect.
University of Missouri professor Curt Davis, upon whose research another of CEI's ads relied, condemned the campaign's content and motive, stating in a May 19, 2006, press release: "These television ads are a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public about the global warming debate." Davis added, "They are selectively using only parts of my previous research to support their claims. They are not telling the entire story to the public."
Although the weblog Think Progress reported that ExxonMobil "stopped funding the Competitive Enterprise Institute" in 2006, and that the corporation "promised the Royal Society in July that they would 'not be providing any further funding' to groups that distort global warming science," Media Matters has noted that CEI remains heavily funded by corporate interests -- in particular by the energy industry, which has a financial stake in opposing policies that seek to combat climate change.
During Rosen's show, Horner, referring to Gore's warning of drastic rises in sea levels due to warming trends, falsely claimed that Gore "actually makes up a bunch of stuff. Things that you can't find anywhere," including "20-foot sea-level rises." Yet, as Media Matters has noted regarding similar criticisms of Gore's projections by Gregg Easterbrook, New Republic senior editor, the results of a recent study by University of Arizona professor Jonathan Overpeck propose exactly that. A summary of Overpeck's work, available on the UA website, reads:
The Earth's warming temperatures are on track to melt the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets sooner than previously thought and ultimately lead to a global sea level rise of at least 20 feet, according to new research.
Further exposing Horner's false claim regarding Gore is a January 29, 2006, article from The Washington Post, which, after noting that the "Earth is warming much faster than some researchers had predicted," reported:
Princeton University geosciences and international affairs professor Michael Oppenheimer, who also advises the advocacy group Environmental Defense, said one of the greatest dangers lies in the disintegration of the Greenland or West Antarctic ice sheets, which together hold about 20 percent of the fresh water on the planet. If either of the two sheets disintegrates, sea level could rise nearly 20 feet in the course of a couple of centuries, swamping the southern third of Florida and Manhattan up to the middle of Greenwich Village.
As Media Matters has noted, Horner has engaged in other global warming deceptions, including falsely stating as a guest on Fox News that the Clinton administration chose not to submit the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate for ratification because it did not consider global warming a "high-profile issue." In fact, it was Senate Republicans who made clear that they would not ratify the Kyoto treaty.
Regarding the scientists Rosen cited on his February 26 show as "reputable, highly qualified, respectable," exactly half of them -- Sallie Baliunas, Richard Lindzen, and Fred Singer, are identified as "Scientific Spokespeople Affiliated with ExxonMobil-Funded Groups," in a January 3 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists. According to the report, between 1998 and 2005, ExxonMobil Corp. funneled about $16 million "to a network of ideological and advocacy organizations that manufacture uncertainty on the issue" of global warming. Leading the list of "Select ExxonMobil-Funded Organizations Providing Disinformation on Global Warming" in the report is CEI, having reportedly received $2,005,000. As the report notes:
Of the organizations analyzed, CEI received 1.2 times more money from ExxonMobil since 1998 than the second most-funded organization, AEI [American Enterprise Insitute]. In FY 2003, ExxonMobil grants represented approximately 16% of CEI's total expenses.
From the February 26 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Mike Rosen Show:
ROSEN: This hour, we'll be featuring Christopher Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, author of The Politically Incorrect GuideTM to Global Warming and Environmentalism.
Now, by way of background, we've discussed climate change issues many times on the program. I've had a number of scientists on as guests. We've had some debates where I've had people on the global warming side of it -- advocates for global warming theory. I tend to have many more people on the skeptical, dissenting side, precisely because I want to provide some measure of more equal time to the skeptical side of the argument, since the dominant liberal media overwhelmingly showers you with propaganda on the pro-man-is-the-major-contributor-to-global-warming side of the argument. I've referred to reputable, highly qualified, respectable sources like Richard Lindzen, meteorology professor at MIT; to Edward Krug, who's a soil and water scientist; Fred Singer, a climatologist; Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama; Sallie Baliunas, the Harvard Center of Astrophysics; Hugh Ellsaesser at Lawrence Livermore International Lab. In spite of assertions to the contrary, the debate isn't over. There isn't unanimity on this. There are very qualified people who think this is alarmism run amok. I've written a number of columns about it. I've referred to you to organizations like the George C. Marshall Institute. Heartland.org is a good website to go to get information about this. You can go to the Competitive Enterprise Institute website.
All right -- all of that is for the purpose of reassuring you that there are qualified people who haven't jumped on the bandwagon, who aren't joining the Hollywood lemmings in flocking to this cause. Now, people have asked me, "Mike, is there one source you can give me? One place I can go? I don't have time to read all the stuff you do. I want something that digests it all." Well, it's hard to find one source -- there's so much out there -- and I've just referenced a number of sources. But, there is one handy source you can appeal to, and that's the book that Christopher Horner -- who I'll bring on in just a moment -- has written, called The Politically Incorrect GuideTM to Global Warming and Environmentalism. It's published by Regnery; just go to Amazon.com; you won't have any trouble finding it. Chris Horner is a lawyer by background. He's got a J.D. from Washington University. He is not a scientist. He's a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. But he's testified before congressional committees, he's spoken on this topic, he's educated himself very roundly, and he's a very good communicator.
ROSEN: I've been asked on occasion if I've actually seen Al Gore's slide show, An Inconvenient Truth, and I respond honestly that I haven't, and frankly, it's because I have no need to see it. There's nothing new in there; all he's doing is rehashing a one-sided selective presentation. I've been reading about this issue for so long, from so many different sources -- including the pro-man-is-responsible-for-this-side -- that there'd be no reason for me to subject myself to the one-sided propaganda film An Inconvenient Truth. So, I haven't in fact seen it, but there's nothing in there that I haven't heard before from other sources. And I've certainly read enough about An Inconvenient Truth to know where it's coming from, and as Alexander Solzhenitsyn once said, "To taste the sea, one needs only one gulp." I don't need a mouthful of An Inconvenient Truth. Have you seen the movie?
HORNER: Yeah, and as I've said, the PowerPoint too. And got to question him, and he refused to answer my questions; Dr. Fred Singer's questions; Steven Malloy, who runs junkscience.com's questions; Steve Hayward from AEI -- American Enterprise Institute -- asked him questions. He ducked them all, and he agreed to a debate later. And as you've noticed from his backing out of recent interviews with Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist; Flemming Rose, the editor of Jyllands-Posten of Danish cartoonist fame; a journalist down in New Zealand. Anybody who has any idea what they're talking about, he won't sit down with them. Now, I want to differ slightly, Mike, from your statement that there's nothing new in there. He actually makes up a bunch of stuff. Things that you can't find anywhere. He just plain makes them up in the movie. So there are some new things in there. There's some whoppers, from why Nairobi is where it is. Not true. It was malarial from day one -- to 20-foot sea-level rises. You can't find that anywhere. The U.N. just cut in half their projected best-range estimate from 7 to 17 inches. That's the range. OK. He just makes up 20 feet. That isn't in the scientific literature. Nobody projects catastrophe in any -- well, that particular one, anyway. Catastrophe can be found in the scientific literature, but generally that's not what it says, that's not what it supports, and that's not the language of science.