On CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute claimed that "[t]he warming that the alarmists are talking about is 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 150 years, most of which occurred before World War II. None of which occurred in the last decade." In fact, NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies stated in 2006: "Global warming is now 0.6° C [1.08° F] in the past three decades and 0.8° C [1.44° F] in the past century. It is no longer correct to say that 'most global warming occurred before 1940.' "
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On the October 23 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, during a discussion of global warming and the forest fires occurring in Southern California, Chris Horner, senior fellow for the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), claimed that "[t]he warming that the alarmists are talking about is 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 150 years, most of which occurred before World War II. None of which occurred in the last decade." In fact, the 2005 Annual Summation (updated January 12, 2006) of global temperature trends by NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) stated: "Global warming is now 0.6° C [1.08° F] in the past three decades and 0.8° C [1.44° F] in the past century. It is no longer correct to say that 'most global warming occurred before 1940'. More specifically, there was slow global warming, with large fluctuations, over the century up to 1975 and subsequent rapid warming of almost 0.2° C per decade,"as Media Matters for America documented.
Horner did not indicate on what he based his claim that the Earth has warmed "1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 150 years." NASA's GISS limits its surface temperature analysis to the period after 1880, due to "poor spatial coverage of stations and decreasing data quality prior to that time." Additionally, the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Working Group II reported that the "data and the analysis techniques" for creating global temperature time series "have changed over time" and that their measurements of past global average temperature do not show "a high degree of consistency" for time periods preceding 1900. The Climate Research Unit at Britain's University of East Anglia does provide a chart of average global temperatures extending back to 1850, and according to the chart's associated data (smoothed), a majority of the warming over the past 150 years has occurred since 1939 (the official start of World War II), not before, as Horner asserted.
In introducing his guests for the segment, Beck said, "Chris Horner is the author of Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism. And R.J. Smith is an adjunct environmental analyst with the Competitive Enterprise Institute." However, according to CEI's website, Horner also works for the institute as a senior fellow, which Beck did not mention during the segment.
CEI has reportedly received funding from energy industry sources, including, as Media Matters has repeatedly noted, more than $2 million from the Exxon Mobil Corp. since 1998. According to the blog Think Progress, Exxon Mobil no longer provides funding to CEI. During the segment, Beck asked Smith, "How much money do you get from big oil?" Smith responded: "I don't think big oil has anything to do with -- with the forest fires," and added "[E]nvironmentalists get big oil money themselves, too."
From the October 23 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: But first, for the second consecutive day, wildfires are sweeping through California, especially beachfront cities like Malibu and San Diego. And I want to get one thing straight right from the start. Loss of life, property: tragic. The people who are fighting these fires: heroes.
But I got to tell you, the story just pisses me off. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Wildfire may be a natural disaster, but you've got to stop kidding yourself, America, and pretending that man isn't partly to blame for making things worse.
I remember spending my summers at my grandfather's house at his farm. I can still see him screaming at that old Zenith TV that we had in the living room, yelling about how the mismanagement of our forests is going to get people killed one day.
You ask any farmer, anybody who's lived closely with the land, and they'll tell you, you can't change Mother Nature. We're the ones screwing things up. Why does this global warming phenomenon only seem to happen in our part of the globe? Why have we -- why have we tried for decades to stop the natural cycle of burn and regrowth? And most importantly, why do we think that we can continue to believe that man knows best, when every bit of evidence tells us it ain't true?
Mother Nature is tough enough. We don't need to make matters worse with our bad environmental policies.
Chris Horner is the author of Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism. And R.J. Smith is an adjunct environmental analyst with the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Let me -- let me start with you, R.J. How much money do you get from big oil?
SMITH: I don't think big oil has anything to do with -- with the forest fires.
SMITH: And -- and I'm not sure. I mean -- environmentalists get big oil money themselves, too.
BECK: Look, here's the thing. We're going to talk about things that are politically incorrect. Nobody else on television is going to say this. And I know all the bloggers are right now going, "Oh, big oil, big oil, big oil. They're going to deny global warming."
I'm not denying global warming. But, Chris, let me ask you this. I keep hearing that this is global warming that's doing this. And I keep thinking to myself, how many years have we let the underbrush grow, and nobody will do anything? If these super fires are caused by global warming, wouldn't these super fires be happening all around the globe? Are they, or are they not?
HORNER: Well, fire happens everywhere. And it is a natural disaster if man's there. Otherwise it's a disaster purely for nature, but again, it is natural.
Global warming is not a likely suspect for the following reason. The warming that the alarmists are talking about is 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 150 years, most of which occurred before World War II. None of which occurred in the past decade.
OK. We can probably reliably take global warming off the suspect list.
Second, it's not clear that a warmer world would be a drier world. As you know, Glenn, they rely on computer models to scare us. The computer models disagree with each other.