Brain Freeze: Conservative media still using winter weather to attack global warming


Conservative media figures have used the recent snowstorms in the Washington, D.C., area to level more science-free attacks on global warming. As Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, scientists agree that short-term localized weather patterns are not relevant to global warming.

If at first you don't deceive ... Conservative media again use winter snow to deny global warming

Limbaugh: It's "absurd" that Obama admin proposed global warming agency amidst "record-setting cold weather." On the February 9 broadcast of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh stated: "The Obama administration yesterday, amidst all this record-setting cold weather, proposed a new agency to study and report on the changing climate, also known as global warming." He added: "They're having to delay setting up the office [of Climate Service] because they're expecting another 16 to 20 inches [of snow] in Washington. I mean, this is absurd."

Fox & Friends asserts "dichotomy" between "those big snowstorms" and proposed "federal office to study global warming." On the February 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson said she wanted to talk about the "dichotomy" created by "big snowstorms" occurring while "the Obama administration [is] talking about creating a new federal office to study global warming." Co-host Steve Doocy added: "It's interesting, though, given the fact that the weather is so rotten right now that people are going, 'how can there be global warming if it's snowing and it's fairly cold?' "

Washington Times: D.C.'s "Snowmageddon" is "undermining the case for global warming one flake at a time." In a February 8 editorial headlined, "Snowmageddon is nigh," The Washington Times wrote that reports of more snow blanketing Washington, D.C., "must send chills up the spines of global warming adherents, for whom this winter has been marked by discontent." The editorial later added: "Those who value freedom should thank Mother Nature for her sense of humor, undermining the case for global warming one flake at a time. So although we're quite tired of shoveling, we say, 'Bring on the blizzard.' "

Hannity: "I'm sure the Climate Service will do a lot to ... help with the snow." From the February 8 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

SEAN HANNITY (host): Now, earlier today, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke tunneled his way through two feet of snow in D.C. in order to hold a news conference to discuss the threat global warming poses to the U.S.

He announced that your hard-earned tax dollars will be funding a new government agency on climate change that will be known as the Climate Service and will be headquartered in D.C.

And I'm sure the Climate Service will do a lot to get us out of this economic crisis, and, by the way, probably help with the snow.

Erickson said of D.C.'s snow: "You know what this all means right? We need a new federal agency to 'study and report on the changing climate.' " In a February 8 post on, Erick Erickson wrote:

There are thirty inches of snow in Washington, DC. Here in Macon, Georgia, an area global warming scientists have long predicted would become a desert, we are 24 inches into a rain surplus in the past 365 calendar days.

You know what this all means right? We need a new federal agency to "study and report on the changing climate."

BigGov: "[A]nother 10-20 inches of snow ... Now THAT is some climate change." In a February 9 post to, a blogger writing under the pseudonym "Publius" wrote:

Yesterday, President Obama announced his plan to create a new federal agency tasked with climate change. Later that day, the National Weather Service announced that DC was due to receive another 10-20 inches of snow today. (On top of the 2 1/2 feet of snow over the weekend.) Now THAT is some climate change.

Reality: Snow in winter does not disprove global warming

FACT: Cold weather has no relevance to the climate debate. In a March 2, 2008, article, The New York Times reported that climate scientists -- including at least one who has disputed aspects of the scientific consensus on climate change -- completely reject the notion that short-term changes in weather bear any relevance to the climate debate. The article quoted Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeler at NASA saying: "It's all in the long-term trends. Weather isn't going to go away because of climate change."

FACT: 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record. In January, major meteorological organizations throughout the world -- including NASA -- released reports showing that the past decade, 2000-2009, was the warmest on record. The reports undermine the right-wing media's numerous claims that recent snow and cold weather show climate change does not exist or has slowed over the past 10 years.

Media conservatives have a long history of using weather to deny global warming

Led by Fox News hosts, conservative media use weather patterns to claim the planet is cooling. Led by Fox News, conservative media figures have relentlessly turned to weather patterns in their ongoing assault on global warming science, despite reports showing the past decade was the warmest on record.

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