Fox News Shrugs Off Urgency Of Climate Change After Democrats' All-Nighter In The Senate

››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

Fox News dismissed the importance of addressing climate change after Democrats in the Senate staged an all-night session to speak about its dangers on March 10.  

Fox Hosts: National Debt, Other Issues More Important Than Addressing Climate Change Right Now

Fox's MacCallum Questions Focus On Climate Change Over Other "Major Issues We're Dealing With Right Now." America's Newsroom co-host Martha MacCallum suggested on March 11 that there are more important issues than climate change, like the situation in Russia, the labor participation rate, and problems with the healthcare law:

MACCALLUM: You know, you look at some of the major issues that we are dealing with right now -- and I know that you feel strongly about global warming and that you feel it is an important issue. The only reason I'm going at it is because I don't understand why they're not actually having the guts to put out legislation there and to vote on it and to see what happens from it. But a lot of people would say, look, we're dealing with a very serious situation with Russia right now, we've got, you know, a labor participation rate that is the lowest that it has been in 30 years, and you've got this healthcare issue which now a lot of Democrats claim needs to be fixed. So why not stay up all night and talk about that? [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 3/11/14]   

Fox's Cavuto: Did Anyone Tell Senate Democrats "There Are a Few More Issues Going On" Than Climate Change? On the March 11 edition of Your World with Neil Cavuto, Cavuto asked of Senate Democrats, "Did anyone tell them -- whatever your views on climate change -- there are a few more issues going on, like a debt that's choking us, things like that?" [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 3/11/14]

Fox Guest Ben Stein: Why Isn't The Ukraine Crisis "The More Urgent Matter?" Appearing on the March 8 edition of Your World with Neil Cavuto, Ben Stein said, "We have an incredibly serious foreign relations crisis with Russia and Putin, in the Crimea -- why isn't that the more urgent matter?" [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto3/8/14, via Media Matters]

But Climate Change Has Devastating Consequences For The Economy, National Security, And The Planet

Economist Dean Baker: Climate Change Is Far Worse For Future Generations Than Debt. In an article for The Guardian, Dean Baker, economist and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, explained that climate change will have much greater costs to the future than government debt:

It is remarkable how efforts to reduce the government deficit/debt are often portrayed as a generational issue, while efforts to reduce global warming are almost never framed in this way. This contrast is striking because the issues involved in reducing the deficit or debt have little direct relevance to distribution between generations, whereas global warming is almost entirely a question of distribution between generations.

[...]

If the deficit has little to with the wellbeing of our children and grandchildren, global warming has everything to do with it. We run the risk of handing them a planet without many of the fascinating features that we had the opportunity to enjoy (for example, coral reefs that are dying, plant and animal species that are becoming extinct, landscapes that are being transformed). Far more seriously, we face the likelihood of handing them a planet in which hundreds of millions of people risk death by starvation due to drought in central Africa, or through flooding in Bangladesh and other densely populated low-lying areas in Asia, as a result of human caused global warming.

[...]

Those who want to worry about questions of generational equity might start to wrap their heads around combating global warming. Global warming threatens to do far more damage to the wellbeing of future generations than the social security and Medicare benefits going to baby-boomers, no matter how much the deficit hawks try to twist the numbers to claim otherwise. [The Guardian1/3/12]

Military Experts: Climate Changes Poses A Threat To Our National Security. Military experts across the political spectrum agree that climate change is a serious threat to our national security, including former Secretaries of Defense Robert Gates and Leon Panetta and high-ranking retired military officers:

  • Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense: "Over the next 20 years and more, certain pressures-population, energy, climate, economic, environmental-could combine with rapid cultural, social, and technological change to produce new sources of deprivation, rage, and instability."
  • Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense: "[T]he area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security: rising sea levels, to severe droughts, to the melting of the polar caps, to more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief."
  • General Gordon Sullivan, USA (Ret.), former Army chief of staff: "Climate change is a national security issue. We found that climate instability will lead to instability in geopolitics and impact American military operations around the world."
  • General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), former Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Central Command and special envoy to Israel and Palestine under President George W. Bush: "It's not hard to make the connection between climate change and instability, or climate change and terrorism."
  • Admiral John Nathman, USN (Ret.), former Commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command under President George W. Bush: "There are serious risks to doing nothing about climate change. We can pay now or we're going to pay a whole lot later. The U.S. has a unique opportunity to become energy independent, protect our national security and boost our economy while reducing our carbon footprint. We've been a model of success for the rest of the world in the past and now we must lead the way on climate change." [Media Matters, 3/11/14]

Bill McKibben: Increase Of Planet's Temperature By Less Than 0.8 Degrees Celsius "Has Caused Far More Damage Than Most Scientists Expected." Climate activist Bill McKibben explained that a small increase in the planet's temperature has already done more damage than expected:

So far, we've raised the average temperature of the planet just under 0.8 degrees Celsius, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. (A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere over the oceans is a shocking five percent wetter, loading the dice for devastating floods.) [Rolling Stone7/19/12]

PricewaterhouseCoopers: "Climate Change Is A 'Risk Multiplier.' " PricewaterhouseCoopers stated in a study that climate change is a "'risk multiplier,' " as the increasing frequency and intensity of certain extreme weather events can, for instance, disrupt the global supply of commodities:

In 2010, Russia suffered a severe heat wave. The resulting economic losses were estimated to be US$15bn as drought and wildfires destroyed crops, particularly wheat. The knock-on effect was export restrictions on wheat in Russia, which contributed to global price increases.

[...]

Often overlooked, climate change adds to complexity. It amplifies or alters existing risks, for example raw material availability (e.g. water, energy) or transport disruption due to extreme weather events. The resulting shocks on the global supply chain can be severe and persistent.

So climate change is a 'risk multiplier'. [PricewaterhouseCoopers, accessed 3/11/14]

The Guardian: Climate Change "Already Damaging Global Economy." The Guardian outlined a study by the DARA group and the Climate Vulnerable Forum that shows the already occurring effects of climate change:

Climate change is already contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year and costing the world more than $1.2 trillion, wiping 1.6% annually from global GDP, according to a new study.

The impacts are being felt most keenly in developing countries, according to the research, where damage to agricultural production from extreme weather linked to climate change is contributing to deaths from malnutrition, poverty and their associated diseases.

[...]

By 2030, the researchers estimate, the cost of climate change and air pollution combined will rise to 3.2% of global GDP, with the world's least developed countries forecast to bear the brunt, suffering losses of up to 11% of their GDP. [The Guardian9/25/12]

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