Conservative media outlets are reprimanding three prominent Republicans who recently acknowledged what scientists have been saying for years -- that human activities are contributing to global climate change.
Members of the right-wing media have distorted the administration's policies in the wake of the BP oil spill, claiming that President Obama shut down all drilling and production in the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, the temporary moratorium on drilling in the Gulf only applied to new deepwater wells and did not affect the thousands of wells already producing oil and gas.
In the wake of the earthquake in Japan and the resulting threat of nuclear disaster in that country, right-wing media have attacked renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, arguing that it's a waste of time to pursue these sources as possible alternatives to fossil fuels and nuclear power. However, studies show that the use of wind and solar energy is increasing at a record pace, and continuing investment in wind and solar will yield significant economic benefits.
From the February 2 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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On his Fox News show, Neil Cavuto hosted Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute to argue against the effectiveness of federal subsidies for the solar industry and claim that there would be no solar industry but for these subsidies. In fact, solar energy receives significantly fewer subsidies than fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
Just days ago, Media Matters published internal e-mails showing Fox News' managing editor Bill Sammon instructing the network's reporters to cast doubt on climate science. Despite the exposure of this blatant attempt to slant Fox's coverage of issues related to climate change, Fox's assault on environmental regulations aimed at mitigating the effects of carbon emissions continues unabated.
On today's edition of Your World with Neil Cavuto, guest-host Brian Sullivan welcomed Chris Horner of the right-wing Competitive Enterprise Institute to discuss a pending lawsuit launched against the EPA by American automakers. Horner, a longtime dispenser of climate change misinformation, attacked the EPA for a recent ruling that would allow gasoline to contain up to 15 percent ethanol (up from 10 percent), claiming that the blended gas would destroy the engines of cars, lawnmowers, and "all those vehicles that you'll see on Sarah Palin's Alaska that nobody in the administration sees or wants to see."
Horner repeatedly refers to the ethanol mix as "moonshine" that will wreak havoc on a wide variety of engines used by Americans every day. Horner doesn't, however, have very much faith in the American consumer. He contends that the lure of cheaper E15 gasoline will lead unsuspecting consumers to fuel up with what will eventually erode their fuel lines. Horner goes so far as to claim that this will lead to "people putting gasoline in four fifths of the engines on the road that are not designed for it," which will eventually damage their engines and accomplish what he purports to be the Administration's purported "goal" of taking the "larger, more safe, more comfortable vehicles" off the road.
However, neither Horner nor Sullivan acknowledge that the EPA has established specific guidelines in its waiver allowing the use of E15 fuels. While Horner alludes to the fact that E15 is only approved for use in certain vehicles, he ignores the fact that the EPA has outlined specific guidelines which explain that only vehicles built after 2007 should use the fuel. Likewise, Horner makes no note of the warning labels consumers would have to ignore when fueling vehicles that explain that E15 is only for use in certain vehicles and machines.
While the specifics of such a label have not been finalized, the EPA specifically requires that "Labels must be placed on E15 retail dispensers indicating that E15 use is only for MY2007 and newer motor vehicles." The proposed label is bright orange, features the word "CAUTION!" and notes that "Federal law prohibits" the use of E15 in vehicles and engines made before 2007.
So Horner's argument then is that when everyday Americans go to the gas station, they will, in overwhelming numbers, either accidentally or knowingly choose to violate federal law and cause costly and potentially irreparable damage to their engines - all for slightly less expensive gas.
Horner's fearmongering about the impact of ethanol is unsurprising given his employer's close ties to big oil companies, who have an obvious financial interest in ensuring that what consumers buy at the pump contains as much of their product and as little ethanol as possible. CEI has received more than $2 million from ExxonMobil alone in addition to the more than $600,000 it has received from the foundations run by the petroleum magnates, the Koch brothers. In fact, his argument that consumers will either purposefully or mistakenly use ethanol fuel that will damage their vehicles closely mirrors the argument against E15 given by the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association which argues that "misfueling may occur intentionally, due to price differential or a quality perception, or unintentionally, due to consumer confusion or inattention."
In keeping with Fox's method of reporting on environmental issues, Horner's potential conflict of interest posed by his ties to big oil were left unmentioned in the segment.
Tonight's edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto featured a segment on proposed legislation that would allocate billions of dollars in funding to the development of alternative-fuel cars. Cavuto and his guest, the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Chris Horner, took the news as an opportunity to attack Fox News' least favorite American-made car, the Chevy Volt. Horner, who has never let facts get in the way of his contempt for efforts to curb climate change, said "the market will not allow the Volt to survive," while Cavuto called the car "risky" because people might forget to plug it in:
CAVUTO: Well, I always look at this as, any car you have to plug in is risky, because I could just picture couples -- I don't mean to be, you know, saying that this is something that could lead to divorce -- but could you imagine, they get up in the morning, "I thought you plugged it in honey." "No, I thought you plugged it in, honey." I mean, that's a disaster in the making.
Cavuto suggested that if you forget to plug in your Volt, you can't go anywhere, revealing that he doesn't understand the vehicle that he is attacking. As GM explains:
When the battery's energy is depleted, a gasoline-or biofuel-powered generator seamlessly provides electricity to power Volt while sustaining the charge of the battery. This extends the range of the Volt for several hundred additional miles, until the battery can be recharged or until additional fuel is added.
The right-wing media have shamefully attempted to tie James Lee, who created a hostage situation in a Discovery Channel building, to former Vice President Al Gore, due to Lee's statement that he was "awakened" after reading Gore's book An Inconvenient Truth. In fact, Lee, who criticized Gore's book for not providing "solutions," holds a number of views Gore does not, including extreme opinions on population control and immigration.
Writing on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government blog, Chris Horner whitewashed the role BP executives played in Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force to attack Democrats over two meetings with BP officials. BP's CEO reportedly met with Cheney and his energy task force in 2001.
This 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 shows that climate change does not exist or has slowed over the past 10 years.
From the December 21 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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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.' "
On Fox News' Your World, Chris Horner, counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), claimed falsely 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, Senate Republicans made clear at the time that Clinton would not be able to garner enough votes in the Senate to ratify the treaty.