Top 13 Dumb Things Media Said About Climate Change in 2013
The evidence for climate change only got stronger this year, with a major climate report finding 95 percent confidence in manmade global warming and the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere hitting a record 400 parts per million. Climate doubters, in turn, became increasingly desperate, citing everything from a verified scam artist to the “Ouija board of weather.”
We’ve compiled the 13 dumbest things media said about climate change in ’13—you might be surprised to find which mainstream media outlets made the list.
13. Rush Limbaugh: Carbon emissions “may actually be making things cooler, not warmer.”
In April, Rush Limbaugh claimed that CO2 in the atmosphere “may actually be making things cooler,” going on to say that manmade global warming is a “political hoax.” But the Economist article Limbaugh cited actually examined how much the Earth is warming from emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, which by definition trap heat in the atmosphere.
12. Fox News: Questions whether hottest year on record was just faked.
In January, a FoxNews.com article asked whether the U.S. government had manipulated temperature data to fake the hottest year on record (2012) in the contiguous U.S. The article quoted climate “skeptics” including birther Steve Goddard who wrote that the 2012 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Center was “meaningless garbage” and the U.S. only “appears” to have warmed due to data adjustments. However, temperature data typically has to be adjusted to account for flaws in the raw data that occur, for example, when temperature measurement stations are moved. These adjustments are publicly documented in peer-reviewed literature. Furthermore, satellite data from climate “skeptic” Roy Spencer, who was quoted criticizing the data, also found 2012 to be the U.S.’ hottest year.
11. Sean Hannity: Says we’re heading into “period of prolonged global cooling” based on a scam artist’s claims.
On his radio show, Sean Hannity promoted the claim that solar “hibernation” will soon bring a period of dangerous “global cooling” and “end the rise of the oceans,” saying the information came from a scientist. What Hannity didn’t realize, however, is that these claims came from a man who even climate “skeptics” have labeled a “scam artist”: John Casey, who published his book on solar hibernation with the help of an astrologer who claims to be the illegitimate daughter of Ernest Hemingway. Hannity was, essentially, duped.
10. Fox News: Cites cold winter forecast from the “Ouija board of weather” to mock global warming.
Fox News hosts seized on a weather forecast predicting an especially cold winter for 2013 to cast doubt on global warming. However, the forecast came from the Farmer’s Almanac, which makes predictions with a “secret formula” based on “tides, astronomical events and sunspots,” and which meteorologists have called “the Ouija board of weather.” Even if the Almanac’s cold winter prediction were true, however, they would not negate the trend of warming temperatures in the U.S. and globally.
9. Limbaugh: “If you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming.”
Rush Limbaugh advised his religious listeners to choose between God and science on his Aug. 12 radio show, saying, “if you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming … You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something he can’t create.” Yet several religious institutions acknowledge man’s role in the climate crisis, and have launched initiatives to fight global warming as a moral imperative. In response to Limbaugh’s statement, the Evangelical Environmental Network published an open letter asking him to “refrain from your harmful rhetoric on climate change.”