Fox News Gives Science Lesson on Why Humans Aren't Causing Global Warming


Screen grab via Media Matters

As of late, Fox News has been particularly shameless in its never-ending quest to sow doubt about the unequivocal scientific consensus that humans are causing the climate to warm -- see the SpongeBob SquarePants debacle, the moon volcano proof, the heat index nonsense, the list goes on. But this one takes the cake: Fox had the gall to get Joe Bastardi, the network's resident global warming "expert" (he works for the WeatherBELL meteorological consulting firm), to do a segment called "Why CO2 Can't Cause Warming" that was explicitly staged to explain that humans could not possibly be contributing to climate change.

It was, as one climate scientist retorted, "utter nonsense". As in, not the kind of nonsense that belies traditional climate skepticism -- skeptics usually focus on some outwardly plausible concept and twist the evidence to sew doubt (sun spots! the climate's not that sensitive to CO2 concentrations! it's natural cycles). No, this is the level of nonsense that requires you to check your Physics 101 textbook at the door. Or, more accurately, I suppose, pretend that it never existed.

Here's Media Matters:

Joe Bastardi ... declared that the theory of human-induced climate change "contradicts what we call the 1st law of thermodynamics. Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. So to look for input of energy into the atmosphere, you have to come from a foreign source."

It's not clear what to conclude from this except that Fox and Bastardi are not familiar with the greenhouse effect. Climate scientists aren't claiming that humans are creating energy. They're saying that humans are trapping more energy by increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Joe Bastardi, ignoramus though he may be, is certainly aware of this -- which makes the segment that much more despicable, since he's clearly lying through his teeth in order to serve the network's ideological agenda.

For further evidence of just how full of it Bastardi and Fox are, we turn it over to Duke University scientist William Chameides, who called Fox's claims "utter nonsense," explained via email:

It is true that global warming requires a source of heat. In this case it comes from the sun. What CO2 does is trap a larger amount of the heat from the sun, preventing it from escaping and thus driving up temperatures. To argue otherwise is to argue that the greenhouse effect does not exist. In fact the existence of the greenhouse effect was established by scientists more than a century ago. It would be impossible to explain the temperatures of Mars and Venus, as well as the Earth, without invoking this effect.
It's pretty clear here that science has nothing to do with this. Fox was just expecting its viewers to nod along with all of the big words, providing them some empty fodder with which to reinforce their already-steadfast beliefs that global warming is a hoax (beliefs made steadfast, of course, due largely to Fox and co relentlessly inculcating such talking points into their skulls for the last 5 years).

And you know what? That's probably exactly what happened.

Tags: Global Climate Change | Television | United States