Noted economist and environmentalist Bill O'Reilly made an appearance on Fox & Friends Thursday morning to discuss climate policy. He said that the climate and clean energy legislation now before Congress is a "cap and con" and that "fat cat corporations" will benefit. In a moment of rare lucidity, O'Reilly acknowledged that the earth is in fact warming, but he added that only "the deity" knows why the planet is getting hotter.Here are some choice selections from O'Reilly (courtesy of the Wonk Room), followed by a reality check:
O'Reilly on global warming:
All right. There are some hard core right-wingers who don't believe in global warming even though the temperature shows that the earth has warmed in the last 30 years, three times faster than the previous hundred. That's in stone. You don't debate that. But there are people that say it's a big con, nuh nuh nuh nuh. Nobody knows why the earth is warming except the deity, so I'll leave it to him or her, okay? "
Reality check: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has unequivocally found that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are changing the climate. While it may seem folksy to attribute temperature increases to a higher power, science has found otherwise.
O'Reilly on carbon markets:
There have been studies that say they'll do a little bit. They've tried it in Spain and things like that. Look. I think most Americans want a cleaner country and a cleaner planet, all right?
Reality check: In January of 2005 the European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading System (EU ETS) began operation. Although the ETS has seen its share of problems, including setting a fair and effective price on carbon emissions, it does involve more countries than just Spain, as O'Reilly glosses over. O'Reilly also doesn't put forward an alternate solution to our emissions problem, like a carbon tax for instance.
O'Reilly on the little guy:
But once you get into a system whereby the American worker is going to get hurt and the fat cat corporations are going to make money, and it's not going to make much of a difference to the earth's atmosphere, then you have to say, "This is not good!"
Reality check: While O'Reilly has a point that a lot of money will go to corporations to fight climate change, he leaves out the fact that the "American worker" is already being hurt by climate change and will only be hurt more if we fail to act. A recent White House study found that climate change is already affecting much of the U.S. and the study forecasts dire circumstances if we don't drastically curb our emissions. In other words, climate change is already affecting "the little guy."
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