The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment predicts an increase in water and foodborne illnesses, unstable food prices, storm surges, rising sea levels and extreme temperatures due to climate change. However, if you’re Fox News’ Jesse Watters, “It’s called summer.”
Appearing on Fox News’ The Five, Watters and his fellow Fox minions began their segment by criticizing the media coverage of the IPCC’s most recent report before moving on to the scientists themselves: “I mean, the point is the network anchors parrot what the report says. And if you read the report, it reads like a bedtime nightmare. I mean, so, these scientists don’t have a lot of credibility with me. They said this was going to happen years ago,” co-host Andrea Tantaros told the group.
Yes, the woman who equated female contraception healthcare coverage to subsidizing women’s sex lives is judging the credibility of the global scientific community.
While studying the work of female reproductive health expert Rush Limbaugh, Tantaros must have missed the increased occurrences of extreme weather. 2011, in particular, was an incredibly devastating year globally.
- East Africa faced a drought resulting in famine and the deaths of nearly 30,000 children.
- Australia experienced their worst natural disaster in the country’s history during their 2011 flooding, which resulted in an estimated $30 billion dollars in damages.
- During April 25-28, the United States faced one of the largest tornado outbreaks in the nation’s history, including 4 F5 twisters. 321 people were killed.
- Joplin, Missouri was hit by a F5 tornado the following month during another outbreak. The F5 Joplin twister alone killed 157 people.
That year, the United States would experience a record-breaking series of 14 separate billion-dollar weather disasters.
A recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report has concluded there is a “statistically significant increasing trend of about 5% per year in the frequency of billion-dollar disasters.”
Speaking of billions, 2014 has already cost airline passengers $2.5 billion in delays and cancellations due to extreme weather.
Glaciologist Jason Box recently showed Vice co-founder Shane Smith how dire the situation has gotten while filming a recent segment of the HBO series in Greenland.
Box measures the annual melt by inserting large metal poles into Greenland’s ice sheet. On the trip documented by Vice, Box explains a patch of ice they are standing on has melted 27 feet in a single year.
Box adds that if Greenland melts completely, the global sea level would rise 21 feet. Which means the only way you could play the slots in Atlantic City would be with a set of gills.
According to a study published this year in Nature Climate Change, the northeast Greenland ice sheet has lost 10 billion tons of ice per year since 2003.
My favorite climate change denial regarding the Vice piece came from Forbes’ John Tammy, who wrote: “There’s no evidence that Shanghai and New York City planners intend to build high walls to surround each city.” Does Tammy think we’re sending in Snake Plisskin to rescue the President also?
There’s a reason why they’re not building “high walls” around the city; it’s a shit idea.
New York’s Vision 2020 plan reads: “To simply bulkhead the entire waterfront would not adequately address risks, would become increasingly costly, and would have negative ecological consequences for our waterways and coastal areas.”
Structural engineer Guy Nordenson explains, as quoted in the New York plan: “Construction around the waterfront and bay has to allow for unpredictable change. We can’t just build a big wall and forget about it.”
In addition to instituting new zoning and building codes, the city’s Department of Planning is also designing structures with “ground floors raised above flood elevation” to anticipate rising sea levels.
While Tantaros attacks the scientists, Watters attempts to discredit ICPP co-founder, the United Nations, during The Five segment: “They come up with this every year. They have the guys in the blue hats running around. Iran is in the human rights commission.”
The last IPCC assessment was published in 2007. Watters should quit taking counting lessons from Rick Perry and learn how long a year actually is. Iran is not on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. This is simply bullshit. However, this is far from his most outrageous claim.
“Now, there’s new calls to arrest the climate change deniers, as they’re called.” Like a true journalist, Watters has verified this claim with a reputable source that he quickly shares: “I think some web site is putting this out.”
I think it’s time the network changes its slogan from “Fair & Balanced” to “We’re Literally Making This Shit Up.”
Watters pounces on the ”mainstream media” (considering Fox News is the #1 cable news network, I find it hilarious whenever they use this term with a negative connotation) for not featuring a “climate change skeptic” in their coverage. Later in the segment, Watters switches from blue hats to tin foil hats when he praises the work of climate change denier, Alabama professor, Roy Spencer.
I can only imagine the excitement at Fox News when one author, in reviewing the drafts of the most current ICPP assessment, believed the report was too “alarmist” and backed out from the process. “It is pretty damn obvious that there are positive impacts of climate change, even though we are not always allowed to talk about them,” Sussex University professor of economics Richard Tol said.
“Of the 19 studies he (Tol) surveyed only one shows net positive benefits from warming. And it’s the one he wrote,” responded Bob Ward, Policy and Communications Director of the Grantham Research Unit on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. Fox News did not run Ward’s comments, which appeared in nearly every other news site’s coverage of the story.
Another detail missing from Fox News’ coverage is that Tol’s work was determined to be severely miscalculated. Tol concluded economic losses attributed to climate change would be between 0.2% and 2% of income. Tol’s work did not include catastrophic damages due to climate change (this detail is omitted from the Fox coverage). “It seems reasonable to conclude that the quoted figures of 0.2% to 2% are at the best an underestimate, and at worst completely meaningless,” British officials responded.
“The science is clear and the debate is over,” Sandeep Chamling Rai, head of the World Wildlife Fund delegation, said of the report. “Climate change is happening and humans are the major cause of emissions, driven mainly by our dependence on fossil fuels.”
Since 1990, the oil and gas industries have given $283.7 million dollars to political candidates and parties in the United States. Seventy-five percent has gone to the Republican Party, which consistently votes against pro-environment legislation.
Earlier this year, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted down an Amendment to the Electricity Security and Affordability Act that would have acknowledged that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. The final vote was 20-24. All 24 against were Republicans.
One of those 24 Republicans was Texas Representative, Joe Barton. You may recall Barton in my previous entry, Forces of Nature, when he cited the story of Noah’s Ark to challenge the science of man-made climate change.
The 2007 ICPP report concluded a 90% certainty that human emissions contributed to climate change. In the latest assessment, that number is now 95%.
Predictably, Barton’s biggest contributor for this 2013-2014 cycle is Energy Future Holdings Corp ($10,500), which happens to have the highest ranked plant in the nation for mercury air emissions. The Texas Republican has also received $9,900 from the Oil City Iron Works during the same period.
“There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual,” Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chairman of the scientists that drafted the ICPP report, said last week.
Greenhouse gas emissions have increased more between 2000 and 2010 than at anytime in the previous 30 years, according to the IPCC.
Rather than fossil fuels being our primary source for power, the world needs to turn to wind farms, hydropower and solar energy to lower emissions. In addition, existing fossil fuel plants need carbon capture technology (CCS) installed. We also need tighter fuel standards and investment in public transportation.
“Today’s release of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Summary for policymakers proves that the UN is more interested in advancing a political agenda than scientific integrity.” Republican Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe responded in a statement to the recent recommendations made by the IPCC to lower emissions from dirty energy.
The scientists that contribute to the IPCC do so voluntarily. The same could not be said for Senator Inhofe from 2009-2014 alone, he has received $315,850 in contributions from Big Oil.
As evidence to contradict the IPCC findings, Inhofe references a New York Times article… from 1975. Inhofe’s interpretation of the article is that it unequivocally supports global cooling, not warming. However, the Senator missed the first line that reads:
“The world’s climate is changing. Of that scientists are firmly convinced. But in what direction and why are subjects of deepening debate.”
Inhofe conveniently fails to mention that just a few short months after the NYT cooling piece, the paper also ran an article titled: Warming Trend Seen in Climate. Dr. Walter Broecker explains in the piece that the planet will warm as more carbon dioxide is released in the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels. Perhaps Inhofe ended his subscription before he read that.
The Five’s coverage of climate change should be enough for anyone to realize the show is clearly on the wrong network. It should be on Comedy Central, because it’s a fucking joke. Rather than run for re-election, Inhofe could simply replace the departing Stephen Colbert.