'The Heat Is On' Fox News for 'Global Warming' Special

July 7, 2008 - 7:05 PM

(CNSNews.com) - A climatologist Monday was quick to dismiss the Fox News special on "global warming," complaining that it featured "profoundly juvenile climate science."

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Sunday's hour-long program titled "The Heat Is On: The Case of Global Warming," included a verbal disclaimer by Fox News warning viewers that only one side of the scientific debate would be represented.

Environmental activists Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Laurie David, wife of comic Larry David, were featured in the documentary and have praised the news channel for producing the program. The documentary ignored scientific skeptics who believe that human activity is not responsible for catastrophic climate change.

Climatologist Patrick J. Michaels, the author of several books on climate change including "Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media," believes the contribution of human activity on planetary warming will be "modest" and pointed out several examples of what Fox News omitted in terms of the scientific debate.

"The net ice balance in Antarctica is positive, it is gaining ice," Michaels said, noting that the Fox News special only focused on areas where ice is melting to imply an alarming rise in sea level is imminent. Michaels is an environmental sciences professor at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

Antarctica "will contribute to reduction in sea level because it is gaining ice ... The net ice balance in Greenland is very close to neutral," Michaels added.

Other scientific information was lacking, according to Michaels. "There have been three periods in the last 2,000 years in which Alaska was as warm as it is now; the show failed to mention that," he said.

"Because of the nature of planetary warming and the central behavior of our computer models, we now know with considerable confidence that warming within the foreseeable future will be modest," Michaels added. "The other side, which I now include Fox News on, seems to do everything it can to suppress that story."

Michaels also disputed an assertion by Laurie David on Fox News Channel's "On The Record: With Greta Van Susteren" last week.

After noting that people should "worry a lot" about climate change, David asserted, "there's been more consensus on this issue than there was consensus on smoking causes cancer."

"To counter the argument that climate change will be modest requires invalidating billions of dollars worth of climate models," Michaels responded.

Meanwhile, the author of a new book debunking alarmist predictions on climate change is charging that Fox News Channel got "hoodwinked" by airing only one perspective.

"The American people are being hoodwinked not just by the green activists, but by the scientists who get billions of dollars for creating global climate models that can't even forecast backward, let alone forward," said Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Issues in an interview with Cybercast News Service.

Avery is the co-author of the upcoming 2006 book entitled "Unstoppable Global warming-Every 1500 Years." The book is written with S. Fred Singer, the president of The Science & Environmental Policy Project. Avery maintains that any modest planetary warming is part of Earth's natural cycle.

Avery joined Michaels in disputing what he termed the "alarmist" scientific scenarios in the Fox News special.

"We are in our third warming in recorded human history. We had the Roman warming and the Romans thrived," Avery said. The second warming was during the medieval period, when "most of the castles and cathedrals of Europe were constructed ... because there was more food and thus more people and more labor."

Looking at more recent history, "the Arctic was warmer in 1930 than it is today," Avery said, insisting that any current warming trend is not unique or alarming.

"We have evidence from around the globe in ice cores, sea bed sediments, cave stalagmites and pollen of fossilized pollen, that show that these [climate] cycles have existed for the last million years. They are moderate, natural and solar linked," Avery said.

Contrary to the Fox News special, which depicted large portions of Florida being inundated in the future with rising sea levels as ice melts, Avery said there is nothing to worry about.

"It's not a disaster. Every single species on the planet has been through at least 600 of these two degree (Celsius) warming cycles," he said, referring to past warming periods.

Jody Clarke, the spokeswoman for the free market environmental group Competitive Enterprise Institute, (CEI) joined in the criticism of the Fox News special.

Clarke said she was "surprised" by the opening disclaimer, which explained that viewers would "hear primarily from those experts and citizens who believe that global warming is a crisis."

Clarke said after watching the show, she realized that the disclaimer "should have said all of the experts will express this particular point of view," noting the absence of any contrarian scientific point of view in the hour-long program. CEI sent a letter to Fox News CEO Roger Ailes last week protesting that only one scientific perspective was featured in the special.

"I thought [the special] was pretty low on substance and poorly produced. It was very superficial," Clarke said.

See Earlier Article:
Greens Praise Fox News 'Global Warming' Documentary (Nov. 11, 2005)
Fox News CEO Warms to Climate Change After Heat From Left (Nov. 9, 2005)


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