"Ignorant And Proud: Northeast Snowstorm Brings Out the Worst in the Climate Denial Punditocracy"
by Ben Dimiero, in a Media Matters cross-post
By any reasonable measure, last week was not a good one for conservative media figures that believe climate scientists are somehow fabricating the theory of climate change.
Richard Muller, a physicist at University of California, Berkeley, announced the results of new research from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project affirming that the planet is getting warmer and confirming the accuracy of several other existing global temperature records.
As the Associated Press explains, while the findings are “no different from what mainstream climate scientists have been saying for decades,” what’s especially notable about Muller’s findings is “who is behind the study”:
One-quarter of the $600,000 to do the research came from the Charles Koch Foundation, whose founder is a major funder of skeptic groups and the tea party. The Koch brothers, Charles and David, run a large privately held company involved in oil and other industries, producing sizable greenhouse gas emissions.
A study funded in part by oil industry interests finds that the planet is getting warmer and that climate scientists have “truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that” — this seems like the kind of thing that should give pause to people that refuse to accept data from supposedly biased sources like NASA.
But for conservatives like Fox host Eric Bolling, last week was actually a net positive in the fight to prove that climate change is a “scam.” Why? Because it snowed in the northeastern United States….
A single winter storm does nothing to disprove that the planet is getting warmer, but that doesn’t stop scientifically illiterate pundits from hi-fiving and telling nonsensical jokes about Al Gore every time it snows. Indeed, in what’s becoming an increasingly-tedious yearly tradition, several conservative media figures pointed to this weekend’s snowstorm as evidence that the theory of climate change is falling apart. It isn’t.
As the New York Times reported, scholars sought to remind people in the wake of the October storm that “single storms, no matter how dramatic, say little about overall climate patterns,” and that certain patterns of extreme weather — even winter weather — are consistent with global warming:
Robert Stavins, an economist at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, said a surprise winter storm no more disproved climate change than a hot day in August proved it.
But larger patterns of extreme storms and precipitation, even if accompanied by cold snaps, support the theory of global warming, he and several climate researchers said, because warming oceans are sending more moisture into the air.
Nevertheless, on his Fox Business show on Friday — as well as on Twitter — Eric Bolling once again proudly broadcast his ignorance, teasing the last segment of the program by pointing out that “it’s snowing and not even Halloween,” and boasting about how this would give him a chance to give his upcoming guest “more grief about this global warming nonsense.”
After the commercial, Bolling replayed a clip from last December of him throwing a copy of An Inconvenient Truth into a snow bank and asserting, “I have to tell you, Mr. Gore, an inconvenient truth? I call it a bold-faced lie. Sorry about that. Global warming? Here is your global warming.”
During the ensuing segment, while on-screen text asked questions like, “Global Warming: A Scam?,” some of Bolling’s guests tried to explain to him that the earth is actually getting warmer, while he responded with lazy talking points about Climategate (which Bolling apparently thinks involved something called “East Anglican [sic] University”).
People like Bolling are, at the very best, almost unfathomably intellectually lazy. Bolling — along Jim Hoft and Fox Nation, who also used the snow to take potshots at climate change — won’t be swayed by mountains of evidence that the planet is getting warmer, because the scientists involved are scheming liberals (or something).
But when an independent study agrees that the earth is warming, they just ignore it in favor of giggling about how it is snowing outside.
— Ben Dimiero is a research fellow at Media Matters for America. This piece was originally published at the Media Matters website.