Fox News’s Attacks on Climate Science Now Include The Denial of Basic Physics

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There was a time, believe it or not, when Fox New’s Shepard Smith openly mocked global warming deniers—seriously comparing them to a man who got stuck in a portable toilet. (Hat tip to D.R. Tucker for showing me this clip.) But since then, Fox has become a veritable misinformation machine on this topic.

One way the station sows doubt about the scientific consensus on climate change is through constantly putting climate “skeptics” on the air. A study by American University’s Lauren Feldman and her co-authors, for example, found that in the period of 2007-2008, 46 percent of Fox’s guests discussing global warming were climate change doubters. By contrast, only 40 percent of guests defended the scientific consensus.

That’s not just phony “balance”–that’s coverage strongly tilted towards unreality. And if anything, I suspect that Fox has grown still more unbalanced during the Obama years.

One of Fox’s frequent doubter guests is meteorologist Joe Bastardi,  who recently said on the show that carbon dioxide “literally cannot cause global warming.” As Media Matters soon pointed out, this statement seems to throw out over 100 years of science on the greenhouse effect, and the behavior of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

We’ve literally known how the greenhouse effect works since the time of Darwin (although maybe that’s not a good analogy, since I’m sure many of Fox’s viewers also deny evolution). Still, if you don’t believe me, I recommend visiting Spencer Weart’s history of climate science website, where you’ll learn about scientists like John Tyndall and Svante Arrhenius, who established the basic science of climate well before the 20th century dawned.

At the Tucson Festival of Books yesterday—broadcast on CSPAN—I explained just how strong our scientific knowledge about global warming is, noting that this is about physics, not the computer models that climate “skeptics” usually attack. As I put it, all else being equal, if you put more carbon dioxide up there, the planet simply has to warm up, and ice has to melt, and sea level has to rise.  That's the greenhouse effect; that's how carbon dioxide works in the atmosphere. It's that simple.

But let's give Bastardi some credit: In the past, “skeptics” have tended to focus on big diversions, like attacking the hockey stick. They haven't gone head to head with the real opponent: physics. It strikes me as kind of unlikely that Bastardi will win this scientific battle–but hey, at least he's finally tilting at the right foe.

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I have to give kudos to Joe Bastardi for the way he went right after Joe Romm and Think Progress after Romm’s attempt at a hatchet job yesterday.

Don’t you go & pull a Joe Bastardi on us as he did in his stupid comments to Joe Romm at Climate Progress on Sunday.

Tim a regular commenter over there catches the gist of it.

“Wow, just WOW!

“Every time you [Joe Bastardi] comment another layer of your ignorance is revealed. We’re on spring break at my university this week, so I felt OK about spending a few minutes showing your comments to my fellow chemistry professors. The two most common reactions were puzzlement (as in, “What the hell does he think he’s talking about?”) and unrestrained laughter. I was going to suggest that you take a course in physical chemistry, but you really need to go back and start with freshman chemistry.”

WeatherBELL Chief Forecaster Joe Bastardi Denies Basic Physics: ‘CO2 Cannot Cause Global Warming’

Chas Rasper, think about it.  Bastardi can’t stop making CO2 do what CO2 does just by stamping his little foot and screaming “NO NO NO NOad nauseum and holding his breath till his face turns blue.  It’s elemental, quite literally.  This is pretty basic stuff.  

All of these complicated, swirling, integrated atmospheric systems are having to deal with an increasing CO2 concentration that is MIND-BLOWINGLY fast in geological terms, and accelerating.  This is a forehead-slapping no-brainer, d’oh kind of moment for humankind.  What is it that you don’t get?  Were you in shop or home with the flu the day it was covered?  

I get that.  I had a week off school when they were dealing with Watergate in Canada/US Relations.  I was too embarrassed to ask what all the fuss was about …  but I went looking for information and educated myself.  I highly recommend it.   

“Completely wrong.” “Simply ignorant.” “Scientifically incorrect.” “Utter Nonsense.” “Very odd.” These are words scientists have used in the past to describethe nationally televised ramblings of weather forecaster Joe Bastardi, who Fox News hosts from time to time in an apparent effort to dismantle whatever its viewers might know about physics.”

Haven’t people ever heard of Venus?  It’s not 480 C just because it’s closer to the sun.

Good suggestion, but going by Bastardi’s understanding of atmospheric CO2, Joe would get lost somewhere in the Preface, just after, ‘When it comes to understanding the why’s and wherefores of climate, there is an infinite amount one needs to know,…It is a lifelong process’.


I’ll probably be banned for life from Desmog but this should be good for a few laughs, on both sides, I hope.


When your family or friends cannot explain why they voted Democrat, give
them this list. Then they can then pick a reason from this “TOP 12”..

1. I voted Democrat because I believe oil companies’ profits of 4% on a
gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon of
gas at 15% isn’t.

2. I voted Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job
of spending the money I earn than I would.

3. I voted Democrat because Freedom of Speech is fine as long as nobody
is offended by it.

4. I voted Democrat because I’m way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I
know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and

5. I voted Democrat because I believe that people who can’t tell us if it
will rain on Friday can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in
ten years if I don’t start driving a Prius.

6. I voted Democrat because I’m not concerned about millions of babies
being aborted so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

7. I voted Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free
health care, education, and Social Security benefits, and we should take
away the social security from those who paid into it.

8. I voted Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed
to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest
away to the government for redistribution as the Democrats see fit.

9. I voted Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the
Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would never get
their agendas past the voters.

10.. I voted Democrat because I think that it’s better to pay billions to
people who hate us for their oil, but not drill our own because it might
upset some endangered beetle, gopher or fish.

11. I voted Democrat because while we live in the greatest, most
wonderful country in the world, I was promised “HOPE AND CHANGE”.

12. I voted Democrat because my head is so firmly planted up my ass, it’s
unlikely that I’ll ever have another point of view.

Oddly a country that is considered free, isn’t.

Mass media and stores seem to be under some sort of sway.  (You have to deviate from mass media in the US to learn more.)

I was in the US during the build up to the current war in Iraq.  The news was 100% go to Iraq, and kill Saddam… WMD. You name it.  In fact they offered zero dissenting opinions on the news.  Then I went to the book stores and there were zero books with dissenting opinions on the shelves.  The history sections were strictly books on American History.

In Canada the news was 50\50 for and against, and the books in the stores were likewise.

But the question burning in my mind is, “By what means was this level of media control achieved?”  Zero is a hard number to achieve by any stretch.  Zero news stories…  Zero books…

I mean.. ever see the discount bins in book stores?  How come Fox news couldn’t locate an uneducated idiot to talk on TV like they do for climate denial?  Zero!  How?

As though they are getting their instructions from somewhere else, as described in the Heartland documents. ‘Shadow Blogs’

Or perhaps they just figured out that closed mouth gathers no feet.

Murdoch’s statement on the virtues of Carbon Neutrality.

Greenwashing it may be as some tell me, still I am always amazed at how little its covered or even acknowlowdged in the MSM. You’d think some would take a shot at trying to get Murdoch to address it. 

I mean, what good is being Carbon Neutral if your two most influential media brands are undoing and then some, all of your efforts? Maybe Bill O’Reilly should dig into it on the no-spin zone.

Or better yet, Bastardi can debate a News Corp Board member?

No. I had a discussion with some members on this blog re my dead simple statement that all climate revisionists essentially deny that CO2 is a GHG. So thanks to Bastardi for making my point explicit.

What’s next? Easy to predict. Wholesale denial of the existence of CO2. Just wait for it.

Final remark. Joe Bastardi is not a meteorologist. Please don’t treat him as if he is.

“essentially deny that CO2 is a GHG.”

I am seeing that more and more around denialist traps. The dogma they are being taught to regurgitate is “CO2 is plant food”. Many I’ve seen do not actually know that CO2 is a Green House Gas and that it absorbs heat.

They simply don’t want to acknowledge where that conclusion will lead. That if you add more CO2, you will trap more heat.

Bastardi says that CO2 is heavier than the atmosphere. Then he says it doesn’t mix well.

So, if gases don’t mix (e.g. there is no such thing as diffusion), the people near sea level would suffocate from CO2 and those of us in the mountains would breathe pure oxygen when we weren’t putting out fires?

I’d better get all the houseplants in my room and turn on the ceiling fan!

Any 6th grader could do a better job than this poor excuse for a weatherman.

Today there was news of a report by the CSIRO ( a top Australian scientific institute) about the increases in CO2 emissions.

GREENHOUSE gases have risen to their highest level since modern humans evolved, and Australian temperatures are now about a degree warmer than they were a century ago, a major review by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology has found.

The national climate report, to be released today, said Australia’s current climate ”cannot be explained by natural variability alone” and that emissions resulting from human activity were playing an increasingly direct role in shaping temperatures.

Australian researchers were able to identify the ”fingerprint” of the carbon dioxide particles in the atmosphere, by testing the isotopes in CO2 particles, and confirm that the increase came from fossil fuels burnt in power stations and cars.

Record levels … greenhouse gases are now 390 parts per million in the atmosphere - the highest since modern humans evolved.

”We saw a dip in carbon dioxide emissions during the global financial crisis, but that period is now over,” said the chief executive of the CSIRO, Megan Clark. ”Levels are now rising steadily again, in line with the trend.”

The carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached 390 parts per million in 2011, the highest level in 800,000 years.

The average day and night-time temperatures in Australia are now about a degree higher than they were a century ago, the State of the Climate 2012 report said.

”Multiple lines of evidence show that global warming continues and that human activities are mainly responsible,” it said.


It was front page of the only centrist paper in the country, Fairfax - Sydney Morning Herald. The Murdoch press which covers 70% of the countries papers completely ignored it.


Murdoch’s policy is, if it’s denier news, splash it everywhere. If it’s pro science, ditch it. Out of sight, out of mind.






On the back of the CSIRO report, the Beaurea of Metereology (BOM), has just released their annual report for 2011, which backs up the CSIRO.

WUWT’s & Jo Nova’s response amounted to holding their hands over their ears and yelling “LA LA LA LA LA LA”.

Their headline is :

“Australian temperature records shoddy, inaccurate, unreliable”


We remember how this turned out for you last time Anthony with Surface stations USA….with egg on your face. Where you completely failed & your own independent tests showed up the same as NOAA’s.

NOAA released a statement basically saying Watts was an idiot in nice terms.

Cmon Watts, bring it on with the BOM. Let’s see egg on face round 2.