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Global Warming Skeptic Sneers, "Mine's Bigger Than Yours" On Hannity & Colmes

Reported by Ellen - December 24, 2007 -

On Friday night's (12/21/07) Hannity & Colmes, FOX News' fave global warming skeptic, Chris Horner, of the petroleum industry-backed Competitive Enterprise Institute, was again on the show, this time to tout Senator Inhofe's misleading climate denial "report." Horner is more eager to smear with a sneer environmentalists than he is in arguing his thesis. But Alan Colmes and guest David Roberts, of Grist Magazine, forced Horner to stick to the science. He barely even got to bring up Al Gore! Instead, Horner was reduced to crowing about his list of experts, "Mine's bigger than yours." With video.

Roberts noted that Inhofe's "report" that more than 400 prominent scientists dispute man-made global warming claims is less than impressive. "A slight look at this list turns up some real gems… people with no relevant knowledge about the science," Roberts said. Indeed, Joseph Romm, former Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from 1995-98, confirms that assertion. Romm wrote about Inhofe's list,

"Padded" would be an extremely generous description of this list of "prominent scientists." Some would use the word "laughable" … I'm not certain a dozen on the list would qualify as "prominent scientists," and many of those, like Freeman Dyson — a theoretical physicist — have no expertise in climate science whatsoever.

Nevertheless, the "we report, you decide" banner on the lower third of the screen read, "400 prominent scientists dispute man's role in climate change." (my emphasis)

Roberts further pointed out that in 2006, ExxonMobil accepted the IPCC's findings about climate change and cut off funding for Horner's CEI. Roberts said, "You're way behind the curve when ExxonMobil has turned its back on you."

Horner made his first smear by accusing Roberts of using "typical" environmentalist tactics of ad hominem attacks. But Roberts had attacked nobody's character, only their qualifications. Meanwhile, Horner went on to condemn Roberts for "appealing to authority, which means they don't have much substance to offer." It was a neat attempt at sidestepping the issues Roberts had raised. It also tended to prove that Horner was the one who didn't have much substance to rebut Roberts, instead of the other way around.

Unfortunately for Horner, his turn with the sympathetic co-host, Mark Steyn (substituting for Sean Hannity), was up. Alan Colmes asked Horner to name "one peer-reviewed study validating that either there's no global warming or that it's not caused by humans."

Horner actually "sshhh'd" Roberts as he was saying that Horner can't because there is no such thing. Horner cited an article from the International Journal of Climatology which does appear to be peer-reviewed. But the article does not say there's no global warming or that it's not man-made. The paper's authors conclude that "future predictions of temperature change… are likely too high." (Page 8). That's a far cry from saying that there's no global warming at all.

Nevertheless, Horner insisted, "Their paper does debunk what you're saying hasn't been debunked."

"That's just false," Roberts correctly said. Then, as Colmes asked Roberts to offer his take on the peer-reviewed science, Horner didn't hestitate to interrupt. Robert began to cite the "consensus statement of the National Academy of Sciences" but didn't get any further before Horner commanded, "Stop appealing to authority. Speak substance to us, please."

Roberts asked, "Who else are you gonna to appeal to?" He pointed out that he's a journalist, not a scientist. "When I want to know what scientists think, I ask scientists," he said. He also noted that Horner is not a scientist either but "an industry lawyer."

Colmes jumped in to say that the Inhofe report "cherry picked" the scientists. He added, "I can come up with a whole group of well-known scientific organizations with peer-reviewed scientists who basically show and agree with the U.N. report that there is human effect on climate change, that's something we have to pay attention to. The 400 you're talking about is a pittance compared to the vast number of scientists who believe otherwise."

"Mine's bigger than yours, Alan," Horner scoffed.

"You're quite a man," Colmes quipped.

You can read Colmes' and Roberts' takes on this discussion on their blogs.