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In Honor Of Earth Day, Cavuto Attacks Environmentalism

Reported by Ellen - April 23, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Brian

On yesterday's (4/22/09) Your World, Neil Cavuto called combating global warming "chasing a ghost that might not be real." He interviewed interrupted guest Dan Weiss of the Center for American Progress. When Weiss refused to capitulate to Cavuto's unfounded accusations that a) global warming has not been proven and b) environmental solutions will cost too much money, Cavuto ended the interview with frustration. With video.

Cavuto, showing his obvious preference for dealing with climate change asked, "What if we did nothing, Dan?”

Weiss said we'd still pay a lot more for energy. He pointed out that during the Bush administration, “We did nothing about reducing pollution, and our energy prices went up."

Cavuto said that oil prices went down to $10 a barrel in the early 80's while we were doing nothing about pollution.

"You're wrong, Neil,” Weiss said. “What we were doing then was implementing stronger fuel economy standards for cars. (Weiss is correct about that) That's one of the reasons why the price went down because Americans started using less oil to drive their cars." He added that we stopped doing that in this decade “and we still saw prices go up.”

Unable to rebut that, Cavuto switched gears. "You get these reports out of Antarctica now that's there's more ice now... So what's going on?"

Weiss replied, "Neil, you're only partly right. That's in the Eastern half of the Antarctic, but in the Western half of the Antarctic, the ice is melting faster than predicted.” He added that the hole in the ozone layer over the eastern half would close “over time” and cause the eastern half to start melting, too.

Cavuto demanded to know how Weiss knew that. Pointing to the fact that the “brainiacs” got it wrong for the western half, Cavuto asked why he should trust Weiss' predicitons now.

Weiss said he's not “predicting,” ice is already melting in the western Antarctic. “It's happening now. Scientists are measuring it.” Weiss went on to say that the pine bark beetle is eating trees in Colorado now where it used to be too cold for it to exist.

“I don't want to go with the pine bark beetle,” Cavuto snapped. “I'm back in Antarctica and I'm back at all this extra ice.” He went on to accuse Weiss of wanting to have his cake and eat it too for blaming extra ice and melting snow on global warming. “Man, oh man, what's the deal? ...Anything can suit your position.”

Weiss did an excellent job. He correctly pointed out that he had never said the “extra ice” was part of global warming but that the hole in the ozone layer “is leading to the eastern Anatarctic ice thickening.” He reiterated that the ice in the western Antarctic is melting “faster than scientists predicted” and added that “it's also melting in other places on the globe.” He tried to continue with, “Scientists are also saying...” but Cavuto cut him off.

“I think you're snowing me,” Cavuto quipped. He called Weiss brilliant but accused him of "playing fast and loose with these flaky snow arguments."

Weiss, a savvy guest, did not allow Cavuto to stop him. "It's too warm to be snowing,” Weiss said. He concluded by saying the current proposals in Congress "would leave lower and middle income people better off. Why? Because with efficiency they will use less energy, and they will save money." Weiss pointed to California which, he said, had the highest electricity rates in the country but energy bills on a par with other Americans. “They use less, they pay less,” he said.

Cavuto accused Weiss of “compelling” people to spend thousands of dollars “chasing ghosts that might not be real.” But other than highlighting a report about ice in part of the Antarctic, Cavuto never cited any scientific data to prove there's a legitimate doubt about climate change – other than his own skepticism. He conveniently ignored this statement from the Environmental Protection Agency:

Scientists know with virtual certainty that:

Human activities are changing the composition of Earth's atmosphere. Increasing levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere since pre-industrial times are well-documented and understood.

The atmospheric buildup of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is largely the result of human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels.

An “unequivocal” warming trend of about 1.0 to 1.7°F occurred from 1906-2005. Warming occurred in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and over the oceans (IPCC, 2007).

The major greenhouse gases emitted by human activities remain in the atmosphere for periods ranging from decades to centuries. It is therefore virtually certain that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will continue to rise over the next few decades.
Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations tend to warm the plane


Weiss refused to back down and Cavuto ended the segment in exasperation.