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From Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, to the establishment of the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants, to a landmark international climate agreement, 2015 has been full of major landmarks in national and global efforts to address global warming. Yet you wouldn’t know it if you inhabited the parallel universe of the conservative media, where media figures went to ridiculous and outrageous lengths to dismiss or deny climate science, attack the pope, scientists and anyone else concerned with climate change, and defend polluting fossil fuel companies. Here are the 15 most ridiculous things conservative media said about climate change in 2015.
15. Fox News Hosts Congratulate Sen. Inhofe for Using a Snowball to Dispute Global Warming
The Feb. 28 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Saturday aired footage of Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) bringing a snowball onto the Senate floor to dispute the scientific finding that 2014 was the warmest year on record. Following the footage of Inhofe’s stunt, co-host Tucker Carlson declared, “Well that’s Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe using a snowball on the floor of the Senate to make his point about global climate change. The whole country seems to be blanketed in the white stuff. This, during global warming.”
The hard-hitting questions Carlson and the other Fox hosts had for Inhofe were why some people are “trying to shut down debate” on the causes of climate change, whether the U.S. should be “nixing” all climate change-related funding, and how Inhofe was able put together such a “nicely packed, well-constructed” snowball.
14. National Review Promotes Absurd Climate Change Chart to Suggest Lack of Warming
National Review tweeted that a misleading temperature chart published by Powerline’s Steven Hayward was “[t]he only #climatechange chart you need to see.” Hayward wrote that his chart displayed average annual global temperature “with the axis starting not just from zero, but from the lower bound of the actual experienced temperature range of the earth,” and claimed, “[i]f this chart were published on the front page of newspapers the climate change crusaders would be out of business instantly.”
National Review’s tweet was roundly criticized for the chart’s obviously misleading scale (with an appropriately scaled y-axis, the chart shows a demonstrable increase in global temperatures), with Kevin Drum of Mother Jones writing that Hayward’s re-scaled chart was “so phenomenally stupid that I figured it had to be a joke of some kind.” Several Twitter users responded to National Review by jokingly posting examples of similarly misleading charts, including one that the Union of Concerned Scientists described as showing “comfort in the idea that nobody really reads the National Review online.”
— National Review (@NRO) December 14, 2015
13. Michael Savage: Pope Francis Has Been “Hand-Selected By The New World Order” And Is A “Danger To The World“ For Acting On Climate Change
After the release of Pope Francis’ papal encyclical on climate change, which calls for climate action in order to help the world’s poor, conservative radio host Michael Savage declared that the pope has been “hand-selected by the New World Order,” called him a Marxist and “eco-wolf in pope’s clothing,” and compared him to the false prophet in the book of Revelation “directing mankind to worship the Antichrist.” Savage concluded that “we are living in global tyranny right now.”
12. Ted Nugent: Wildlife Populations “Actually Increase” Because Of Energy Development. In a column for The Daily Caller, National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent falsely claimed that wildlife populations “actually increase and expand” in areas where pipelines, oil drilling, fracking, coal mining, and other forms of energy production occur. The next day, Nugent posted to Facebook that he wanted to drive “over the rotting corpses” of “algore [sic] & all the pathetic greenies.”
11. Mark Steyn Invokes Image Of Terrorists “Sawing Bernie Sanders’ Head Off” To Attack Sanders For Linking Climate Change To Terrorism. On the November 16 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co., conservative pundit Mark Steyn mocked Sen. Bernie Sanders’ broadly accurate comments linking climate change to the rise of ISIS by declaring: “[ISIS leader] al-Baghdadi will be sawing Bernie Sanders’ head off, and he’ll be saying as his neck is being sliced, ‘If only we’d had an emissions trading scheme.'”