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Week of 12.8.06

Climate Change and the Media Senate Hearings

On December 6, Republican Sen. James Inhofe held his last hearing as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. The hearing was titled "Climate Change and the Media," and was called to examine, according to the Senator's office, "how the media has presented scientific evidence regarding predictions of human-caused catastrophic global warming." Most of the individuals called to testify have expressed publicly that the dangers of global warming are exaggerated in the media.

"Senator Inhofe believes that poorly conceived policy decisions will result from the media's nonstop hyping of 'extreme scenarios' and dire climate predictions," said committee Communications Director Marc Morano. "This hearing will serve to advance the interests of sound science and encourage rational policy decisions."

Among statements made at the hearing:

Dan Gainor, Director, Business & Media Institute:

"We're here to discuss the media coverage of the climate change debate. But there's only one problem, there is almost none of that debate actually in the media. Journalists pledged to be neutral, long ago gave up their watchdog role to become lapdogs for one position. The media became alarmist claiming the planet is at a 'tipping point' as if at any moment everything would go over the edge."

Dr. David Deming, University of Oklahoma:

"There is an overwhelming bias today in the media regarding the issue of global warming. In the past two years, this bias has bloomed into an irrational hysteria. Every natural disaster that occurs is now linked with global warming, no matter how tenuous or impossible the connection. As a result, the public has become vastly misinformed on this and other environmental issues."

Dr. R.M. Carter, James Cook University, Australia:

"Given the many uncertainties and inadequacies in our understanding of climate science ... and the lack of empirical evidence for human causation how has it come about that public opinion in Western nations is convinced that dangerous, human-caused warming is occurring? The answer is the public have been conditioned by the relentless repetition of alarmist climate messages through the media."

Naomi Oreskes, Director, Science Studies Program, University of California, San Diego:

"The purpose of my 2004 study of the scientific literature, published in the peer-reviewed journal 'Science,' was to assess how much disagreement remained in the scientific community about the basic reality of global warming and its human causes. The answer surprised me: not one scientific paper in the random sample disagreed with the consensus position. Scientists, my study showed, are still arguing about the details, but the overall picture is clear. There is a consensus among both the leaders of climate science and the rank and file of active climate researchers."

Related Links:

» Watch the full hearing

» Hearing statements

» NOW: Political Science

» NOW: The Political Climate

» NOW for Educators: Global Warming Lesson