It's official: The media no longer believes in global warming

Sen. James Inhofe's right-hand climate-skeptic man declares an end to fears of man-made climate change. Whew!

By Andrew Leonard

Published October 16, 2009 9:39PM (EDT)

An e-mail arrives from Marc Morano, former communications director for the Republicans on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and right-hand climate-skeptic-man to Sen. James "global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" Inhofe.

The opening line:

Despite the fact that 2009 has officially been "declared year the media lost their faith in man-made global warming fears," there still remains many deep seated journalistic failings when it comes to the mainstream media's global warming coverage.

Officially! Really? Why didn't I get the memo? Thankfully, Morano provided a link to his source, which turns out to be... a blog post written by none other than Morano. Nice work. I've got to try that trick!

It has finally happened. We have reached the "tipping point."

2009 can now be officially declared the year the media lost their faith in man-made global warming fears.

Before I go any further, I must provide a disclaimer, lest I be accused of attempting to hide or otherwise obscure my previous relationship with Inhofe. Readers who can remember back to last November will recall that Inhofe attacked me by name, on the Senate floor, as an example of "environmental thuggery," citing as evidence a blog post I had written about the auto bailout. For all I know, Inhofe was tipped off to my foul deed by that eagle-eyed watchdog of faithless climate journalists, Mr. Morano.

So there's some history here. Or might be. Or hopefully will be, after this post.

I don't think one can really make any determination, official or unofficial, as to whether the media has lost its faith in the theory of man-made global warming. But what we can say is that, just as we have seen with healthcare reform, the near certainty that legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gases is imminent has also driven the special interests whose oxen will soon be gored into a last-gasp fever-driven explosion of propaganda that is day by day ever further divorced from reality. This boiling over of paid-for-and-delivered climate-skeptic insanity is hard to ignore -- thus, perhaps, the sense that we are seeing it reflected more frequently in the media.

Certainly we are hearing a lot of blather telling us that global warming cannot be happening because temperatures have decreased over the last decade. This is because, by some measures, the hottest year in the historical record happened way back in 1998.

Let's outsource this one to the Union of Concerned Scientists (italics mine):

This is an indefensible way of looking at the Earth's temperature record. Warming is a long-term trend and temperatures continue to increase over time, though they do fluctuate year-to-year. Counting only a few years in the global temperature record is akin to trying to determine who is winning a baseball game by only counting runs scored in the 7th and 8th innings. It ignores the broader, longer-term picture. In reality, the eight warmest years on record for the globe have all occurred since 1998, and the 14 warmest years in the record have all occurred since 1990. Global mean temperatures every year this century (to the end of 2007) were all above the average of the 20th century.

And for what it's worth, Joseph Romm reports that the latest data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicates that September 2009 was the second hottest September... on record.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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