90s TV show debunks Fox climate skeptics

Tucker Carlson.

Tucker Carlson, born to prevaricate? Image: punditwatch.com

Bow-tie wearing conservative commentator Tucker Carlson, who currently faces a firestorm from critics on the right and the left for saying that football player Michael Vick —the ex-con who served time for his part in an illegal dog-fighting ring—should have been executed, is also on the hot seat for a recent segment where he mocked climate scientists.

Sitting in for equally befuddled Fox opinion host Sean Hannity, Carlson alleged that climate scientists don’t know anything about what’s going on with the “weather” and that they should just admit that they’re making things up as they go along. He said recent winter storms disprove global warming, yet finds himself amazed that climate scientists are now pushing severe winter weather as proof of it.

I’m shocked, shocked!

On the show Carlson laughed at a New York times Op-Ed on climate change, climate scientists in general and his guest, Betsy Rosenberg, host of Progressive Radio’s The Green Front.

Along with climate science debunker Chris Horner*, author of Red Hot Lies, Carlson maintained the pretense throughout the segment that until recently climate scientists had solely talked about the weather getting hotter, saying they had called winter “a thing of the past.” But now that he says their global warming doomsday scenarios haven’t come to pass, Carlson muses incredulously:

The story keeps changing…ten years ago the idea was that climate is getting warmer, that’s how you know we have global warming. And if you deny that you’re basically a Holocaust denier. And now if it’s colder than average, that’s still global warming.

Carlson suggests that the all-seasons extreme weather theory from climate scientists is brand spanking new.

Something old, something new

But interestingly, last night, when I was watching an episode of the brilliant TV series Northern Exposure – courtesy of Netflix— a line in the episode shows that the “warming as cooling” notion was already in the popular mind almost twenty years ago.

In the episode titled “On Your Own,” which originally aired November 9, 1992, Anthony Edwards (later of ER fame) played new Cicely resident Mike Monroe. Monroe, who lives in a sterile geodesic dome to avoid environmental toxins, tells Maggie about climate chaos. Showing her charts he’s monitoring on desertification, Monroe explains that it’s the result of man’s impact on the earth. He says:

The greenhouse effect. Global warming. The earth is cooking itself. Could bring on the next ice age.

So if the idea was already being circulated on an ordinary CBS network TV show back in ’92 that CO2 induced warming could result in weather extremes, colder weather, and even a new ice age, then it had clearly already filtered from obscure science into pop culture, making Carlson’s claims of its novelty now either more evidence of his lack of research and reptilian brain stupidity or his knowing prevarication.

At what point are climate debunkers going to drop their lame pretenses? Do they have to wait for their own kids to be ravaged by storms, disease, and a lower quality of life, or might they consider action on climate change sooner than that?

*Chris Horner is not a climate scientist but an attorney.

— Lindsay Curren

You might also enjoy


  1. Shawn says

    Right on, good find! This is just the precipitation that follows any normal societal death knell. Folks with no scientific background whatsoever pop out of the woodwork spouting denials of human environmental impact in an effort to maintain public confidence in the status quo. Usually there is something or someone propping them up somewhere just out of sight. Or in plain site, as the case may be. :)

    • says

      Thanks for your thoughts, Shawn. You do have to wonder how deniers can continue to maintain that a visible impact is actually NOT an impact. It would be like seeing a dog take a crap on the lawn and then saying, “What mess? Where?” At some point the insane need to be pushed aside if they don’t have the intellectual clout to deal with real and present issues.

  2. Mark Nicholson says

    Did you happen to see the latest Fox News jem entilted The 6 Myths about Oil. My favorite is certainly myth #3: “because oil is finite it will inevitably run out”. The premise being that Oil experts are always wrong and have been predicting imminent depletion of oil since 1885. Conveniently the author fails to mention M.K. Hubbert correctly predicting United States peak domestic oil production in 1970. A minor detail I suppose. Thanks for all the hard work at Transition Voice, it is appreciated.

    • says

      Mark — Thanks for letting us know about the Fox piece. It’s a pretty interesting melange of ideology and mistaken facts, especially about peak oil never going to come. Lots of wishful thinking there. But maybe it’s a sign that Fox is about to start an attack on peak oil, even though their own Glenn Beck thinks it’s as big a danger to Americans as he thinks terrorism is (see #11 here: Top 10 peak oil books of 2010).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *