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"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own fact." - Sen. Daniel Patrick “Pat” Moynihan [D-NY] (1927-2003)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Climate Change "Smoking Gun" That Wasn't

From Media Matters For America:

Following allegations that the EPA "suppressed" an internal document that was skeptical of climate change, several Fox News figures have advanced the document's false claim -- previously repeated by CBS -- that, in Fox News host Steve Doocy's words, "for the last 11 years, temperatures had been dropping." In fact, Doocy's claim simply is not true.

A draft of the EPA document stated in one of its "principal comments" that "[g]lobal temperatures have declined -- extending the current downtrend to 11 years with a particularly rapid decline in 1907-8 [sic]." The document went on to state that "[g]lobal temperatures have declined (Figure 1a) -- extending the current run of time with a statistically robust lack of global temperature rise to eight years (Figure 1b), with some people arguing that it can be traced back for 12 years."

In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, annual global average temperatures have both risen and fallen over the past 11 years, and while there have been some relatively cooler years during that period -- including a decline in each of the past three relative to the year before -- climate scientists reject the idea that those temperatures are any indication that global warming is slowing or does not exist. Scientists have identified a long-term warming trend spanning several decades that is independent from the normal climate variability -- which includes relatively short-term changes in climate due to events like El Niño and La Niña -- to which they attribute the recent relatively cooler temperatures.

Of course, this didn't stop conspiracy monger Alex Jones from picking up this ball and running with it.

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