- Green Minute
- Green Campuses
- Green Media
- Contact Us
Last summer in response to the fourth hottest July in U.S. history — the hottest ever in Oklahoma and Texas — Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News reheated climate denier myths. Their Fox & Friends show featured climate zombie Joe Bastardi, a wrestler and weatherman who believes the rapid global warming since the 1950s is a natural blip in the climate. Hosts Alisyn Camerota and Dave Briggs claimed that a “new NASA study” debunks man-made global warming. Bastardi then cited “the first law of thermodynamics” and “La Chatelier’s principle” to argue that the greenhouse effect from a 40 percent increase in a “trace gas” isn’t physically possible:
BASTARDI: When you look at carbon dioxide, it increases 1.5 parts per million each year. We contribute 3 percent of that, which means means that the human contribution is one part per 20 billion. Do you realize how small that is for a trace gas necessary for life on the planet? it is almost incomprehensible that this has taken off the way it has, the whole argument, it contradicts what we call the first law of thermodynamics: energy can neither be created or destroyed. So to look for input of energy into the atmosphere, you have to come from a foreign source and it is already out there. Carbon dioxide may be a part of it. May be the sun.
CAMEROTA: And what is that principle of Le Chatelier? Have I pronounced zat propairlee?
BASTARDI: I don’t know, but making a mistake with his name isn’t as bad as making a mistake with mine. That any system in distress, physical or chemical in the atmosphere, tries to return to normal. That is why you see temperatures leveling off. We have warmed up overall the last 20 to 30 years, over the last two hundred years, because of sun spot cycles, you can trace it to the sun spot cycles, and you can trace it to the oceans. Look, in the next 20 to 30 years global temperatures should return to where they were in the 70′s.
The paper that Camerota and Bastardi claim is a “NASA study” is no such thing — it’s a mathematically and scientifically flawed paper by climate denier Roy Spencer, a University of Alabama professor.
Most of Bastardi’s lies and obfuscations are so trite that one can simply refer to SkepticalScience’s list by number: #2, #7, #21, #32, #62, #78, and #132. Bastardi’s appeal to the first law of thermodynamics is actually a new one — usually deniers try to claim that the greenhouse effect violates the second law of thermodynamics (#59). The invocation of Le Chatelier’s principle has some merit. Once humans stop adding fossil-based greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the planet’s geochemical systems will restore an equilibrium — in many hundreds of thousands of years.
by Brad Johnson