FOX News now claims that humans cause global warming. This is progress at Fox. Some hope that coverage of anthropogenic (human caused) global warming will spread to other parts of FOX’s parent company News Corp.
FOX News is among a handful of media outlets now claiming that wind turbines somehow cause global warming. Opps. Yes, wind farms move hot air. No, wind farms do not cause global warming. The FOX coverage is upsetting some environmentalists because the coverage distorts the truth. Instead, we should celebrate that FOX is admitting that humans can cause global warming.
Coal power is at a 16-year low in the United States as we make progress with energy efficiency, renewable energy, and efficient natural gas power plants. Wind power has been growing at over 25 percent annually taking market share from coal. The United States leads the world with about 100 TWh of windpower electricity. Globally, wind power is now equivalent to hundreds of coal power plants.
Up to now, Big Oil and Big Coal have counted on FOX and News Corp to keep the public confused about the cause of global warming. Increased regulation of emissions from oil refineries, auto tailpipes, and coal power plants could force industry to invest billions. Big Oil and Big Coal don’t want risky climate change blamed on CO2, they want it blamed on sunspots, volcanoes, and long-term cycles.
The fossil fuel industry hopes that we will be confused about climate change. They do not want us to remember the chemistry we learned in high school.
Risky Climate Change
The formula for the combustion of coal is C + O2 = CO2. Dirty coal power plants add billions of tons of CO2 to the atmosphere each year.
The chemistry is simple and with zero debate. Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons which generate energy through combustion which results in CO2 which traps heat in the atmosphere for an average of 100 years. Notice that climate deniers attack people, or certain models, or certain field verification studies. They don’t attack basic chemistry because they can’t.
How about the engines in our cars, trucks and planes? The formula for the combustion of gasoline is 2C8H18 + 25O2 ~> 16CO2 + 18H2O. The formula is similar for diesel, jet fuel, and other fuels refined from oil. We know how much coal and petroleum products are being combusted, therefore we can calculate how much CO2 is emitted.
We are emitting about 35 billion tons of CO2 each year from use of fossil fuels. These CO2 emissions from coal, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other fossil fuels stay in the atmosphere for an average of 100 years trapping heat. In 100 years, that is 3.5 trillion tons of added CO2 accumulation.
A billion people are already threatened by global warming caused stresses to food production, clean water availability, and 100-year storms that are starting to happen every 5 years. My 88-year old mother has twice been evacuated for wild fires that are becoming more frequent.
We don’t see FOX and the fossil fuel industry question the basic science, instead we them attack scientists, distort, and create confusion.
‘Do Wind Farms Really Cause Climate Change?
NRDC’s Switchboard Blog: ‘Do Wind Farms Really Cause Climate Change?’:
“A number of news outlets have picked up a recent paper that looks at the local land surface temperature impacts of large wind farms. This has resulted in a number of headlines like ‘Wind farms can cause climate change’ and ‘Wind farms linked to temperature increase’ … This wording is deeply misleading in this context and conflates small-scale, local impacts on nighttime land surface temperatures and global climate disruption.”
OK, the FOX commentators may have forgotten their high school science, but at least they are starting to cover anthropogenic global warming.
Although FOX is blamed for denying that humans cause global warming, their wind coverage shows that the accusation is unfair. This isn’t even their first coverage of global warming. Some years ago, they reported that a Prius emits more greenhouse gas than a Hummer.
FOX should get due credit for demonstrating that we should never underestimate the ability of a small group of dedicated individuals to generate a lot of hot air.
By John Addison (5/2/12)