CNN’s Lou Dobbs: Belief in Global Warming 'Almost a Religion'

Lou Dobbs, CNN Anchor; & Ines Ferre, CNN Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgOn his program on Monday evening, CNN anchor Lou Dobbs criticized the proponents of the theory of manmade global warming in response to a report by correspondent Ines Ferre about the latest climate data: “[T]hey bring this thing to a personal belief system. It’s almost a religion, without any question...” He went on to criticize the “crowding out of facts and objective assessment of those facts...there’s such selective choices of data as one discusses and tries to understand the reality of the issues that make up global warming.”

Dobbs set the tone early as he introduced Ferre’s report, which began 41 minutes into the 7 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program: “The issue of global warming is, of course, a controversial and divisive topic, and it has been such for some time....Either way, somebody gets offended. Well, tonight, relax, we have another report for you, and all of who you believe in global warming will be challenged, and the facts, if you’re not interested in the facts, you shouldn't pay attention, as Ines Ferre reports.”

Ferre outlined how the data from this past year painted a “confusing picture of our world’s climate.” Apparently, 2008 was “the ninth or tenth warmest year since 1850, when record keeping began, but it also was the coolest year since the turn of the 21st century.” Later, she played two clips from manmade climate change skeptics. She also briefly discussed the possibility that “future regulations on greenhouse gas emissions could include what could amount to a cow tax.”

After her videotaped report concluded, Ferre introduced another possible explanation for climate change -- the sun’s natural cycle of sunspot activity: “There are also more questions over claims that so-called global warming is manmade. Scientists are looking at sunspot activity. They're linking the presence or absence of sunspots to warmer or cooler temperatures on earth.”

The full transcript of the segment from Monday’s Lou Dobbs Tonight:

LOU DOBBS: The issue of global warming is, of course, a controversial and divisive topic, and it has been such for some time. This broadcast has, on occasion, been criticized by either side for challenging global warming theories, or simply saying why not accept the idea of global warming as a basis for stewardship of the planet? Either way, somebody gets offended. Well, tonight, relax, we have another report for you, and all of who you believe in global warming will be challenged, and the facts, if you’re not interested in the facts, you shouldn't pay attention, as Ines Ferre reports.

INES FERRE (voice-over): A confusing picture of our world’s climate. Three independent research groups found that 2008 was the ninth or tenth warmest year since 1850, when record keeping began, but it also was the coolest year since the turn of the 21st century. New data from the University of Illinois says ice levels are roughly the same as those seen 29 years ago. But after decades of ice-melt in the Arctic, that may be of little comfort. The increase is because of the formation of thin ice which melts easily once the winter is over. Even so, one climatologist skeptical of global warming feels the entire debate is muddled with selective data.

JOSEPH D’ALEO, CLIMATOLOGIST: We are too short-sighted, or certainly the -- those who believe in it are not looking at the all -- big picture, which needs to include other factors -- the natural cycles in the ocean and of the sun, that are the real drivers.

FERRE: NASA scientists report that more than 2 trillion tons of land ice in Greenland, the Arctic, and Antarctic have melted since 2003. Some farmers fear future regulations on greenhouse gas emissions could include what could amount to a cow tax. The United Nations calculates livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

PAT MICHAELS, CATO INSTITUTE: Extremism in the pursuit of climate policy is certainly no virtue, and what's really going on is we have rather a moderate increase in temperature, so why would one jump off the bridge and take money away from people?

FERRE: The Environmental Protection Agency says methane, a greenhouse gas associated with livestock, is ‘not being considered for regulation at this point.’

FERRE (on-screen): There are also more questions over claims that so-called global warming is manmade. Scientists are looking at sunspot activity. They're linking the presence or absence of sunspots to warmer or cooler temperatures on earth. Lou?

DOBBS: Yeah, the one -- the one issue here, and as we have examined and reported on the issue of global warming, it is so clear that on both sides, but particularly the pro-global warming, if there is such a thing, if I can put it that way, they are -- they bring this thing to a personal belief system. It’s almost a religion, without any question, and what we’re watching now -- we’re, what, the second year of the solar sunspot activity cycle, an 11-year cycle, and many scientists are saying, my gosh, compared to what our sun can do, man has minuscule influence.

FERRE: And there’s some scientists that say that, for example, last year, there were 266 days out of all of last year that there was no sunspot activity, and so they’re saying now this is going to indicate cooler temperatures on earth. But yeah, I mean, people are very passionate about this topic.

DOBBS: Well, and passionate -- we’re all concerned about this planet. We’re concerned about our atmosphere, our air, our water, and our children’s futures. But there seems to be such a crowding out of facts and objective assessment of those facts, and as the scientists, the climatologist in your report suggests, there’s such selective choices of data as one discusses and tries to understand the reality of the issues that make up global warming. Thank you very much, Ines Ferre -- nice job.

FERRE: Thank you.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center