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Rupert Murdoch on climate change: How little he knows

Australian-American Rupert Murdock, in an interview on Sky News on Sunday let his well-known skepticism for climate change and global warming take center-stage as he rambled on about how the weather has been changing back and forth for thousands of years. But seeing as he owns part of Sky News, he pretty much was able to say what he wanted.

The Impact of global warming on agriculture
Asamoah Francis, wikimediaCommons

Murdock is was could be called a "media mogul." His media holdings in the U.K. include The Times and The Sun. In the U.S., he has Fox News, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal, while his holdings in Australia include The Australian and a number of local newspapers.

One thing is well-known about the media outlets Murdock has his under his control, they are famous for the "misinformation" and myths about global warming they spout. And the inaccuracy of their media coverage on climate change is one of the reasons the public is confused.

In his interview, he basically dismissed the dire warnings of climate scientists, saying the alarming forecasts were not that devastating. "We should approach climate change with great skepticism," he said. "Climate change has been going on as long as the planet is here. There will always be a little bit of it."

In his live interview, Murdock showed just how misinformed he was about the facts, making outrageous statements to prove his ignorance, time and again. On the subject of predicted climbing temperatures worldwide, he expounded, saying:

"In terms of the world's temperature going up, the worst, the most alarmist things have said ... 3°C in 100 years. At the very most one of those will come from man-made, be man-made."

Actually, the 2014 IPCC report projected a four degree Celsius increase in global temperature during the next century, on top of the one-degree increase we have already caused, and all the increase in temperatures will be human-caused.

Murdock did acknowledge that there has been a "slight" rise in ocean levels, and even agrees this phenomenon could wipe out small countries like the Maldive Islands. But he also has a solution:

"If the sea level rises 6 inches, that's a big deal ... we can't mitigate that, we can't stop it. We've just got to stop building vast houses on seashores and go back a little bit."

His best "blooper" was his description of the situation underway with the North Pole sea ice melt. He pointed out that, yes, the North Pole ice cover was melting, but at the South Pole, it's getting bigger. The growth of Antarctic sea ice is not an indication for global cooling. In fact, a couple of recent studies have shown the collapse of the Western Antarctic ice sheet is underway and it's unstoppable.

When it came to discussing the increase in "greenhouse" gases being experienced worldwide, Murdock used the Tragedy of the Commons to blame China for the increase in CO2 emissions, saying "Things are happening, but how much are we doing with emissions and so on? Well as far as Australia goes, nothing in the overall picture. China perhaps."

Few people have heard of the Tragedy of the Commons. It is best described as:

"A dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone's long-term interest for this to happen."

If Murdock had been well-informed, as so many of his followers think he is, he would have acknowledged that Australia has the world's highest per capita level of greenhouse gas emissions, triple that of China. Australia, with 23,557,800 people has relatively small total CO2 emissions if you were to base the levels on population because China, with 1,365,570,000 people is the most populous country in the world.

But not being well-informed and using half-truths from people not having any expertise in the field of climate science has been one of the major faults of Murdock's media outlets all along. A well-informed public would be wise to not base their opinions on the kind of myths and half-truths being passed on as accurate information.

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