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Monday, March 11, 2013

CBS News Ignores Study Finding Temperatures Are Highest In 4,000 Years

by JILL FITZSIMMONS, Media Matters, March 11, 2013

CBS News is the only major TV news network other than Fox News to ignore a new study finding that global temperatures are higher now than at any time in the past 4,000 years, further evidence of the threat of rapid manmade global warming.

A study published Friday in the journal Science reconstructed global temperatures for the last 11,000 years, establishing the longest continuous temperature record. According to the National Science Foundation's Candace Major, the research shows that "we've experienced almost the same range of temperature change since the beginning of the industrial revolution as over the previous 11,000 years of Earth history - but this change happened a lot more quickly." Shaun Marcott, the study's leading author, added: "We've never seen something this rapid. Even in the ice age the global temperature never changed this quickly."

Marcott's temperature reconstruction is consistent with the famous "hockey stick" graph published by Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann in 1999, which conservative media outlets have repeatedly sought to discredit, as this chart from Mother Jones illustrates:

Scientists say this is further evidence that human activity is driving global warming, noting that Earth was in a cooling period for thousands of years before a sudden reversal after the Industrial Revolution. Under nearly any emissions scenario, Marcott noted, Earth's temperatures will rise "beyond anything human society has ever experienced" by 2100. If we continue on our current emissions path, some project we could far exceed past temperatures, as illustrated in this chart by ClimateProgress:

The new research was covered by every mainstream TV news network, including ABC, NBC, CNN and MSNBC. But CBS has yet to cover it on air, merely posting an Associated Press article on its website. 

The only other network to ignore the story is Fox News, which has a history of distorting climate research and dismissing the link between human activity and rising temperatures.

Media Matters analysis published earlier this year found that CBS News and the other broadcast networks have devoted minimal time to climate change since 2009.

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