The battle between CNBC anchor Joe Kernen and environmentalists is escalating on Twitter and over the airwaves.
Kernen, co-host of CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” on Friday bashed “enviro-socialists” who are criticizing him, and shortly afterward added, “It is a bona fide cult.”
Kernen’s remarks come as the anchor and his network are under fire from climate advocates. His Twitter exchanges with critics can be viewed here.
A June report by the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America said more than half of CNBC’s 2013 climate coverage cast doubt on human-induced climate change.
Two other groups — Forecast the Facts and Environmental Action — have launched an online petition criticizing CNBC’s climate coverage.
“Tell Joe Kernen and your other on-air personalities and guests to stop denying climate science and start reporting the facts on the economic risks of fossil-fueled climate change,” states the petition directed at the network’s president.
On Friday, Kernen’s “cult” comment arrived during his interview with John Hofmeister, the former Shell Oil Co. president who now heads the group Citizens for Affordable Energy.
Hofmeister said the Obama administration wasn’t doing enough to enable the transition from oil to natural gas as a transportation fuel.
“You better just set your alarm clock for three years from now because you are not going to get a speech about natural gas and energy independence here, you got a climate change speech. That’s what you got, and a big one,” Kernen told Hofmeister, referring to President Obama’s climate speech last week.
“Joe, that’s what I call foolishness. We are not dealing with the real problems. I mean, let’s face climate change over time,” Hofmeister replied, which led Kernen to quip, “that’s easy for you to say.”
“You don’t have a house on the coast that is going to get swept into ... New York is going to be under 32 feet of water, Hofmeister, you better get with the program,” Kernen said in a jab at environmentalists.
The overwhelming majority of scientists say human activities are a major driver of global warming.