"It is past time to call out Trump and all climate deniers for this crime against humanity. No more treating climate denial like an honest difference of opinion."
As Houston begins its long recovery from Hurricane Harvey, epic wildfires burn throughout the western U.S., and Irma charges toward Florida after devastating several Caribbean islands, while two other storms build strength in the Atlantic basin, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh is among those helping to expose the deadly consequences of climate change denialism by claiming threats posed by such global warming-related events are being exaggerated.
And so while climate activist Bill McKibben on Thursday morning warned that "we've never had anything quite like" the current fires and storms now being experienced, it was The Nation's Mark Hertsgaard who argues, in a piece titled "Climate Denialism Is Literally Killing Us," that those who have made it public policy to downplay the threat of man-made climate change should be held to account for the deaths that such denialism is now causing.
During his show on Tuesday, Limbaugh told his listeners: "There is a desire to advance this climate change agenda, and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it.... All you need is to create the fear and panic accompanied by talk that climate change is causing hurricanes to become more frequent and bigger and dangerous, and it's mission accomplished, agenda advanced."
He also alleged that reporting about hurricanes results from a "symbiotic relationship between retailers and local media" that "revolves around money," adding: "The media benefits with the panic with increased eyeballs, and the retailers benefit from the panic with increased sales, and the TV companies benefit because they're getting advertising dollars from the businesses that are seeing all this attention from customers."
But these comments—which arrived as people in the Caribbean made emergency preparations for landfall and officials in Florida began announcing mandatory evacuations—were immediately decried as irresponsible.
"To state the obvious, these are potentially dangerous comments from Limbaugh, who is based in Palm Beach, Fla.," writes Callum Borchers for the Washington Post. "He is encouraging listeners who might be in Irma's path not to take seriously the official guidance disseminated through the media."