Rush Limbau has told millions of his radio listeners to put aside any suggestion that climate change is to blame for the terrifying influx of forest fires ravaging California and the Pacific Northwest.
“Anthropogenic global warming is not a scientific certainty; this cannot be proven, nor has it ever been, ”Mr Limbau said in his broadcast on Friday, ignoring mountains of empirical evidence to the contrary. He then turned to a popular right-wing conversation: that policies designed to limit climate change are in fact an attack on freedom.
Hours later, the report jumped to the most-watched time on Fox News, where host Tucker Carlson said those blaming climate change for the fires were simply reciting a “guerrilla conversation.”
“In the hands of democratic politicians, climate change is like systemic racism in the sky,” Mr Carlson told viewers. “You can’t see it, but be sure it’s everywhere and it’s deadly. And like systemic racism, you are guilty. “
Mr Limbaugh and Mr Carlson are two of the most prominent commentators in the right-wing media, where a rich history of climate negativity has merged with the Trump-era cultural war to give rise to deep skepticism about the idea that climate is a factor in fires ravaging the West Coast.
Like President Trump, conservative media stars reject climate change – which scientists say is the main cause of the fire – and point to poor forest management by local (and, conveniently, democratic) officials. Far-right websites, such as The Gateway Pundit, have blamed left-wing arsonists, fueling false rumors that authorities are blocking rescue efforts.
Visiting California on Monday to witness the devastation first hand, Mr Trump took over the western states to fail to manage forests properly. During a meeting with California officials who urged him to acknowledge the role of climate change in forest fires, the president said: “It will start to cool down. You just watch. “
“I want science to agree with you,” said Wade Crawfoot, California’s secretary of natural resources.
“Well, I don’t think science actually knows,” Mr Trump said.
The president’s comments would likely resonate with fans of conservative media personalities who regularly defend his agenda.
“It has nothing to do with climate change, it has nothing to do with man-made climate change, and it would certainly help if these forests in these wooded areas were free to manage properly, but they are not,” Mark Levin, another popular right-winger. radio host, said in his national syndicated broadcast on Friday.
Like Mr Carlson, Mr Levin made a link between climate advocacy and recent demonstrations of racial justice, suggesting that both causes – widely associated with liberals – offer a cloak for more sinister intentions.
“They want to talk about man-made climate change because they want to control you,” Mr Levin said. Just like racing stuff – “systemically racist” – so what do you want to do about it? He controls you. To beat you. You have to change your lifestyle, admit something. “
Some right-wing writers see an even darker origin in the outbreak of a deadly flame.
The Gateway Pundit, a conspiratorial website with healthy online support – its lead writer Jim Hoft was welcomed into the White House by Mr Trump – publishes publications claiming that left-wing anarchists are to blame, not the environment.
“Many arsonists have already been arrested in Oregon, Washington and California, but Democrats continue to blame forest fires for climate change,” Gateway Pundit said in a story, along with a video of an Oregon woman allegedly facing an arsonist. in your property. The site claims that the mass media ignores this story because “it contradicts their global warming and the story of the fight against weapons.”
Last week, a man in Oregon was charged with setting off the devastating Almeda fire in a small town that had received an evacuation order. But authorities say rising temperatures are the main reason for this year’s outbreak.
For the president’s political supporters, the notion that fraudsters are wreaking havoc is an enticing echo of a key message adopted by Mr Trump and a Republican in the presidential race: that the country’s regions have been engulfed in left-wing violence.
And Mr. Trump continues to reject environmental factors. Asked by Fox and Friends on Tuesday about his political plans to combat climate change, the president replied: “You have forests all over the world. You don’t have fires like in California. “
Californians are discussing how to reduce the risk of deadly fires, with some officials arguing for more controlled burns. A August news release from the office of Gavin Newsum, governor of California, said the state’s forests were “highly vulnerable to catastrophic wildfires and needed active, science-based management,” in part because of hotter and drier conditions. created by climate change.
Mr Newsom called on the federal government to play a more active role in forest management in the state. About 58 percent of California’s forest land is controlled by the federal government; the state owns 3 percent.
For environmental groups, problematic media coverage of forest fires is not limited to legal platforms.
The Environmental Protection Fund said in an acute post that many mainstream news stories had failed to make a direct link between widespread destruction and the dangerous effects of a changing climate.
“It’s like talking about the increased prevalence of Covid, while ignoring the reason it’s spreading,” the group wrote.