C: Fox News via X (Twitter)

As I write, over a thousand people are still missing from the devastating wildfires that ravaged the Hawaiian town of Lahaina two weeks ago. Over a hundred are confirmed dead.

Meanwhile, in southern California, communities are clearing up from Hurricane Hilary, the first tropical storm to hit southern California in 84 years. Hilary dumped 3 inches of rain on Palm Springs, leading to road closures and flooding. It dumped over a foot of rain in other places, smashing records.

Both extreme events are not isolated. The deadliest fire season on record in Canada has seen an area twice as large as Greece burn: some 14 million hectares. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes.

Each day has become a living hell for those trying to avoid the smoke and flames, as long-standing climate activist and colleague, Tzeporah Berman, tweeted two days ago:

There is no doubt that climate change is to blame for the ferocity of the fires. A recent scientific research found that the burning of fossil fuels had made the Canadian fires at least twice as likely and the fire-prone weather at least 20 per cent more intense.

And it is not just the U.S. that is experiencing extreme weather, either:

Amongst this backdrop of extreme weather, fires, flames, and floods, we are entering the United States’ 2024 Presidential Election season.

Last night saw the first Republican presidential debate, with eight candidates vying to be the Party’s nominated candidate. Although the biggest climate denier of them all, Donald Trump, did not even bother to turn up, with a 40 per cent lead in the race, the other candidates were quick to show their climate denial credentials.

The Fox News hosts pointed out that climate change was the issue of biggest concern to young Americans.

When asked by these moderators to raise their hands if they believed man-made emissions were to blame for climate change, none of the candidates did so.

As the New York Times reported under the title: “Chaos Erupts When Republican Candidates Are Asked if They Believe in Climate Change,” although there “is no scientific dispute on the question, but almost none of the Republican presidential candidates gave a straight answer.”

Some went further.

One of the surprise winners of the night was Vivek Ramaswamy, the 38-year-old biotech entrepreneur, who is currently third in Republican polling. The New York Times said, “It was the Ramaswamy show.”

Ramaswamy has already shown he is a conspiracy theorist with “sympathy for conspiracy theories around the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the January 6 assault on the Capitol,” according to the Guardian.

And Ramaswamy launched into a climate denier diatribe: “Let us be honest as Republicans — I’m the only person on the stage who isn’t bought and paid for, so I can say this — the climate change agenda is a hoax,” he said. “More people are dying of bad climate change policies than they are of actual climate,” he added.

He continued that the “anti-carbon agenda is the wet blanket on our economy.” In his closing speech, Ramaswamy said: “Fossil fuels are a requirement for human prosperity.”

Commentators on X, previously called Twitter, were quick to point out how flawed these views were and how they fared with voters:



There was one small dissenting voice last night. Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations Ambassador, said “Is climate change real? Yes, it is. But if you want to go and really change the environment, then we need to start telling China and India that they have to lower their emissions.”

It is not only the GOP that remains in climate denial. Media Matters has just undertaken an analysis of the coverage of Hurricane Hilary, which scientists believe was made worse by a combination of El Nino, climate change and the heat dome affecting the US.

According to Media Matters, “during coverage of Hurricane Hilary’s unprecedented landfall in California… major TV news networks largely ignored the clear signals of climate change driving Hilary’s unique path and rapid intensification.” The analysis found that Only 4% of the 430 segments and weathercasts about Hurricane Hilary across national TV news mentioned the role climate change played in the storm.

Media Matters added, “While such extreme weather captures public attention, the undeniable influence of global warming must also be consistently reported, offering crucial context for viewers to understand the necessity of climate action.”

The credibility of both the GOP and American media is on the line on climate change. Young people in America – as elsewhere across the globe – are demanding climate action. They can no longer be ignored.

And they will not vote for a party in denial. And they will dump the media for not telling the truth. The old ways are gone. As our world burns, the new normal teaches us nothing less.

One Comment

  • We’re seeing enough disruption of regional weather to indicate that something is happening to the overall climate. These changes are following what McKibben, Hansen, Dr. Santer, and the IPCC have been telling us for decades. We’re seeing the unfortunate outcomes of their predications.

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