Wildfires raging in Canada shrouded the East Coast in smoke this week, leading to hazardous air quality that has led cities to cancel outdoor events. The unprecedented rash of fires is a clear result of climate change, but nothing — not even a post-apocalyptic orange tint or the ever-present smell of campfire — is going to stop conservative politicians and right-wing media figures from denying the reality of the crisis. They’ve even argued that actually, when you think about it, smoke choking out the nation’s major economic centers is a good thing.
Steve Milloy, a Big Oil mouthpiece who has long denied climate change, claimed on Laura Ingraham’s show Wednesday night that though the air might be ugly, it’s “not a health risk.”
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“This doesn’t kill anybody, it doesn’t make anybody cough, this is not a health event,” he added, contradicting public health experts and basic common sense. “This has got nothing to do with climate. This is wildfire smoke. This is natural. This is not because of climate change. This is not because of fossil fuels.”
Fox guest: There’s just no health risk…We have this kind of air in India and China all the time, no public health emergency… this doesn’t kill anybody, this doesn’t make anybody cough, this is not a health event… particulate matter is just very fine soot, they’re innocuous. pic.twitter.com/DB0hDmqRwC
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) June 8, 2023
It’s true that fossil fuels did not become sentient and strike the match that caused the fires, but aggressively burning oil into the atmosphere for decades has indeed caused the Earth to warm, creating ideal conditions for wildfires — which is why there are now more of them than ever.
Milloy isn’t the only talking head to dismiss the fires as nothing to worry about. Greg Kelly on Newsmax blamed them on “our woke friends to the north,” before describing the smoke as “manageable,” “not an unpleasant odor,” and “a beautiful, interesting aura.”
Kelly at least acknowledged that the smoke could be harmful for people with respiratory issues, but he of course denied that it has anything to do with climate change. “The White House is trying to exploit this, saying it’s all because of global warming,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s a forest fire.”
Newsmax's Greg Kelly praises the smoke from Canadian wildfires, saying “It's a beautiful, interesting aura” and “it's not an unpleasant odor, to be honest”https://t.co/G4tYUX9NXx pic.twitter.com/HyQJiHWZra
— Jason S. Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) June 8, 2023
Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.) didn’t flat-out deny the fires were connected to climate change, but he did take a page from his party’s mass shooting response playbook to argue on Fox & Friends Thursday that now “isn’t the moment to start lecturing people about the science of climate change.”
Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro on Fox & Friends: It's too soon to politicize the smoke by lecturing about climate change (sound familiar?) pic.twitter.com/2v3TnIXQwC
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 8, 2023
The Republican Party and its propaganda operation will, of course, never believe the moment is right to take climate change seriously. They’re either too ignorant to acknowledge reality or too craven to care about the havoc it’s going to wreak on future generations — or, as has been plainly obvious to anyone living on the East Coast this week, the current one.
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