As hurricanes and wildfires rage, US climate politics enters the realm of farce

Sep 12, 2017

By David Roberts

On Tuesday afternoon, as Southern Floridians nervously watched Hurricane Irma become a Category 5 monster, they received an odd message from popular right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh: The hurricane forecasts are not to be trusted.

In “official meteorological circles,” he said, “they believe that Al Gore is correct” about climate change. They “desire to advance this climate change agenda,” he warned, “and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it.” So these meteorologists, he argued, create needless fear and panic.

What’s more, local TV stations are hyping the hurricane to drum up bottled-water sales for local businesses. (Seriously.) For Limbaugh, the hurricane conspiracy goes deep.

If you can put aside how irresponsible it is to send that kind of message to a group of people in real and serious danger (uh, extremely irresponsible), it’s almost funny. This is what conservative climate denial has come to. Even with one climate-amplified hurricane barely in the rearview mirror, another barreling down, and much of the Western half of the country on fire, the only reaction someone like Limbaugh can imagine is to double down. He would rather deny an oncoming hurricane than accept climate change.

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7 comments on “As hurricanes and wildfires rage, US climate politics enters the realm of farce

  • @OP – In “official meteorological circles,” he said, “they believe that Al Gore is correct” about climate change.

    Yeah! I mean they won’t accept those proper Republican ALTERNATIVE FACTS and those Democrats just keep quoting this meteorological sciency stuff that has been actually measured with instruments and satellite photographs!

    They “desire to advance this climate change agenda,” he warned, “and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it.” So these meteorologists, he argued, create needless fear and panic.

    I know! They have even stopped using wet seaweed to make weather forecasts and keep telling people where stoms are and the wind speeds!!
    Frightening stuff – but don’t worry TYRRrrroooo Republicans will be reassured by Limbaugh’s assurances and recognise all those fake photographs of hurricane damage! 🙂 !

    Even with one climate-amplified hurricane barely in the rearview mirror, another barreling down, and much of the Western half of the country on fire, the only reaction someone like Limbaugh can imagine is to double down. He would rather deny an oncoming hurricane than accept climate change.

    They also keep fitting those alarmist smoke detectors and fire escapes, in buildings! 🙂



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  • @OP – they received an odd message from popular right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh: The hurricane forecasts are not to be trusted.

    In “official meteorological circles,” he said, “they believe that Al Gore is correct” about climate change. They “desire to advance this climate change agenda,” he warned, “and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it.” So these meteorologists, he argued, create needless fear and panic.

    What’s more, local TV stations are hyping the hurricane to drum up bottled-water sales for local businesses.
    (Seriously.) For Limbaugh, the hurricane conspiracy goes deep.

    Well what a surprise! 🙂
    See how pseudo-science and science denial plays out in the real world!

    Meanwhile:- Back in the land of Trumpist fantasy!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41447187

    The mayor of Puerto Rico’s biggest city has berated a Trump cabinet official who called the US response to Puerto Rico, “a good news story”.

    Homeland Secretary Elaine Duke had said she was “very satisfied” with progress, calling it “a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people”.

    The San Juan mayor hit back: “Damn it, this is not a good news story. This is a people are dying story.”

    Over a week after Hurricane Maria struck, millions still need urgent aid.

    The category 5 hurricane, the most powerful to hit Puerto Rico in at least 90 years, has claimed 16 lives on the island and left millions lacking medicine, food, cellular communications, shelter, and clean water.

    “Well maybe from where she’s standing it’s a good news story,” Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told CNN as Mrs Duke was preparing to board a plane for Puerto Rico, a US island territory.

    “When you’re drinking from a creek, it’s not a good news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good news story.”

    Around 44% of Puerto Ricans lack access to drinking water, and utility officials say it may takes months before electricity is restored, allowing clean water to begin flowing again.

    I wonder how many Puerto Ricans and Floridians, are applauding the “GREAT” response of the the Trump administration?



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  • It seems despite grandiose military posing world-wide, the Trump regime cannot solve a supply problem for a small patch of US homeland!
    (How clever do you need to be to fly in or ship in, supplies of bottled water and some dried and tinned food?)

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/29/san-juan-mayor-criticizes-us-officials-for-calling-puerto-rico-relief-effort-good-news

    ‘Close to genocide’: San Juan mayor’s dire appeal to US for Puerto Rico relief

    Carmen Yulín Cruz makes direct call to Donald Trump: ‘I am begging you to take charge and save lives. Enough is enough’

    The mayor of San Juan lashed out at Trump administration on Friday, decrying its relief effort in the wake of hurricanes Jose and Maria and saying if it doesn’t solve the logistics “what we we are going to see is something close to a genocide”.

    “We are dying here,” Carmen Yulín Cruz said at a press conference, speaking with tears in her eyes. “I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out the logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles. So, mayday we are in trouble.”



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  • It seems the standard Trump response to criticism, of the “GREAT” Trump leadership, has once again emerged!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41452995

    Donald Trump has lashed out at Puerto Rico politicians over their criticism of US relief efforts on the island following Hurricane Maria.

    The category four hurricane a week ago killed 16 people on the island and left millions in need of aid.

    In a series of tweets, Trump said that Puerto Rican officials showed “poor leadership ability” and “want everything to be done for them”.

    Yeah! Right – With the mayor living in a shelter, with no electric power for most of the islands, limited drinking water, food-shortages, demolished buildings, blocked roads, and ports and airport damaged, why aren’t they doing it all for themselves without bothering Trump! –
    After all – he has serious business to deal with, – such as exchanging insults and threats with North Korea, slagging off black football protesters, and making replacement appointments for the incompetents he chose to appoint to senior positions in the first place!

    It comes after the Mayor of San Juan made a desperate plea for federal help.

    “We have no time for patience any more,” said Carmen Yulin Cruz in a news conference.

    “I am asking the president of the United States to make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives.

    That could be rather optimistic, when looking at Trump appointments and Trump budgets, to be spent on helping ordinary citizens who are in difficulty!

    “I am done being polite.
    I am done being politically correct.
    I am mad as hell.”

    She then appeared in a T-shirt that said “Help us, we’re dying” for a CNN television interview.

    The mayor, who is living in a shelter after her home was destroyed, said Puerto Rico is set to be without power for six to eight months after the storm damaged 90% of homes on the island.

    Almost half the island’s 3.4 million population are without drinking water, the US Defence Department said on Thursday.

    Efforts are being made on the island to clear road access and restore hospitals to working conditions.

    In a series of tweets on Saturday morning, Trump suggested the mayor had been told “to be nasty to Trump” by his Democratic opposition.

    It follows widespread criticism of his administration’s response to the hurricane.

    Responding to Trump’s tweets in an interview the mayor said:
    “I was asking for help. I wasn’t saying anything nasty about the president.”

    “I will continue to do what I have to do, say what I have to say, compliment the people that I have to compliment, and call out the people that I need to call out.

    “This isn’t about me. This isn’t about anyone. This is about lives that are being lost.”



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  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-41478640

    The Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, says US federal support has surged ahead of a planned visit on Tuesday by President Trump.

    Mr Trump has fiercely rejected criticism of the relief effort after Hurricane Maria struck the island nearly two weeks ago.

    The governor said over 1.5 million barrels of fuel would reach Puerto Rico in the coming days.

    He said about half of Puerto Rico now had water supplies.

    Federal authorities say more than 10,000 relief workers are now on the ground covering the whole island.

    Mr Rossello said about a quarter of Puerto Rico would regain power by next month with around 10% of households expected to have electricity in the next two weeks.

    He added that almost half – 47% – of residents had running water and the number would climb to 60% by the end of the week.

    Mobile phone service has been restored to 40% of the population although some areas are still cut off from communication.

    The governor said the most pressing issues were getting diesel fuel to hospitals so they could run generators to provide electricity.

    Around 10 hospitals have power but some have shut down temporarily.

    Mr Rossello explained that the critical issue was how to distribute water, food and medicines to neighbourhoods and towns with many roads impassable or damaged.

    There are still around 8,000 people in around 140 shelters around the island.

    So it appears that some effective action is being taken in anticipation of Trump’s “triumphant arrival”, although his self-congratulation, is unlikely to go down well with those who are still living in shelters, those who have no water, and those who are still separated from relief supplies by blocked roads, on an island only 100 miles long!

    President Donald Trump defended his administration’s efforts in Puerto Rico, tweeting: “We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico.

    “Outside of the Fake news or politically motivated ingrates people are now starting to recognize the amazing work that has been done by FEMA and our great Military.”

    Earlier he had attacked the mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, after she criticized the federal government’s response to Maria.

    The Trump administration, does however, have climate policies which will ensure a bountiful supply of powerful future hurricanes, and opportunities for many “GREAT” relief efforts!



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  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41504165

    The mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, has described Donald Trump’s visit to the hurricane-hit island as “insulting” and called him a “miscommunicator-in-chief”.

    Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz described his televised meeting with officials as a “PR, 17-minute meeting”.

    The sight of him throwing paper towels to people in the crowd was “terrible and abominable”, she added.

    Mr Trump tweeted it had been a “great day” in Puerto Rico.

    But he also took another swipe at the reporting of his trip.

    Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump

    A great day in Puerto Rico yesterday. While some of the news coverage is Fake, most showed great warmth and friendship.
    11:25 AM – Oct 4, 2017

    Tuesday’s five-hour presidential trip to San Juan came two weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, and followed complaints that the US government’s handling of the storm’s aftermath was too slow.

    Only 7% of the island has power and more remote parts of the island – a US territory – have been without food, water and basic medical aid.

    Before landing on the island, Mr Trump graded his own administration’s response as an “A-plus”.

    During his televised meeting with emergency responders and officials of Puerto Rico, he went out of his way to praise – and seek compliments for – the federal response.

    After his meeting, he toured in and around San Juan, stopping at a church to hand out relief supplies and throwing paper towels into the crowd.

    At one point he reportedly glanced at a pile of solar-powered flashlights and – apparently unaware of the ongoing power problems – said “you don’t need ’em anymore”, the Washington Post reports.

    Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told MSNBC after the visit that his meeting with officials had been a PR exercise in which “there was no exchange with anybody, with none of the mayors”.

    “Well you know what? They are dying. They don’t have the medical resources,” she pointed out.

    Ms Cruz said he had become “sort of like miscommunicator-in-chief” who showed no interest in reaching out to those who were suffering. But she went on to say “his staff, on the other hand, seemed to want to approach this a different way”.

    She tweeted after the meeting:

    Carmen Yulín Cruz✔@CarmenYulinCruz

    Meeting with WH staff productive. They REALLY understood the disconnect between how things are supposed to happen and how they really happen
    8:50 PM – Oct 3, 2017

    Ms Cruz had been called a poor leader by President Trump in a tweet at the weekend after she accused his administration of “killing us with the inefficiency”.

    On Tuesday, she shook hands with him and told him: “It’s about saving lives, it’s not about politics”. He did not respond.

    Following the visit, the White House announced it was preparing to send a $29bn (£22bn) disaster aid request to Congress.

    Of that, $13bn would be for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas, while the other $16bn would be for the government-backed flood insurance programme.

    Given the time which has elapsed since the floods in Texas, Florida, and the advanced hurricane warnings, isn’t this a bit late to be STARTING TALKING about funding aid and relief efforts?



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  • @OP – As hurricanes and wildfires rage, US climate politics enters the realm of farce

    I see the next wild-fires have arrived!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41559875

    Parts of California’s wine region are being ravaged by fast-spreading fires that have killed at least one person and seriously injured two others.

    Mass evacuations have been announced as several others are reportedly missing.

    About 20,000 people have fled from Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties after fires broke out across the area renown for its vineyards.

    The governor of California declared an emergency as firefighters battled to control the wild blazes.

    “These fires have destroyed structures and continue to threaten thousands of homes, necessitating the evacuation of thousands of residents,” the declaration said.

    Napa County’s fire chief warned that conditions were hindering firefighting efforts, as further resources were brought in from across the state.

    One person died in Mendocino County when thousands of acres burned in one valley. Further injuries have been reported and others are said to be missing.

    Dozens of vineyard workers were reportedly airlifted to safety overnight.

    The fires are particularly fast-spreading because of the combination of high winds, low humidity and hot, dry weather.

    The National Weather Service has issued a warning for the San Francisco area that “any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly”.

    One vineyard owner told the LA Times that he thought his property was likely destroyed after he and his family escaped from a fire late on Sunday night.

    The fire department’s website estimates that tens of thousands of acres have already been destroyed in at least 14 fires, making it one of the most destructive outbreaks California has seen.

    In September the Californian city of Los Angeles suffered the largest wildfires in its history.

    The Trump administration (mentally as sharp as a sausage roll as usual), says now is not the time to discuss mitigating climate change, but has plans to “end the war on coal” and increase production – and of course increase the associated CO2, air, and river pollution!



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