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Rush Limbaugh claimed that the term ‘polar’ vortex had been coined just this week by ‘wackos’ on the American left as part of a ‘hoax.’ (Brad Trent/KRT)
Rush Limbaugh claimed that the term ‘polar’ vortex had been coined just this week by ‘wackos’ on the American left as part of a ‘hoax.’ (Brad Trent/KRT)

Tabatha Southey

And the medals for climate-change denial go to ... Add to ...

The best part of being climate-change deniers must be enjoying the cold weather so much. They’re like people who love to ski, if skiing involved astounding levels of intellectual laziness, not special pants.

The combination of credulity and misplaced skepticism found in climate-change deniers, their ability to believe that the overwhelming amount of peer-reviewed evidence from scientists that has repeatedly shown that climate change is occurring, is caused by a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and is potentially devastating to many species, including humans, isn’t convincing, is like a lift pass to these people.

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The temperature drops below a certain level and their fun begins. Part of me wants in. I want there to be an upside to all this frostbite and fleece for me too. I don’t dislike winter, but I want a reason to relish the season – something beyond its stark beauty, which the tilt of the Earth’s axis brings the lights down on at 4:30 p.m. anyway.

The closest I get to practising a winter sport is making French onion soup and I don’t come anywhere near climate-change-denier-at-minus-14-levels-of-glee when I do. Let’s face it, climate-change denial is the ultimate winter sport and this past week, with the polar vortex upon us, we witnessed the Climate Change Denial Winter Olympics.

The bronze medal goes to veteran climate-change denial Olympian Donald Trump, who brought his skills of pontificating loudly and crassly upon subjects about which he knows nothing (a skill honed in the fields of almost every subject discussed since the mid-eighties) to the games. Mr. Trump tweeted: “This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice.”

It was a classic Trump performance: A mention of supposed grave financial costs made while deftly ignoring the financial costs of the floods, fires and storms should he be wrong. This was followed by an expletive of the kind used by the people in movies who speak truth to power and who are never wrong. Note Mr. Trump’s final pivot to a mischaracterized news event, a classic denier move. Mr. Trump was referencing a research vessel with some tourists aboard that got stuck in Antarctic ice this week. The existence of ice, in the Antarctic of all places, was seized upon by deniers as proof that everything’s right in the world. More inexplicably, they also found it hilarious.

I never heard where they stood on this week’s record-breaking temperatures in Australia, where it was reported that 100,000 bats fell from the sky in the heat.

I’m sure Mr. Trump’s entirely random use of all-caps impressed the judges as well. Climate-change denial is, after all, a sport often played in newspaper comment sections. These sections are the frozen ponds of climate-change denial, where the kids play and dream of being on Fox and Friends.

The silver medal goes to Rush Limbaugh for his long, dazzling performance on his radio show, where he claimed the term “polar vortex” (the weather event first documented in 1853, and used in The New York Times as early as 1974) had been coined just this week by “wackos” on the American left as part of a “hoax.”

Mr. Limbaugh won for the scope of his performance. Anyone with a limited understanding of science can claim all the data and predictive models showing the Earth is warming and that people are responsible is simply wrong – either in the way it’s being collected, or the way it’s being interpreted. It takes a master of the sport to claim that an overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists are secretly involved in a left-wing conspiracy that often involves being in cold places because, for the left, it’s all “part of their agenda to grow government, raise taxes, limit freedom and control people.”

The gold medal goes to the man I passed who was hacking ice away from his front walk with a shovel, looked at me and said, “So much for global warming.” It was simple. It was timeless. And he clinched his spot by landing the perfect eye-roll.

Blood alcohol levels are being checked on all the winners to ensure that they weren’t drunk when they opined – being completely loaded is, under the official rules, considered to be the equivalent of doping in the highly competitive field of saying really stupid things about climate change. But as it stands, congratulations to all the winners.

Follow on Twitter: @TabathaSouthey

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