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Conservative media and Trump dismiss climate change as the cause of fires

Rush Limbaugh told millions of his radio listeners to put aside any suggestion that climate change was to blame for the frightening wave of wildfires that ravaged California and the Pacific Northwest.

“Man-made global warming is not a scientific certainty; it cannot be proven, nor has ever been, “said Mr. Limbaugh in his Friday show, ignoring the mountains of empirical evidence to the contrary. Then he moved on to a popular right-wing argument: that policies intended to reduce climate change are, in effect, an assault on freedom.

“Wackos environmentalists” – Mr. Limbaugh’s phrase – “want the man to be responsible because they want to control your behavior,” said the conservative presenter on the show. He added that “they want to convince you that your life choices are the reason all these fires are spreading on the left coast.”

Hours later, that message leapt into prime time on Fox News, where host Tucker Carlson said those who blamed climate change for the fires were merely reciting “a biased talking point.”

“Well, I don’t think science knows, actually,” Trump retorted.

The president’s comments are likely to resonate with fans of conservative media personalities who routinely defend his agenda.

“This 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 be managed properly, but they are not.” Mark Levin, another popular right-wing radio host, said Friday on his nationwide syndicated program.

A man in Oregon was accused last week of lighting the destructive Almeda fire in a small town he was ordered to evacuate. But authorities say rising temperatures are a predominant cause of this year’s outbreak.

For the president’s political supporters, the idea that dishonest shooters are wreaking havoc is a tantalizing echo of a key message adopted by Trump and Republicans in the presidential race: that regions of the country have been consumed by leftist violence.

And Mr. Trump continues to downplay environmental factors. When asked “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday about its political plans to combat climate change, the president replied, “You have forests all over the world. You don’t have fires like California.”

The Californians were discussing how to reduce the risk of deadly fires, with some officials arguing for more controlled burns. An August press release from the office of Gavin Newsom, the California governor, noted that the state’s forests were “highly vulnerable to catastrophic wildfires and in need of active, science-based management,” partly due to the harsh conditions. hot and dry weather created by changing.

Mr. Newsom has asked the federal government to play a more active role in managing the state’s forests. About 58 percent of California’s forests are controlled by the federal government; the state owns 3 percent.

For environmental advocacy groups, problematic media coverage of fires is not limited to platforms associated with the law.

The Environmental Defense Fund, in a harsh post, said that many mainstream media outlets have failed to draw a direct link between widespread destruction and the dangerous consequences of a changing climate.

“It’s like talking about the greater spread of Covid while ignoring why it is spreading,” the group wrote.

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