Politifact Names Climate Change Denial “Lie of the Year”.

December 22, 2014

Readers of Politifact, the journalistic fact checking site, have named Climate Denial the year’s Dumbest Idea. Above, a prime example of piping hot dumbness.


Climate change was in the news this year, starting with the polar vortex at the beginning of 2014 and continuing with the Keystone XL pipeline and proposed carbon-cutting regulations on power plants.

But what stuck with readers were the claims that flat-out denied climate change science. The statement “Climate change is a hoax” won PolitiFact’s annual Readers’ Poll for Lie of the Year with 31.8 percent of the vote.

That claim was the title of a five-minute video released by congressional hopeful Lenar Whitney, a Republican from Louisiana. Several climate scientists told PolitiFact that Whitney’s claim was “laughable,” “deeply misguided,” “uninformed,” “disgusting” and “absurd.” We called it Pants on Fire. Whitney, meanwhile, didn’t even make the run-off.

Here, then, are other highlights from our fact-checks about climate change in 2014.

The hoax

Politicians with much higher profiles than Whitney also have argued with basic climate change science, such as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a potential 2016 presidential contender. He said in May that human activity is not “causing these dramatic changes to our climate.” We rated that claim False.

How do we know climate change isn’t a mass conspiracy to pull the wool over the world’s eyes, as Whitney and others claim?

Such a scenario seems near impossible, considering the overwhelming consensus among respected climate scientists that anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming is indisputable.

Research also shows that climate change denial is concentrated among those who have less expertise in the subject or no scientific training at all.

New Polling continues to swing hard against climate denial, with the latest AP poll showing a majority of even Republican voters wanting regulation of greenhouse gases.


Six in 10 Americans, including half of all Republicans, said they support regulation of carbon dioxide pollution, although they weren’t asked how. Nearly half of Republicans said the U.S. should lead the global fight to curb climate change, even if it means taking action when other countries do not. And majorities across party lines said environmental protections “improve economic growth and provide new jobs” in the long run, a popular Obama administration talking point.

The picture of Republicans that emerges from the poll runs counter to the monolithic view of Republicans in Washington as a global warming-doubting, anti-environmental regulation party keen on attacking Obama’s environmental plans. And the results come as the Obama administration continues to forge ahead on its own with aggressive plans on climate change, even if it means going head-to-head with a Republican-controlled Congress that could derail the administration’s environmental legacy.

“The American people have made it clear they know climate change is real, and that we can protect the planet and grow the economy at the same time,” Frank Benenati, a White House spokesman, said after reviewing the poll results. “Climate deniers in Congress and those who would try to block efforts to address the climate challenge would do well to listen.”

Most readers of this blog are members of the “reality based community”,  and respect science, fact, and real observation over ideology.  It is up to us to make sure that those in the denier camp, or even those who refuse to take a position, are challenged and confronted constantly with the statements of uber-climate denier James Inhofe, incoming Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who has said the findings of 97 percent of relevant, working scientists are “a hoax”.

Climate deniers are to humanity what Strom Thurmond, Bull Connor, and the Lester Maddox were to civil rights, and they must never be allowed to escape their culpability.  The hinge of history is swinging now, and those that have obstructed humanity’s path to a liveable planet will be judged harshly by generations to come.


6 Responses to “Politifact Names Climate Change Denial “Lie of the Year”.”

  1. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Lie of the millennium, more like.
    Spinning the truth and centrifuging it out of existence are not the same thing!

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    “It is up to us to make sure that those in the denier camp, or even those who refuse to take a position, are challenged and confronted constantly…”

    OOH-rah and Semper Fi!

  3. indy222 Says:

    The thing is – it’s such a huge return-on-investment to do what Lenar Whitney does. Any of us could sit down and spin lies with not much effort. Multiply that effort by a thousand and that’s what the pro-science people have to invest to properly get out the word to the same audience that the science for human-caused global warming and a dire future is very solid. RealClimate.org, ClimateCrocks, tons of scientific papers…. tens of thousands of man-hours. 1000 to 1 ROI is something any investor would KILL for. (Did I just say that? as in, their own children’s children’s future).

  4. MorinMoss Says:

    Last paragraph needs an edit, too many Stroms:

    “Climate deniers are to humanity what Strom Thurmond, Bull Connor, and the Strom Thurmond were to civil rights”

    And Merry Xmas to you.

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