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.
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.