Climate Deniers Peddled Conspiracy Theories as Millions Prepared for Hurricane Matthew

By Climate Denier Roundup

Hurricane Matthew

wasn’t an ordinary storm. It killed more than a thousand people in Haiti and at least 20 in the U.S. Its trail of widespread devastation was shocking and it will take the affected regions time to recover.

But while 1.5 million people were being asked by Republican governors to head to safety for the fear for their lives, Drudge


if the government was lying to its people to “make an exaggerated point on


.” During the time when hurricane-related reported deaths in Haiti jumped from 20 to more than 300, Drudge questioned National Hurricane Center’s data in a

now-infamous tweet

. Several people (such as

Jason Samenow of WaPo


Libby Nelson of Vox

) wrote against his outrageous claims for not only trying to score cheap political gains but also putting lives in danger.


Not to be outdone, Rush Limbaugh

too accused the government

of “hyping Hurricane Matthew to sell

climate change

,” earning the ire of even the

Daily Dot


Without having any other evidence to disprove the solid climate science

linking Hurricane Matthew to climate change

, the denial community has been repeating one fact ad nauseam—the

arbitrarily defined

major hurricane drought

.” It’s a classic case of cherry-picking data that trivializes the lives disrupted and lost by

major storms

like Matthew,


and others



While the U.S. has been fortunate that no


has made landfall in the past decade as a Category 3 or higher, the fact remains that hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin

has increased since the 1970s

. And there is also increasing evidence of landfalling


in Asia have

become more intense

over the last four decades due to warmer waters. Politifact has

a great article

on this subject.

From the time it became apparent that the hurricane will seriously impact the U.S., everyone swung into action. Experts sought to look for climate signals to understand in advance what potential impacts might be. Governors announced states of emergency and mandated evacuations. Climate deniers peddled conspiracy theories.

While most stocked up on food and water, deniers were content with tin foil.



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