Rush Limbaugh: Climate Change Misinformer of the Year

by  Jocelyn Fong and Shauna Theel, in a Media Matters cross-post

In 1994 Rush Limbaugh declared, “There is no global warming going on,” adding that scientists “admit” they “may need 20 years more data to prove it.” Since then, Limbaugh has managed to shield his brain from 18 years of mounting evidence that humans are changing the climate. “Science has made enormous inroads in understanding climate change and its causes,” according to the National Research Council’s latest report assessing the state of climate science. “There is a strong, credible body of evidence, based on multiple lines of research, documenting that climate is changing and that these changes are in large part caused by human activities,” the report said.

Limbaugh, whose radio show reportedly reaches roughly 14 million people per week, remains the most prominent and cocksure denier of human-induced climate change in the news industry. His unyielding belief that the world’s earth scientists are perpetrating a “hoax” has led him to some interesting places this year, from declaring that the heat index is “manufactured by the government,” to accusing NASA of sabotaging its own research satellite, to announcing that the National Academy of Sciences has “lost all credibility.” Given his large following, Limbaugh’s extreme and misguided position may well have influenced the Republican presidential primary by discouraging candidates from speaking about the threats posed by global warming. Indeed, Limbaugh made this litmus test explicit, saying “bye, bye, nomination” after Mitt Romney acknowledged the human contribution to climate change. For all this, on top of his typically bombastic distortions and obfuscations of climate science, Limbaugh wins the distinction of 2011 Climate Change Misinformer of the Year.

“Hoax”: Rush Limbaugh’s Intractable Climate Change Denial

Limbaugh: Global Warming “Is A Hoax … I Get Blue In The Face Repeating This Over And Over Again.” On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh said:

LIMBAUGH: Al Gore wrote in his blog, “Good for Mitt Romney. Though we’ve long passed the point where weak lip service is enough on the climate crisis while other Republicans are running from the truth, Mitt Romney is sticking to his guns in the face of the anti-science wing of the Republican Party.” There you go. So has been Romney endorsed by Algore on his stance on global warming, which is a hoax. There is no “settled science,” as I get blue in the face repeating this over and over again. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/16/11]

Limbaugh: “I Don’t Need Scientific Proof” To Know It’s A Lie. From the March 8 edition of Limbaugh’s radio show:

LIMBAUGH: How did I know global warming is a hoax? ‘Cause of who’s behind pushing it. Liberals. They lie.


LIMBAUGH: If there ever is scientific proof — and see, I don’t need scientific proof because to me the people who are promoting manmade global warming are a bunch of frauds. They are liberals, they lie. It’s not a generalization. It is an undeniable truth of life. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/8/11]

Limbaugh: The National Academy Of Sciences Has “Lost All Credibility” Because Climate Change Is “Bogus.” Responding to a caller who had questioned Mitt Romney about his stance on climate change at a New Hampshire debate, Limbaugh said that NAS had “lost all credibility” and that scientists “basically made it all up” at the University of East Anglia:

CALLER: I specifically quoted from a 2010 National Academy of Sciences report. I have two quotes here; the first is, they concluded — and by the way, the National Academy of Sciences, as you know, is considered the Supreme Court of science in this country. It was founded in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln and it is charged with giving the Congress unbiased scientific information. Now their conclusion was quote “a strong credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.

LIMBAUGH: Then they’ve lost all credibility, it’s a bogus claim.


CALLER: I don’t know where you’re getting the hoax from, sir. I mean, I’m looking at –

LIMBAUGH: Well it’s called the University of East Anglia at Anglian — the Hadley Climate Center where they basically made it all up, pure and simple. It’s a hoax, there’s nothing true about it. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/8/11]

  • Multiple investigations have cleared the scientists at the University of East Anglia of falsifying data. [Media Matters, 8/8/11]

Limbaugh: “Anything To Do With … Climate Change Is Now An Official Scam.” On August 30, Limbaugh said:

LIMBAUGH: And in fact all it is is a giant slush fund — one slush fund after another, federal taxpayer dollars going to Democrat candidates, supporters, donors, what have you, under the guise of creating a new industry, “green jobs,” weatherizing homes, protecting the environment, saving the climate. It’s a huge, huge scam. Anything to do with energy and the environment that involves manmade global warming, climate change is now an official scam. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/30/11]

Limbaugh: The Science “Is Fraudulent And Is A Hoax.” On November 10, Limbaugh said:

LIMBAUGH: Despite proof now, despite evidence that global warming is a political issue, not a science issue, and that the science aspect of it is fraudulent and is a hoax, we have a story here from the French News Agency: “The World Has Five Years Now to Avoid Severe Warming.”  That’s from the International Energy Agency.


The LA Times said it, and others have said that there’s no warming. It’s all over the place here. But they won’t let this die. It’s a political issue and it’s an international left-wing hoax, this whole notion of manmade global warming climate change. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/10/11]

Limbaugh: Global Warming “Is A Religion …There Is No Evidence.” Discussing a government initiative to recognize schools that make efforts toward environmental sustainability, Limbaugh said on May 17:

LIMBAUGH: The plan is for the U.S. Department of Education, the EPA, and the Council for Environmental Quality to develop the criteria this spring and summer and to issue the call for applications early in the fall. All based on a hoax. All based on a fraud. All based on global warming, which by the way, is a religion. It’s proponents cannot prove it. Belief in global warming requires faith because there is no evidence. There is no evidence of manmade destructive climate change, global warming, what have you. The evidence that we have suggests that the whole thing has been a hoax and a fraud. And yet, the left marches on, not educating but indoctrinating. And so now schools will be indoctrinating children to be good environmental citizens, which means wards of the state. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/17/11]

Limbaugh: God Would Not Create Humans “In Such A Way That We Would Destroy … Our Own Planet And Environment.” From the February 2 edition of Limbaugh’s radio show:

LIMBAUGH: When you have a bunch of bureaucrats with the power guiding them that says greenhouse gases constitute a danger to the public health and welfare, there’s no limits on them. I mean, when you’re fighting danger, when you’re fighting elements harmful to the public health and welfare, you can define anything you want however you need in order to exercise unchecked federal power. Martial law based on a hoax is one way of putting it. Now a greenhouse gas – one of them is what you exhale. Carbon dioxide, greenhouse gas, you exhale it and somehow we’ve gotten to the point where that is destroying the planet.

I happen to believe in God. I believe in a loving, brilliant – I know that this – there is no way, I don’t want to sound simpleton here, but there is not – it is not possible that we would be created by a creator in such a way that we would destroy by virtue of our created existence our own planet and environment. It just doesn’t compute and yet that’s what these people are trying to tell us. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/2/11]

Joceyln Fong and Shauna Theel are researchers at Media Matters for America.

This is an abridged version of the entire piece, published at Media Matters. For more head-exploding quotes from the year’s most vicious climate denier, go on over to the Media Matters for America website.

27 Responses to Rush Limbaugh: Climate Change Misinformer of the Year

  1. Zan says:

    Joe, here is an interesting discussion on the deniers.
    This Huffpo article is a comment on Naomi Klein’s
    brilliant Nation article, Capitalism Vs. The Climate.
    He says she is only half-right as what we have isn’t really capitalism but corporate welfare. What do we all think?

  2. Anderlan says:

    He’s the king of squawk! I like the idea that a benevolent Creator wouldn’t design the universe in a way that we could possibly hurt ourselves if we decided to! That’s the most anti-Christian crap I’ve heard in a while. There is personal responsibility but no group responsibility at alL!? Insanity. Want to find an enemy of Western Christian culture? There he is!

  3. Joe Romm says:

    I’ll do a piece on this next week.

  4. Raul M. says:

    Oh, Rush used two adjetives to describe God.
    He then went on to say what God’s intentions are?

  5. John Mason says:

    That post warrants a “your head might explode…” warning! Doubtless there is a psychological term for Limbaugh’s outpourings. I have a number of more commonplace adjectives, but in the interests of decency I shall keep them to myself!

  6. kj says:

    Limbaugh is a bafoon & a drug addict! Who listens to a right-wing looney instead of Nasa Scientists?

  7. Kermit says:

    Unfortunately, millions of Americans – the low information citizens, wrapped for years in a cocoon of propaganda, and infused with a rigid black and white world view. Rush and his ilk have fueled their fears of change and The Other, and created an army of hysterical haters of science, reason, and compassion. Their tribal markers are correct beliefs, and reality is merely a social construct. Since loyal members of the tribe only believe their claims held in common, which are so often at odds with reality (and fact checking is a sign of a lack of faith), and all who oppose them hate the Truth, it is true that reality has a liberal bias.

    We Muslims, atheists, liberals, French, gays, scientists, Nazis, etc. are truly all interchangeable because we all hate the goodness and purity of the most exceptional and holy country of all, the USA. Since we are the opposite of the Truth, we are indeed interchangeable in every important way. They see no humor, irony, or ignorance in calling someone a Muslim and atheist simultaneously, or a liberal and a Nazi.

    We are all doubleplus ungood, and that is the only distinction they need to know.

    Their conceptual map of the world is a collection of non sequitors, disconnected sound bytes not derived by reason, and therefore they feel no need to explain internal contradictions.

    What gets my goat is that we are blamed for the financial mess, and we will be blamed for the climate when they finally realize how bad it is.

  8. kj says:

    Kermit, sorry for my poor display of emotions. Your post was much more aligned with the true nature of the world we live in and I applaud you for your eloquence.

  9. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Utter denial of all the problems we face, to my mind is the clearest sign that our word wide society is racing to collapse.

    We have an economy that depends upon more and more, not more scare us deeply. How will we possibly cope with less and much less? Joe describes the word economy as a ponzi scheme. Do ponzi schemes slowly fade away? NO their collapse is always very quick, always.

    We keep saying it is the poor that will suffer the most from climate change. They have to scavenge what food they can find locally. We on the otherhand have this hugely comlex system that is incredibly vulnerable to disruption.

    How will we get food out of that supermarket that has not had a delivery for twelve weeks? We do not have the skills to scavenge in the wild.

    China may be closer to the brink of chaos, but they are at least trying to inch away. The US is running towards the brink of chaos, telling us it does not exist.

    Word population 2100: tens of millions. This is going to be ugly.

  10. squidboy6 says:

    yes, but more people believe the science than they do Rush.

    Boycott the companies that advertise when Rush speaks. Don’t let up when/if he changes his mind but continue the boycott until he’s off the air.

    This is something we can accomplish. Without corporate backing he’ll dry up and blow away.

  11. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Capitalism can only work decently, efficiently and non-destructively of the environment if money power is equalised by massive wealth redistribution. The great concentrations of money power pervert everything they come into contact with. Naturally, we do not see wealth equalisation, but the exact opposite, growing, unrivaled inequality, and increasing plutocratic misrule, even to the extent of destroying our ecological life-support systems. Of course, capitalism with equality, fraternity, limits to growth and rational planning for life sustainability, not profit maximisation, isn’t capitalism any more.

  12. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    God sends him messages. He hears them inside that perfectly formed cranial carapace of his.

  13. Mulga Mumblebrain says:


  14. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Bravo, Kermit! You understand the type well. We have them in Austr-failure, too. They are mostly failed wannabe klepto-plutocrats, but born into the wrong family, not smart enough to rip off others or just unlucky. They cannot blame themselves for their failure, or the system which greed and egomania they so ache to imitate, so they turn on those they see who refuse to live according to the law of Greed. This group of the disaffected greedy is burgeoning as society is more ruthlessly turned into a vast majority of ‘losers’ and a tiny caste of ‘winners’, ‘Them’ the 0.01%. To manipulate the worst amongst the losers to become foot-soldiers in defending the privileges of the very elite who destroyed their life prospects, is simplicity itself. Vast PR and media resources are at their disposal. It’s divide and rule, the oldest trick in the book.

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    World population 2100-tens of millions? You are an optimist, after all.

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Good idea, but I’m afraid that you can’t do it in Austr-failure. Calling for such boycotts was outlawed some time ago. Freedom of Thought (Amendment) Act, apparently.

  17. squidboy6 says:

    maybe, but it can be done here, since you don’t actually say where you’re talking about I assume you really have nothing to add.

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Steady on squidboy-I’m on your side. Go for it! Boycotting the destructors is 100% a good idea. However, in Australia they have anticipated the rabble turning non-compliant, and have outlawed ‘secondary’ boycotts.

  19. riverat says:

    Boycott? To do that I’d have to listen to Rush in the first place to know who they are.

  20. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    We could do it with a rotating designee, one head vice, and weekly reports.

  21. squidboy6 says:

    i’m sure somebody could Google it and find out, long ago I was working for the State of California and we had only an AM radio. Rush was on it frequently. My associate and I listened to him and were shocked at the fascism that came out of the radio.

    He’s a lot worse now, but his sponsors are probably limited. And probably it has the same effect on brain cells as a couple of beers.

    This next election is going to decide our future. Boycott the Kochs, Limbaugh’s sponsors, and the other obstructionists. It wouldn’t mean any change in lifestyle, and I’m sure Joe can provide a link or a list to the corporations who need to be alerted that their dollars matter with respect to who gets them. Boycotts worked with Beck, why not Rush?

  22. squidboy6 says:

    I just did a quick check of Google and Limbaugh’s sponsors are listed on numerous web sites. I plan on boycotting these organizations until they renounce Rush publicly (and maybe even longer) and sponsor actual news, not talk radio.

    It’s like boycotting BP. It doesn’t even cost more and Joe doesn’t even have to do anything. Plus, it’s the American Way.

  23. Mike Roddy says:

    Take a look at Sweden and New Zealand. Humane capitalism is possible.

  24. Merrelyn Emery says:

    C’mon Mulga. Great argument – but seconday boycott law refers only to going out on strike against an organization that isn’t your primary employer.

    You can stop buying anything anytime you feel like it and we should use it against the Jones boy, ME

  25. scas says:

    The real reason Rush says what he does is not because he doesn’t believe global warming is real, but because the people in power, aka the fossil fuel companies want:

    1: The targeted states to continue producing fossil fuels.
    2: They don’t want people to know the south is going to turn into a scorching desert and make the place totally uninhabitable.

    Rush knows full well global warming is a horror story from hell.

  26. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Merrelyn, try organising a boycott, so that it will be followed by more than just yourself, and see where you get. You will, I am certain, end up being sued for damages in civil court, where the richer party always prevails.

  27. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    But he’ll be dead before it hits the mega-rich, so he just don’t care. It comes with the personality type.