2022 was a year of unabashed climate change denial

2022 was a year of unabashed climate change denial

Updated: 22 days, 13 hours, 37 minutes, 34 seconds ago

As gas prices skyrocketed, in part due to the global energy disruption resulting from the war in Ukraine, and American families started to become frustrated, right-wing media took the opportunity to blame climate policies. They insisted that high prices were being caused by a fake crisis manufactured by the government, arguing that climate change was a hoax from the beginning.

An October 6 Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that “the White House blames the industry for high gas prices while it does everything it can to make drilling more difficult and financially risky.”

Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, Donald Trump went on Fox Business’s Mornings with Maria on March 2 and called climate change a hoax while discussing the Biden administration's energy policy, saying that “this climate situation is killing our country.”  

He did the same thing in a March 21 segment of Fox Business’s Varney & Co, saying what the left does “is a climate hoax.” When asked by host Stuart Varney whether climate change is caused by human activity, Trump responded: “In my opinion, you have a thing called weather, and you go up and you go down. If you look into the 1920s, they were talking about global freezing. … The climate’s always been changing,” he continued. 

Media Matters documented ample disinformation about gas prices and the Keystone XL pipeline extension during that period. Some right-wing media influencers claimed the Biden administration was adding insult to injury by allegedly driving high gas prices and lying to Americans about what could be done to fix the situation in order to carry out its agenda. 

Fossil fuel shill Daniel Turner of Power the Future wrote on April 18, “There is no climate crisis and oil is back to $110 because everything @JoeBiden says is a lie.” 

Kurt Schlichter, a Townhall columnist and podcast host, alleged that Biden was more committed to “the idiotic members of the climate change hoax cult” than he was to lowering gas prices for families. 

Schlichter has been a loud and consistent voice for climate change denial. But for someone who believes it doesn’t exist, he certainly spent a lot of time obsessing over it in 2022. He tweeted “climate change is a hoax” or similar statements at least 145 times in 2022, or an average of nearly three times per week, and penned op-eds like “Don’t Let Them Reset Society To Make You Into a Bug-Eating Serf” and “Climate Hoax Hacks Love Putin” in which he claimed that “you cannot claim to both oppose Putin and fight global warming.” 

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton was also an influential Twitter climate misinformer in 2022, voicing opposition to climate policy such as the Inflation Reduction Act, and posting climate skeptic and denialist content. “Taxes on energy, subsidies for favored corporations, dangerous drug price controls will increase inflation. And -- Fact check: There is no ‘climate crisis,’” he tweeted on July 28. 

Judicial Watch is a member of the State Policy Network, which has deep ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Koch-funded lobbying group that has most recently been working to punish fossil fuel divestment. When Biden was considering declaring a climate emergency in July, Fitton wrote, “There obviously is no ‘climate emergency’-- for Biden to dictate otherwise is a desperate abuse of power.”

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