By Bill McKibben
Jul 14, 2012
Please don’t sweat the 2,132 new high temperature marks in June—remember, climate change is a hoax. The first to figure this out was Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who in fact called it “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” apparently topping even the staged moon landing. But others have been catching on. Speaker of the House John Boehner pointed out that the idea that carbon dioxide is “harmful to the environment is almost comical.” The always cautious Mitt Romney scoffed at any damage too: “Scientists will figure that out ten, twenty, fifty years from now,” he said during the primaries.
Still, you have to admit: for a hoax, it’s got excellent production values.
Consider the last few weeks. Someone turned on the rain machine up in Duluth, Minnesota, where they broke all their old rainfall records (and in an excellent cinematic touch flooded the city zoo with so much water that the seal escaped and swam down the road. You can make this stuff up). And when that was over, the production team hastened to the Gulf of Mexico, turning on the giant fans to conjure up Tropical Storm Debby—the earliest fourth storm of the season ever recorded, which dumped “unthinkable amounts of rain” on central Florida. (Giveaway movie moment: the nine-foot gator that washed into a Tampa swimming pool).
The special effects guys were doing their best in Colorado: first they cranked up the heat, setting a new state record at 115 degrees. And then came the fire stunts! They looked real enough—one Waldo Canyon resident wrote a harrowing account of driving his SUV across soccer fields to escape the blaze, with “a vision of hell in his rearview mirror.” But there were giveaways it was all faked: for one, the “flames” perfectly framed the famous chapel of the Air Force Academy, and on the very day the new cadets arrived. And really, the producers took it a bit too far: they staged a firestorm near the Boulder campus of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, forcing the evacuation of the planet’s foremost climate scientists. I mean, c’mon.