Friday’s terrorist attack is not something that, unless you are expressing your deepest sympathies for the victims and their loved ones, should yet be fodder for commentary. Despite what are surely good intentions, any attempts at witticisms or clever commentary comes across as crass opportunism. Unfortunately, as others have pointed out, it was quickly opined on by many, including almost every climate denial outlet. They focused on the connection between climate change and terrorism, generally by highlighting presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) answer to a question on the topic during Saturday’s Democratic debate.
While it is distasteful to even begin discussion on the scientific link between climate and national security so soon after the tragic event, some of the commentary deserves calling out. For example, Mark Steyn—a pundit who frequently fills in for Rush Limbaugh and is currently facing a lawsuit for his attacks on Dr. Michael Mann—didn’t restrain his shock-jock character when discussing Sanders’ comments. Steyn mocked the senator with gruesome imagery by attempting to make a joke on Fox Business that Sanders would fight for climate action even while being beheaded by terrorists.
At the Daily Caller, blogger Jim Treacher published a sarcastic and hyperbolic post mocking both #NotAllMuslims and those who take climate change seriously. WUWT has a couple different posts, none that are particularly noteworthy, but all less tactful than one would hope. Climate Depot featured links to a number of denier commentaries, as one would expect. Italso linked to an “alarmist’s” admittedly conspiratorial and tone-deaf post at The Ecologist, which asks if perhaps the attacks were intended in part to disrupt COP21 to protect the terrorists’ oil revenue.
But the worst comes from someone we wouldn’t necessarily expect to be quite so brazen: University of Alabama-Huntsville’s Dr. Roy Spencer. In a Facebook post made the morning after the tragedy, Spencer wrote what he later called “some sarcastic remarks…[about] the hypocrisy of COP 21” that gave the impression that Spencer wanted “terrorists to attack COP21” (an accusation he writes off as “craziness”). This interpretation is a result of the fact that Spencer ended the post by suggesting that since many of the politicians attending COP21 support gun control measures, “any personal security personnel accompanying them should be unarmed.”
That any response to the atrocity in Paris would warrant mention here is truly disappointing. In the end we all have the same goal- less terrorism and an end to the loss of innocent lives.
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