Climate change discussions in the aftermath of a record-shattering deadly typhoon serve as “an excuse” to avoid helping people living in the storm's path, according Fox host Dana Perino, who argued that instead of taking action on climate change, we should provide developing nations with “more fossil fuels.” Perino's concern for affordable electricity starkly contrasts with the network's usually dismissive attitude toward those living in poverty and ignores the fact that fighting climate change and keeping energy prices in check for low-income families are attainable and confluent goals.
Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the island nation of the Philippines last week. The storm may be the most powerful typhoon in recorded history, and the death toll left in its wake is still rising, estimated to be between 2,300 and 10,000.
On the November 14 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Dana Perino attacked environmentalists who express concern that manmade global warming could impact the strength of major storms like the super typhoon that devastated the Philippines. Perino argued that discussing global warming “is the perfect excuse not to do anything for people living in the Third World.” Perino later doubled down, saying, “it's an excuse to not help people in poverty.”
Instead of focusing on global warming, Perino's solution to help those vulnerable to the impacts of climate change would be to “help provide affordable electricity to people that are living there, so that they could've had more information so that they could've gotten out of harm's way. With more affordable electricity that is steady, you have better education, you have better health care, you have better well-being and you have the possibility of trade, which will actually help everybody.” Perino concluded, “What we should be doing is providing them with more fossil fuels.”
The possible impact of climate change on weather isn't being used by environmentalists as an excuse to “do nothing” - quite the opposite. Unmentioned in the segment were the efforts of environmentally-minded United Nations delegates who established the Green Climate Fund in an effort to provide aid to places, like the Philippines, who are disproportionately affected by the consequences of carbon emissions. This fund has been repeatedly scorned by conservative media, who say developing nations are just looking to “cash in” on “climate gold.”
What's more, fighting climate change and suppressing energy prices for developing nations are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been addressing that very issue with its work in the Phillipines, the third most vulnerable country to climate change. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has also outlined climate policy strategies that “can generate enough revenue to fully offset the impact of the higher prices on the most vulnerable households.”
Perino's sudden concern for the impoverished corners of the world stands in stark contrast to Fox's usual rhetoric about low-income Americans. Fox has a long history of painting entitlement recipients as lazy or unwilling to work and frequently attacks government programs that feed children, the elderly, and the disabled. The network has repeatedly featured segments that attempt to stigmatize Americans who need government assistance programs.
Stuart Varney, Perino's colleague at the Fox Business Channel, even noted that he got a “big smile” when he heard that Australia was backing out of a pledge to send aid to developing nations dealing with climate change.