The Right-Wing Media's Most Unhinged Reactions To The EPA's Historic Climate Plan

Right-wing media have reacted to the unveiling of the final version of President Obama's historic Clean Power Plan with claims that it will hurt America, denials that it will benefit public health, and personal attacks on the president and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy. Here's a sampling of the conservative media's most unhinged, over-the-top reactions.

President Obama Unveils Historic Clean Power Plan

President Obama Confronts Climate Change With First-Ever Carbon Pollution Standards For Power Plants. On August 3, President Obama formally unveiled the final version of the EPA's Clean Power Plan (CPP), which will place the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants. NPR reported that Obama called the plan the “single most important step that America has ever made in the fight against global climate change.” [National Public Radio, 8/3/15;, 8/3/15]

Lower Emissions Under Plan Would Reduce Asthma Attacks And Premature Deaths. A White House fact sheet noted that the CPP will bring significant public health benefits by reducing pollutants in the air, which will “avoid up to 3,600 premature deaths, lead to 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children, and prevent 300,000 missed work and school days.” The American Lung Association (ALA) similarly stated that the Clean Power Plan “will directly save lives ... by removing dangerous pollution from the air we breathe.”  The ALA also noted that "[c]hildren, the elderly and people with lung diseases including asthma face some of the greatest risks, including from ozone and soot that climate change makes worse." [, 8/3/15; American Lung Association, 8/2/15 and 7/29/15]

Right-Wing Media Go Off The Rails

Limbaugh Mocked Link Between Humans And Climate Change By Telling Listeners: “You're Destroying The Planet ... You Are Worse Than Al Qaeda.” On the August 3 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh mocked the idea that Americans bear any responsibility for climate change, saying: “You're destroying the planet, folks. You are worse than Al-Qaeda. You are worse than Iran getting a nuclear weapon. You! That's what he means here.” [, 8/3/15]

Hannity: Obama Said He Couldn't Breathe In LA Because Of Smog, But It Was Probably Because He Was “Getting Stoned All Day And Doing Lines Of Blow.” On the August 3 edition of his radio show, Sean Hannity dismissed an anecdote Obama told during his speech unveiling the Clean Power Plan about how he had trouble jogging in Los Angeles in 1979 while he was in college because of the city's high smog level back then. Hannity dismissed pollution as the reason and said it "[m]aybe had something to do with that pot he was smoking as part of the Choom Gang ... and doing little lines of blow":

Now he talks about people can run through Los Angeles without choking. Maybe it had something to do with that pot he was smoking as part of the Choom Gang, or maybe the many cigarettes that he was smoking and getting stoned all day and doing little lines of blow and everything else that he admits that he did. [Premiere Radio Network, Hannity8/3/15Los Angeles Times8/3/15]

Fox News Contributor Tammy Bruce: Obama “Needs Medication.” In a tweet responding to Obama saying “the science tells us we have to do more” on climate change, Fox News contributor and Washington Times columnist Tammy Bruce wrote: “The science tells us @BarackObama needs medication.”

[Twitter, 8/3/15]

Steve Milloy: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Is “Crazy.” Steve Milloy, who runs the climate denial website JunkScience, called EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy “crazy” for saying that the CPP will help protect the planet.

[Twitter, 8/3/15]

Heartland Institute “Experts”: Plan Is “Greater Threat Than Terrorism To America's Prosperity” And Obama “Must Really Hate Coal Miners.” The Heartland Institute, the oil-funded front group infamous for its climate denial conferences, published a roundup of reaction from its “policy experts.” These included:

  • James Taylor, who said: “Conveniently for President Obama, the economy-destroying impacts of his new restrictions will kick in only after he leaves office and when he will not have to answer for the economic punishment that will inevitably occur.”
  • Craig Idso, who said: “President Obama's new Clean Power Plan to combat climate change is built upon a pack of lies.”
  • H. Sterling Burnett, who said, “Obama must really hate coal miners and coal-fired power plant workers.”
  • Walter Starck, who said that the plan “poses a far greater threat than terrorism to America's prosperity. It could well be the final nail in its coffin.” [Heartland Institute, 8/3/15Media Matters11/28/12]

Free Beacon Writer Mocks Fact That Climate Change Increases Risk Of Asthma Attacks By Saying Everyone Who Breathes Is A "Child-Killer." Washington Free Beacon staff writer Lachlan Markay posted a series of tweets mocking and deriding the Clean Power Plan. He called “carbon pollution” an “Orwellian phrase” and mocked the fact that climate change increases the risk of asthma attacks by writing: “Every time you exhale you're giving a child asthma. I hope you're happy, child-killer”:

[Twitter, 8/3/158/3/15]

Free Beacon's Markay Compares Obama And EPA's McCarthy To Fictional Meth Dealers. In a tweet responding to a report that West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said “residents [are] turning to drugs because Obama is shutting down their coal plants,” Markay compared Obama and McCarthy to Walter White and Jesse Pinkman -- fictional meth dealers from the TV show “Breaking Bad”:

[Twitter, 8/3/15]

The Wall Street Journal Characterized CPP As A Government Overthrow. The headline for a Wall Street Journal editorial described the CPP as a “Climate Change Putsch.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “putsch” as “a secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government.” [The Wall Street Journal, 8/3/15; Merriam-Webster, accessed 8/3/15]

Tom Nelson: CPP Will Result In “0 Fewer Asthma Attacks & 0 Fewer Premature Deaths.” Responding to a tweet by President Obama that said the CPP would lead to 90,000 fewer asthma attacks and prevent 3,600 premature deaths, blogger Tom Nelson tweeted: “This is ridiculous fraud. Real results of CO2-tweaking are 0 fewer asthma attacks & 0 fewer premature deaths in 2030.”

[Twitter, 8/3/15]

Steve Milloy Disputes That Carbon Is Harmful: “Ask A Plant. Steve Milloy disputed that carbon is a harmful pollutant by tweeting: “Obama CO2 announcement: Calls CO2 'harmful carbon pollution.' Ask a plant.”

[Twitter, 8/3/15]