Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy called out MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell Tuesday for linking a hurricane approaching Florida to climate change.
Hurricane Idalia is nearing the west coast of Florida, prompting evacuation orders in multiple Florida counties. A second hurricane, Franklin, is off the coast of the Carolinas, and could threaten most of the East Coast.
“You said more people are dying from bad climate change policies than of climate change,” Andrea Mitchell said. “According to a U.N. agency, extreme weather events compounded by climate change caused the death of two million people between 1970 and 2021. Can you offer a shred of evidence that more than two million people died from converting to clean energy?”
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“I can offer clear evidence that the number of climate-related deaths is down by 98% over the last century. The number of people who died of hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves and other weather-related events in 1920, for every 100 died then, two died today and the reason why is more plentiful abundant access to fossil fuels and technology powered by fossil fuels,” Ramaswamy said. “I can also tell today, this is a hard fact, none of this is disputed, eight times as many people die of cold temperatures than die of warm ones.”
A 2011 study from the Reason Foundation found that “aggregate mortality attributed to all extreme weather events globally has declined by more than 90%” since the 1920s.
“The right answer to all temperature-related deaths is more plentiful, abundant access to fossil fuels,” Ramaswamy continued. “The earth is covered by more green surface area today than it was a half a century or a century ago because carbon dioxide is plant food and carbon dioxide as a percentage of the atmosphere, is still at relative a low.”
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Mitchell pressed Ramaswamy, citing comments from the mayor of St. Petersburg about the storm’s intensity.
“I mean this with due respect, if someone on the other side were an uneducated person from Arkansas who didn’t go to college and offered one weather event as an anecdote to support global climate change, you would laugh them off the stage as a rube for saying they don’t follow data,” Ramaswamy said. “The same shoe has to fit the other foot. Follow the actual data.”
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