Likening “environmental wackos” to jihadi terrorists, Rush Limbaugh bent some recent comments on population and climate change by New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin out of shape and threw down this challenge: “This guy from The New York Times, if he really thinks that humanity is destroying the planet…Mr Revkin, why don’t you just go kill yourself and help the planet by dying?” Revkin has a good reply, which includes this: “This might be funny, in a sad way, if it weren’t for the fact that my mailbox is already heaped with hate mail.”

Post by Rick Piltz

The UK Guardian Environment Blog reported today:

Rush Limbaugh goes the extra mile in rant about New York Times reporter

Shock jock turns on Andy Revkin after his comments on population and greenhouse gas emissions

US radio host Rush Limbaugh’s main reason for existence is to go too far and then drag mainstream conservative discourse out there with him.

But even by Limbaugh’s standards and remember this is a man who has over the years referred to Greenpeace and Sierra Club as “econazis” and “environmentalist wackos” he seems to have gone the extra mile in calling the New York Times environmental reporter, Andy Revkin, a jihadi and a terrorist and telling him to kill himself….

Limbaugh started off by ranting against militant environmentalists likening them to “jihad guys” (Media Matters has audio):

Listen to the Limbaugh audio clip for a brief experience of his bizarre mentality.

They convince these families to strap explosives on who? Not them. On their kids. Grab your 3-year-old, grab your 4-year-old, grab your 6-year-old, and we’re gonna strap explosives on there, and then we’re going to send you on a bus, The jihad guys have to maintain control. The environmentalist wackos are the same way.

Then Limbaugh turns on Revkin:

This guy from The New York Times, if he really thinks that humanity is destroying the planet, humanity is destroying the climate, that human beings in their natural existence are going to cause the extinction of life on Earth—Andrew Revkin. Mr Revkin, why don’t you just go kill yourself and help the planet by dying?

The talk show host was raging about remarks Revkin delivered by Skype to a conference last week in which he talked about how population growth would raise greenhouse gas emissions. Revkin covers much of the territory in a column in his DotEarth blog blog last month [“Are Condoms the Ultimate Green Technology?”] that asked stating clearly that he was not making any such proposal whether there would be a possibility one day of spinning off a carbon market from contraceptives. That is, if population growth means more emissions, should there be credit for limiting future children?

Now it’s not entirely clear what set Limbaugh off on his anti-Revkin rant. The column was published more than a month ago; the conference last week was not widely covered although it was reported by a Christian news service. Revkin repeatedly makes clear he is not advocating forced population control let alone call for suicide bombings to promote greener policies. Not that any of this would faze Limbaugh….

From Revkin’s DotEarth blog, a modulated and civilized response to a toxic personal attack—which was delivered in Limbaugh’s cynically manipulative style, aimed as usual at stirring up some of the darker elements of the American psyche:

October 20, 2009, 5:54 pm

Thought Experiments on Birth and Death
By Andrew C. Revkin

I’d like to think that Rush Limbaugh was floating a thought experiment, and not seriously proposing something, when he told millions of listeners the following: “Mr. Revkin, why don’t you just go kill yourself, and help the planet by dying.”

He had picked up on some commentary and reports that have been bouncing around the instanet ever since I spoke via Skype video at a symposium on media coverage of the population part of the climate and energy challenge, put on by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

I had talked, in part, about recent studies concluding that programs offering family planning information and services to women seeking smaller families, in essence, had a climate value by avoiding emissions of greenhouse gases that would come with more kids. Here’s a Worldwatch Institute blog post with some context. Here’s a different take from the National Catholic Register.

I’ve written quite a bit about whether markets in carbon credits earned by cutting, avoiding or absorbing such emissions whether from avoided deforestation, tree planting, or leaving oil in the ground are credible, sensible or doable. So I mused on whether the next logical step, in a world increasingly fixated with carbon markets, would be carbon credits for avoided kids. This is something particularly relevant in the United States, which nearly unique for rich countries has a fast-growing population and very high rates of emissions per person.

As I put it in the Wilson event: Should you get credit if were going to become carbon-centric for having a one-child family when you could have had two or three. And obviously it’s just a thought experiment, but it raises some interesting questions about all this.

The result, once the reverberating blogosphere ramped up the sound bites and eliminated the context, was Mr. Limbaughs challenge or was it, in fact, a thought experiment?…

This might be funny, in a sad way, if it weren’t for the fact that my mailbox is already heaped with hate mail. And of course there’s the reality that explosive population growth in certain places, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, could be blunted without a single draconian measure, many experts say, simply by providing access to family planning for millions of women who already want it, but can’t get it whether or not someone gets a carbon credit in the process.

Recalling some of our favorite Revkin pieces:

Bush Aide Edited Climate Reports

Bush administration censor resigns, moves to ExxonMobil

Climate expert says NASA tried to silence him

And a recent CSW post, questioning Revkin from a different perspective: “What will the global warming disinformation campaign do with this new study of Arctic warming?”