Publication / The Daily Beast
September 9, 2013
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Hurricane Marco Rubio: Name the Storms After Those Who Deny Global Warming Exists

An environmentalist group wants hurricanes and storm systems named after politicians who adamantly deny global warming exists. Miranda Green reports.

It gives a whole new meaning to a political storm. One environmentalist group is campaigning to name all future hurricanes and storm systems after politicians who adamantly deny global warming exists.

350 Action, an environmental activist group, is petitioning the World Meteorological Organization to change the way it names its storms and has so far garnered more than 75,000 signatures. Typically the WMO names storms based on a rotating list of relatively generic first names, but 350 Action thinks the names should have a purpose. It lists 42 members of Congress on its website that are worthy of being hurricane names. In essence, the group wants to give congressional climate change deniers the credit they deserve.

“We wanted to raise some awareness of obstructionists in Congress who don’t believe in climate change,” Daniel Kessler, a spokesperson from 350 Action, said. “For people like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, their positions are so outrageous we want people to be aware of it.”

Like any grassroots organization bent on spreading its message, the group turned to YouTube with a video and it quickly went viral. The two-and-a-half- minute-long clip entitled “Climate Name Change” has more than 2 million views since it was posted last week and is oddly laughable. It’s essentially a spoof of compiled news broadcasts that show TV reporters warning of the effects of incoming storm “Marco Rubio,” and showing interviews with storm victims who decry how “storm Congressman Paul Ryan” made them seek shelters when their homes flooded.

The video campaign has been so successful for the group that the petition has already met its November 30 goals.

“I think people are really tired of Congress. People are looking out their windows and they see intensifying storms and half of the country in drought and they are wondering why our congressional leaders aren’t doing anything about it,” said Kessler of the response to the petition and video.

Although it’s unlikely that the WMO will change its naming guidelines, even Kessler admits this, the group plans to deliver the petition to them in Geneva to continue to back its point that certain members of Congress are ignoring science. They hope their video will make a lasting impression on voters who may think twice before supporting a congressional candidate in the 2014 midterm election if he or she doesn’t believe environmental efforts need funding.

So far the response from the politicians featured in the video has been mostly quiet but Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn gave an interview to 350 last week where he said he was “proud to be a climate denier.”

Kessler said Coburn’s response was just the cherry on top.