RNC Chairman Steele: “We are cooling. We are not warming.”

  • Published on March 22nd, 2009


When Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele guest-hosted William Bennett’s nationally syndicated conservative talk radio show a few weeks back—in part, to diffuse the mounting tension between the Republican Party chief Steele and the de facto Republican Party chief, Rush Limbaugh—he gave a skewed interpretation of natural history and aligned himself with Limbaugh’s position on global warming in one fell swoop:

“We are cooling. We are not warming. The warming you see out there, the supposed warming, and I am using my finger quotation marks here, is part of the cooling process. Greenland, which is now covered in ice, it was once called Greenland for a reason, right? Iceland, which is now green. Oh I love this. Like we know what this planet is all about. How long have we been here? How long? No very long.”

But Steele didn’t stop there. He exhorted listeners to take sides in a debate that is “leading to the ultimate political Armageddon between conservatism and liberalism.” Telling one caller:

“And the idea that free enterprise, free markets, free people are going to battle an oppressive, repressive, domineering government. I love that. That’s what we are lining up for you folks. So you better get ready, strap it on, because it’s coming. And you better pick your sides, you better choose now.”

Like others, I’m not exactly sure how to respond to either of the above. First off, Greenland does not take its name because of the islands’ greener pastures, Greenland was actually named by the Viking, Erik the Red, to encourage people to settle there. The case is similar for Iceland. Icelandic oral tradition states that the name comes from the Norwegian Viking Flóki Vilgerðarson.  Flóki chose the uninviting name “ice land” for the view of a distant fjord full of sea-ice that he glimpsed from a tall mountain. His choice was also influenced by the fact that he was not at first taken with the land, and he bad-mouthed the place after his return to Norway.

Second, while annual mean temperatures may have dipped in the last year or two, unless we’ve miraculously reversed a 100-year trend in the last two years, global temperatures are still climbing, and especially so in the Northern Hemisphere.

Finally, if Steele is trying to make amends for calling-out Rush Limbaugh as an entertainer by taking the right-wing talk show host’s divisive and oppositional politics to the RNC’s front office, he may have succeeded.

Graph: NASA

About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.


  • Wayne,

    Two things strike me about your comment:

    1) No, he is not a meteorologist, thanks for making my point for me. But what gives him the right to rewrite hundreds of years of history to fit his thesis? Do you agree with his analysis of how Greenland and Iceland got their names?

    2) You want me to go to the Heartland Institute for objective science?

  • Why are we arguing about what Michael Steele said? He is not a meteorologist. I suggest that interested parties go to the Heartland.org site if you want to see what some of the world's experts think about the issue of global warming. Incidentally, there has not been an increase in the world temperature since 1995. So much for the idea that we are continuing to get warmer!

  • "Several hours of research on a scientifically-based website" – well okay then, thanks for clearing it all up for us by spending "hours" on one website that is, um, "scientifically-based." Of course it is completely lost on Lill Eph how ludicrous that statement is, as well as the conclusion. Please share with us the url, won't you? We'd all like a piece of that research.

    In regard to Steele, well, I second Tim's call-out. People will believe what they want, and given the comments here, most don't have the mitts to face the truth (or, apparently, the smarts to understand it in any case). But Steele is indeed talking out of his ass, and I applaud Tim and anyone else for calling him on it.

  • Silly little graph? No, it's not supposed to be convincing evidence. My job here is not as a climate scientist, there are plenty of quality portals where you can get lots of silly little graphs.

    My job is to point out the blatant talking out of his ass Steele did when hosting that show. Basically just making stuff up as he wished, knowing that no one would call him out on it.

    Well I'm calling him out on it.

    Mr. Steele, perhaps you could explain to all of us about the real etymological history of Greenland and Iceland. And perhaps you can enlighten us with your meteorological and climatological wisdom, since you seem to know so much more than the vast majority of the scientific community.

    I'm certain our audience would love to hear more.

  • Is that silly little graph supposed to be convincing evidence?

    What is more arrogant, to say humans cause climate change, or to say humans can do something about it?

  • Lill Eph, you write:

    "It took me no more than several hours of research on scientifically-based websites to find out that this particular Big Lie, among other Big Lies, are being perpetrated to promote the Kyoto Treaty"

    So you're saying global warming was invented to promote the Kyoto Treaty? Isn't that putting the chicken before the egg? or vice versa?

  • The unrelenting brainwashing regarding the global warming myth could be taken smack out of Animal Farm or Orwell's 1984. It took me no more than several hours of research on scientifically-based websites to find out that this particular Big Lie, among other Big Lies, are being perpetrated to promote the Kyoto Treaty, a preposterous piece of government intrusion, land grabbing, and politcally correct harassment straight from the One World Newspeak mindset. From my days as a war protestor in the sixties until now… well, it seems little has changed. The government still lies with gusto and, God help me, it seems that a Republican is right in more ways than one. I forgive you for your ignorance.

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