Gimmicky or Genius? Naming Hurricanes After Climate Deniers

Environmental group 350 Action wants to revolutionize the way killer storms get their monikers.
Aug 26, 2013· 1 MIN READ
Salvatore Cardoni holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.

Activist group 350 Action is circulating a video and petition that urges the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to name hurricanes not after people (like Andrew, Hugo, Sandy, or Katrina), but global warming-denying lawmakers who oppose the passage of climate policy.

"Thousands of animals have been displaced or killed by Governor Rick Perry" and "If you value your life, please seek shelter from Michelle Bachmann" are but two of the soundbites heard on the video, which was produced in partnership with NYC-based advertising firm Barton F. Graf 9000.

As amusing as you and I might deem this video, we can all agree with near unanimity—say 97 percent, the same percentage of scientists who contend climate change is caused by man—that there is almost no chance of this new naming convention ever being adopted by the U.N.-housed WMO.

This isn't to totally dismiss 350's efforts, as deniers need to be held accountable for their absurdist positions on climate change. (Perry has called climate change a "contrived phony mess," while Bachmann has said that the science supporting global warming is "voodoo.")

But the whole things seems like a glossier version of the flash-in-the-pan stunt that Organizing for Action, President Obama's advocacy arm, pulled two weeks ago when they delivered unicorn statues to climate-change-denying members of Congress—the idea being that one good fantasy deserves another.

Both were funny. Both were clever. Both got their 15 minutes of Twitter fame. But both were gimmicks that will not in any way whatsoever change the anti-science positions of these lawmakers, most of whom happen to be conservative.

Or, you know, I could be totally wrong.

This could be the beginning of an extreme weather-naming revolution, a movement that expands to tornadoes and droughts, so that pretty soon we're living in a world where the NBC Nightly News opens like this: "Good evening, I'm Brian Williams. Speaker of the House John Boehner, saddened and embarrassed by the eponymous Category-4 storm, Hurricane John Boehner, which broadsided Miami four days ago, killing more than 700 people and leaving millions without power, has stunned Washington insiders by bucking the Republican party line to publically support a bill to cap U.S. carbon emissions..."