The second question asked in the first 2024 Republican Presidential primary debate, hosted by Fox News, was set up with reference to ongoing climate disasters, and introduced by a young Republican looking for reassurance that the candidates can calm “fears that the Republican Party doesn’t care about climate change.”

When asked to raise their hand if they believe humans are causing climate change, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson started to raise his hand (reportedly the only one), before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis interjected to object to the question (complaining that they’re not “school children”) and pivoted to attack Biden’s response to the Maui fires. South Carolinian politicians Nikki Haley and Tim Scott nominally accepted the reality of climate change, but directed the responsibility to act on China and India, and then 38-year old political neophyte Vivek Ramaswamy called it “a hoax.”

Undeterred by the crowd’s loud and sustained boo-ing, Ramaswamy continued, falsely claiming “the reality is the anti-carbon agenda is the wet blanket on our economy” and stating that “more people are dying of bad climate change policies than they are of actual climate change.” While the World Meteorological Organization announced earlier this year that 2 million people have died from extreme weather events worsened by climate change, and a 2021 Harvard study found some 8 million deaths were due to fossil fuel pollution in 2018 alone, the estimated number of deaths due to climate change policies currently stands at approximately zero. (New York Times $, HuffPost, E&E $, Politico, Rolling Stone, Florida Politics, Miami Herald, NBC, The Independent, The Hill)