Rush Limbaugh said that humans “couldn’t destroy the ozone layer”

September 9, 2014

Climate Change

We couldn’t destroy the ozone layer.”

– Rush Limbaugh on August 10, 2005 making a scientifically false claim he tried to back up with a debunked theory about volcanic activity, and claiming that environmental science is a liberal/democratic plot.

His exchange with a caller:

“CALLER: So you don’t believe in global warming?


CALLER: Or the large ozone hole?

LIMBAUGH: I, ah, no, wait, wait, wait, oh —

CALLER: Or that humans created the ozone — destruction of the ozone?

LIMBAUGH: No. No, no, no. I don’t because the hole closes every year, and we don’t do anything to close it. Ah, so how are we causing it? It’s the same thing –“

He made further inaccurate statements in his book:

“Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines spewed forth more than a thousand times the amount of ozone-depleting chemicals in one eruption than all the fluorocarbons manufactured by wicked, diabolical, and insensitive corporations in history. So much so that respected scientists now say that a 4 percent to 6 percent ozone loss could — could but may not — occur over the Northern Hemisphere in the next two or three years… volcanoes have been doing this for 4 billion years. And guess what? We still have a healthy ozone layer!”

Rush Limbaugh is misleading the public. There’s a lot of misinformation to correct.

First, most volcanic eruptions are not powerful enough to propel hydrogen chloride (HCl) up to the stratosphere.

Hydrogen chloride spewed from the volcano is water soluble, meaning it gets washed out by water vapor in the atmosphere.

Chlorofluorocarbons are not water soluble, which is why they were banned by Montreal Protocol during Reagan’s presidency. Thankfully, NASA says the ozone layer is slowly recovering.

When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, measurements found no noticeable increase in stratospheric chlorine.

Yes, the ozone hole closes and reopens each year, but that does not mean it is natural nor safe. 

Similarly, the threat of droughts during summer is not counteracted by the appearance of winter each year.

Why should he be chosen to debate Al Gore on climate science?



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About jslachman381

I'm a Yale graduate who majored in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health.

View all posts by jslachman381


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2 Comments on “Rush Limbaugh said that humans “couldn’t destroy the ozone layer””

  1. elizabetcetera Says:

    Ah, more wisdom from Rush … sometimes people actually take him seriously and forget he gets big bucks as an ENTERTAINER! He doesn’t really have to be correct … simply opinionated and most importantly ENTERTAINING.



  2. crestwind24 Says:

    Not even a little bit surprised. Spreading lies and ignorance.



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