No, footage of park rangers in Death Valley wearing jackets in extreme heat is not evidence that climate change is a hoax

By: Matthew Ross
July 21 2023

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No, footage of park rangers in Death Valley wearing jackets in extreme heat is not evidence that climate change is a hoax


The Verdict False

The Death Valley National Park rangers were posing for photos in cold weather jackets as a joke.

Claim ID 5630b08e


Irish political activist Ben Gilroy shared a screenshot from Ireland AM on Virgin Media One from Tuesday, 18 July 2023, showing park rangers in Death Valley National Park standing next to the park’s unofficial thermometer reading 132 F/55 C while wearing cold weather jackets during a segment on recent extreme heat waves. 

Gilroy posted to social media that “Today media continue to propagandise weather showing high temperatures in Death Valley USA — yet the park rangers wear jackets and gloves? The elites UN climate scam is really about securing a world government plutocracy, depopulation, and severely cutting your quality of life.” 

Gilroy has a history of climate change denial, which he has referred to as “nonsense” in the past. Supportive comments on Twitter and Facebook dismissed the record-high heat and climate change itself, often as part of the sinister plot of supposed world elites.

In Fact

Some commenters on Twitter and Facebook made contrary claims that the image Gilroy posted had been photoshopped, that the jackets were air-conditioned, or were a method of sun protection from UV radiation. However, these claims were false. The screenshot is genuine, taken from footage shot in Death Valley National Park of park rangers posing. However, the jackets park rangers wore in the image were part of a joke.

Logically Facts can confirm that the footage was captured on Sunday, 16 July 2023, showing park rangers in cold weather jackets. A Death Valley National Park spokesperson told Logically Facts, “They put on coats and gloves to pose by the thermometer as an ironic photo.” The visual content service Imago, which provides images to news agencies, has a photo from the same day that clearly shows the park rangers pretending to shiver while standing next to the unofficial thermometer. Footage of the day posted to the Independent’s YouTube channel further points to the ironic nature of the image: the rangers can be heard saying, “Alright, it’s hot, let’s get out of here” as they walk away from the thermometer. The Death Valley Park Service also confirmed that the actual temperature at the time was 128 F/53 C, not 132 F/55 C as is seen in the pictures and video from the day.

The evidence for human-caused climate change is overwhelming and is accepted by the vast majority of climate scientists. The temperature in Death Valley has reached or surpassed 127 °F only three times since records began in 1911, with two of those occasions happening since 2020.

The Verdict

While the screenshot is real, it shows park rangers taking pictures in cold weather jackets on an extremely hot day as a joke and is not evidence that climate change is a scam or hoax. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false. 

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