Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” said that Hurricane Sandy is proof that climate change is real and called its deniers “pigs” in a highly charged segment on Tuesday.

President Clinton, Matthews said, was the first major public figure to call attention to Romney’s stance on climate change in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  The host then rolled a clip from Clinton’s speech on Tuesday regarding the subject.

“He ridiculed the president,” said Clinton with regards to the recent presidential debates, for fighting for renewable energy and attempting to curb carbon emissions.  “‘Oh, you’re going to turn back the seas,’” quoted the former president.  “In my part of America, we’d like if somebody could have done that yesterday,” he said, meaning the incredible damage and flooding in New York City.

“In the real world,” Clinton said, “Barack Obama’s policies work better.”

Matthews asked whether the wildfires, droughts and now, giant hurricanes are proof that not only is climate change real, but that its results are being felt right now.

The host was joined by Professor Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), both climate change believers.

Markey opined that Hurricane Sandy "frames the election next Tuesday," a competition that will ultimately boil down to a battle between “Mother Nature” and “the Koch brothers.”

Matthews asked Oppenheimer who he thinks, at this point, could look at the kind of devastation the world is seeing, and deny that anything is going on.

Oppenheimer said that people who deny climate change have “different motivations.”  Some, he said, don’t want to hear about global warming because because it’s just more bad news that they feel they can’t do anything about.  Some people don’t want to hear about it because “it gets in the way of their economic interests.”  Others, he said, are skeptical and mistrust “experts.”

"Well Professor Oppenheimer, back in the ‘60s, we called such people pigs,” Matthews said.  “Pigs. No, really. They don't care about the planet, they don't care about the destruction of war. All they want is what they got, their stuff, and they want more of it.  Is that what we're facing here, just greed? I'm not talking about the guy at the coal mine—that's hard work. I'm talking about people who won't listen to you, won't listen to science because they want more stuff."

Oppenheimer demurred, “I’m not into name-calling here.”

“Well, I am,” said Matthews.

Oppenheimer countered that there is a lot of work to be done, that U.S. emissions are down slightly, but that cooperation between consumers, the government and big business is going to be essential.

“Everybody has to get involved,” he said.

Watch the video, embedded via MSNBC, below:

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