The western United States is burning up:
“I’m worried about this summer,” Kathleen Johnson, a paleoclimatologist at the University of California, Irvine, told The Guardian. “This current drought is potentially on track to become the worst that we’ve seen in at least 1,200 years. And the reason is linked directly to human-caused climate change.”
Scientists can’t attribute an individual drought or heat wave directly to climate change. But rising global temperatures are changing the western US profoundly: Warmer air causes more moisture to evaporate, which leads soil to dry out. That raises the risk of drought and leaves forests full of tinder-dry foliage, primed for wildfires.
Heat waves occur three times more often and last about a day longer than they did in the 1960s, according to records of such waves across 50 US cities. They also start earlier and continue later into the year — the heat-wave season is 47 days longer than it was in the 1960s.
“Much of the western United States will continue the trend of hot and dry weather, much like the summer of 2020,” Brandon Buckingham, a meteorologist at AccuWeather, told Insider. “Each and every western heat wave throughout the summer will only heighten wildfire risks.”
Meanwhile, the Republican party remains the only major political party in the developed world that continues to deny that human-caused climate change is even happening at all:
According to new analysis from the Center for American Progress, there are still 139 elected officials in the 117th Congress, including 109 representatives and 30 senators, who refuse to acknowledge the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change. All 139 of these climate-denying elected officials have made recent statements casting doubt on the clear, established scientific consensus that the world is warming—and that human activity is to blame. These same 139 climate-denying members have received more than $61 million in lifetime contributions from the coal, oil, and gas industries.
While the number of climate deniers has shrunk by 11 members (from 150 to 139) since the CAP Action Fund’s analysis of the 116th Congress—largely in the face of growing and overwhelming public support for action on climate—their numbers still include the majority of the congressional Republican caucus.* These climate deniers comprise 52 percent of House Republicans; 60 percent of Senate Republicans; and more than one-quarter of the total number of elected officials in Congress. Furthermore, despite the decline in total overall deniers in Congress, a new concerning trend has emerged: Of the 69 freshmen representatives and senators elected to their respective offices in 2020, one-third deny the science of climate change, including 20 new House Republicans and three-of-four new Republican senators. Of note, no currently serving Democratic or independent elected officials have engaged in explicit climate denial by this analysis’ definition.**
A coalition of white evangelical zealots, Randian greedheads, and good old-fashioned Greenwich-style country club types was always going to be a disaster, but that disaster is now mutating into an authoritarian cult. MTG, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, etc. are the future of the Republican party, and either that party or this country is going to be destroyed.