Monday, August 27, 2012

After a scorching summer, weather hits GOP

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 10:13 AM

It matters that weather has delayed the start of the Republican National Convention. It matters a lot.

The convention was supposed to start today, but Tropical Storm Isaac changed those plans. Many delegates and speakers are facing changes to their travel plans, reports the Washington Post.

Nationwide, weather has been a constant topic of news reports this summer. And little, if any, of that news has been good. High-temperature records have been routinely surpassed. The heat coupled with the lack of rain fueled forest fires in the West and scorched Midwest corn crops. To some degree, the intense weather — and the mild winter we had locally — has boosted public interest in and concern about climate change.

Tropical Storm Isaac was not caused by man-made climate change, though tropical storms and hurricanes may become more frequent and more intense because of it. Isaac does put disruptive weather in the news again, however.

Isaac should remind the public of the sort of summer we’ve had. The media ought to be explaining how heat waves and short-term droughts may become more common because of climate change. These heat waves will stress utilities, particularly the antiquated power grid. And the media ought to explain how droughts will put water supplies and farm crops in jeopardy.

Back to the convention: the GOP has been, at best, dismissive of climate change. Some party members don’t even believe that man-made climate change exists, despite a scientific consensus that it does. Many Republicans appear unwilling to even discuss adaptation, which, by the way, wouldn’t require them to admit that climate change is man-made. They’d simply have to acknowledge that long term weather trends are changing and that the government needs to make investments and adopt policies to align with those changes.

But this year’s crop of federal candidates shows no intention of seriously looking at climate issues.

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