According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2012 will almost certainly be the hottest year on record for the continental US. After a warmer-than-average November, only an exceptionally-cold December could prevent 2012 from being warmer than 1998, the year that currently holds the record. The below graph, put together by Climate Central, illustrates this point.
As this record-setting heat might suggest, 2012 was a pretty bad year for the environment. Arctic sea ice hit a record low, covering only 24 percent of the Arctic Ocean. The previous low was 29 percent, set in 2007. Additionally, the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere increased by 3 percent last year, which makes it almost impossible to keep global warming to only a couple degrees, according to climate scientists.
Because emissions of the key greenhouse gas have been rising steadily and most carbon stays in the air for a century, it is not just unlikely but “rather optimistic” to think that the world can limit future temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)
In the face of these scary developments, Republicans, unfortunately, show no sign of joining the rest of humanity to combat climate change. John Boehner chose Lamar Smith, a noted climate change skeptic, to chair the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Rep. Smith doubts that climate change is man-made and has criticized the media for its “biased” coverage of the topic:
The [ABC, NBC and CBS television] networks have shown a steady pattern of bias on climate change. During a six-month period, four out of five network news reports failed to acknowledge any dissenting opinions about global warming, according to a Business and Media Institute study. The networks should tell Americans the truth, rather than hide the facts.
This is the man who will be in charge of our science committee—someone who can’t understand why the media accepts climate change, even though of the 13,950 peer-reviewed climate change articles published in the last 21 years, only 24 deny it is existence.
It is time for the GOP to wake up. I wonder how many of the farmers affected by the drought this summer—the worst since the 1950s—have Republican members of Congress? Since the election, pundits have been urging the GOP to do some soul-searching; they say the GOP needs to reconsider its harsh stance on immigration and relax a little when it comes to taxes. Well, I think the most important change they can make is to relinquish their steadfast and anti-scientific opposition to climate change legislation—preferably soon.
Like us on Facebook?