Although many in the GOP continue to dispute climate science and global warming, the fact remains that temperatures are creeping upward and wreaking havoc. This summer has been one for the books, with widespread drought and destructive, heat-fueled wildfires. Perhaps not coincidentally, July was also the hottest month on record in the continental United States.
According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average temperature across the contiguous United States in July was 77.6 Fahrenheit, a full 3.3 degrees above the 20th century average.
The previous warmest July was in 1936, when the nation’s average temperature was 77.4 degrees.
The hot July contributed to a record-warm first seven months of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since accurate record keeping started in 1895.
Still, many in the Republican Party have publicly stated that they think the warmer weather is normal, and part of a cyclical pattern of warming and cooling.
Other GOP members questioned why environmentalists and others raise concerns about the planet warming during hot spells, but the opposite doesn’t occur during bouts of severe winter weather.
“Those same people don’t say that when we have cold weather, like if there’s a cold snap, so they’re not being consistent,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), whose Colorado Springs-based district saw the most destructive wildfire in state history earlier this summer. “I don’t think we can say which direction the planet is going based on a few events one way or the other.”
In a floor speech last Monday, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said, “Look at the patterns. It gets cold, it gets warmer, it gets colder, gets warmer. God is still up there, and I think it’ll continue in the future.”
So 2012 is shaping up to be the warmest year on record and the GOP still believes that this is normal weather. As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a speech Tuesday in Nevada, “These people aren’t just on the other side of this debate. They’re on the other side of reality.”