A year ago, right wing writer James Delingpole wrote that we all ought to be happy about global warming because it would mean more heat waves, which Delingpole interpreted as an opportunity for people to have a good time sitting by a swimming pool drinking cold beer. It hasn’t just been Delingpole saying this sort of thing, of course.
Last year, Republican State Representative Joe Read of Montana introduced legislation declaring that “global warming is beneficial to the welfare and business climate” – just before an unprecedented surge of spring melt created immense floods that devastated communities across the northern plains. Extreme weather events have been growing in intensity and frequency, but it’s still the GOP standard line that climate change may not even exist, but if it does, it’s nothing to worry about.
This summer, in the real world where most people have to keep working regardless of the weather, and don’t have the option to spend the entire summer at posh resorts, the face of climate change doesn’t look so friendly. This week, the U.S. Drought Monitor, operated through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, showed that the only parts of the United States unaffected by extreme dry weather and drought are Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico. Elsewhere, a combination of extreme heat and lack of rainfall are combining to convert the United States into a crisp tinderbox.
The manifestations of this remarkable drought are not as comfortable as James Delingpole and his industry-aligned allies in the Republican Party would have us believe. They include wildfires in Utah, California, and the state of Washington, as well as the epic fires in Colorado. Agriculture states of disaster are beginning to pop up in places like Montana, Colorado, South Dakota, and Illinois. The agricultural disaster in the United States is combining with droughts in other countries to create the threat of increased food prices all over the world.