Whom to blame for droughts?

House speaker John Boehner issued a statement saying that President Obama “continues to blame anyone and everyone for the drought but himself.” The statement was later amended to read “continues to blame anyone and everyone for failing to respond to the drought but himself.” We can assume that this was in fact a simple typographical error on the part of Boehner’s staff, because even the House GOPers don’t loathe Obama enough to actually blame him for the weather (although I have no doubt that there are some in the nation nodding their heads while they think to themselves “I always knew that America-hating Kenyan Muslim was messin’ with our weather! That’s how much he hates the USofA!”)

The irony here is that, if any person or people can be blamed for the drought, it is the GOP! The extent, severity, and breadth of recent heat and drought events can be linked to climate change with a very high degree of statistical confidence (representative media account here, since the paper is, as I understand it, still under review, although even without this paper the data are clearly trending toward this direct association). Who continues to deny that climate change is even happening? Why, the GOP of course (though with a little help from Democrats in oil-producing states, among others). Including Boehner himself. Failure of the US Congress to act, largely because of Republican obstructionism, allows emissions of greenhouse gases to continue unabated not only here, but across the world, as other nations follow the U.S. “lead” of inaction.

We can’t of course blame climate change denialists for heat waves now, even given that those extreme heat waves are almost certainly a consequence of climate change, since current climate change is a product of the aggregated effects of the preceding years/decades. And Obama and the Democrats don’t get a free pass either, since, once they encountered even a little resistance on cap-and-trade in 2009, they simply let the matter drop–cowardice if ever I’ve seen it. But our children and grandchildren can safely lay the blame for their droughts at the feet of today’s denialists, headed by the GOP.

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