No August Recess for Climate Impacts
By JP Leous
With August Recess in full swing, Dog Days of summer have certainly taken over Capitol Hill. Gone are hectic days of tracking a half-dozen simultaneous hearings, blasting out press statements, and juggling phone-tag with Hill staffers while trying to keep up with a deluge of emails! Unfortunately, due to the Senate’s inability to address the most urgent issue facing our nation (let alone the rest of the planet) carbon pollution continues unabated – as does its impacts.
While no single weather event can be linked to climate change, recent extreme weather events have lead officials from around the world to raise long overdue awareness about climate impacts; ranging from Pakistan’s foreign minister and the UN’s resolution to send more aid to the struggling nation, to Secretary Clinton’s recent interview on the flood, to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s comments on Russia’s recent heat wave and forest fires.
Closer to home, the news isn’t much better. June and July saw heat records break across the country and around the globe .With this summer’s heat wave still making folks up and down the east coast sweat, the long-term outlook is similarly steamy. If all this talk of hot weather makes you thirsty, be prepared to be disappointed… if not worried.
A recent report by Tetra Tech paints an arid picture: more than 1,100 counties (a third of all counties in the continental US) will face higher water shortage risks by 2050. For those concerned about critters, you’ll be bummed to learn that almost 60% of species recovery plans point to climate change as an extinction threat (and that number will likely grow as additional species recovery plans are revised and include more recent science).
As you read this there is a good chance your Senators are back in their home states and districts for every town hall meeting, ribbon cutting ceremony, and backyard barbecue they can fit onto their schedule. If any of these issues perked your ears, you might want to pop by and let your representatives know that while they are taking a break from not passing a climate bill in DC, polluters haven’t’ taken a break pumping dangerous heat-trapping gasses into our skies—and climate impacts didn’t get the memo that they can chill out for August recess.