Feel the Burn

Feel the Burn: Making the 2012 Heat Wave Matter

But meteorological conditions alone do not determine whether a given heat wave is a global warming landmark; a shift in public awareness and political response is required as well. And it remains very much an open question whether 2012 will qualify. Certainly neither of the main presidential candidates is providing leadership. Nobody expects it of Mitt Romney, who sang the Tea Party tune on climate science during the Republican primaries only to claim he isn’t a denier now that he faces a general electorate. But President Obama is the great disappointment. In an April interview with Rolling Stone, he said he’d make climate change a campaign issue, but he has been shamefully silent as the heat wave dominates headlines. Yes, he expressed sympathy for the victims of Colorado’s wildfires, but he appears to have said not a word about what is fueling these disasters, even though his administration’s scientists have said global warming is partly to blame. His cabinet has been equally reticent. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack repeatedly declined to comment when reporters asked whether global warming was contributing to the weather devastating the Farm Belt. It’s hard to solve a problem if you’re not willing to name it.

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