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Handling the GOP’s hot potato

Though some may find the forecast far-fetched, global warming could prove fatal to the GOP this November – or in the near future. Why? A large majority of Americans now say unequivocally that the whiplash weather bringing drought, deluge and scorching heat mostly to Red States over the past two years, was intensified by global warming, according to a new study.

Meanwhile, Republican congressional hopefuls and Mitt Romney have hitched their election bids to climate change skepticism, siding with Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe who calls global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

The American people however are now personally seeing that the hoax may all be on the climate change denier side. According to in-depth research by Yale and George Mason universities, by a margin of over 2 to 1 (52 percent vs. 22 percent), they say that U.S. weather – including heat waves, droughts and severe rainstorms – has been getting worse, rather than better, in recent years.

More importantly, Americans say extreme weather is adding to local hardships, including harm to crops (46%), damage from floods (39%), and problems with air quality (38%), forest fires (34%), water quality (31%), and transportation (23%), says the study.

This year’s weather trends could further erode voter patience with the GOP. This March, the nation shattered over 15,000 heat records in a single month. And more scorchers are likely on the way, with above normal temperatures predicted across most of the nation through November, says the U.S. Climate Prediction Center. Worse, nearly two thirds of the country – 39 states – is already experiencing drought this spring (usually a wet time), as we head into the dry dog days of summer, says the U.S. Drought Monitor.

These trends, if continued, could lead to an extreme summertime heat and drought emergency, making Republican candidates sweat out their electoral bids as they try to defend their belligerent climate change denial records.

Blue Ridge Press senior editor Glenn Scherer lives in Vermont. © Blue Ridge Press 2012.

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