As San Diego Burns Republicans Refuse to Acknowledge Climate Change

san diego fires

Even in the face of overwhelming evidence, Republicans continue to live in their own, made-up world.

Case in point: The current wildfire situation in San Diego, California.

Firefighters in the region are currently battling record-high heat in an attempt to quell fires that have consumed nearly 10,000 acres since Tuesday morning. In total, nine separate fires have engulfed the area causing the displacement of thousands of San Diego County residents as well as closing schools, colleges, and attractions in the region. Several homes have been destroyed by the blazes as well as an eighteen-unit apartment complex in the coastal town of Carlsbad. As of early Thursday afternoon, there had been nearly 20,000 evacuation notices sent to the residents of San Marcos, CA as a 700-acre fire there threatened the local community. With temperatures set to reach triple digits for the third straight day of a mid-May heatwave, San Diego County firefighters were set to face another challenging day in a region that has been scorched by year-long drought conditions.

For nearly three decades, Republicans have been doing their best to misinform the public about climate change. And, it has worked. According to a March Gallup Poll 42% of Americans think that the dangers of climate change have been over-exaggerated. However, if we were to break down this poll by party preference we would find that 68% of Republicans believe the dangers of climate change have been over-exaggerated while only 18% of Democrats believe the same. The poll also found that 60% of Americans believe that climate change is occurring with 29% of Americans being unsure. To put this another way, nearly 1 out of 3 Americans are uncertain as to what scientists think about climate change.

They honestly have no idea that 97% of scientists not only believe climate change is occurring, but that man’s involvement is a major cause for its acceleration.

For Fox News executives, Republican government officials, the oil and natural gas industry and lobbyists, and of course everyone’s favorite Bond villains the Koch Brothers, this data can only mean one thing: Mission Accomplished. The American people remain woefully ignorant regarding climate change, even though the facts are staring them in the face. For example, the UN World Meteorological Organization has reported that 13 of the 14 warmest years on record have occurred this century. In California, 2013 was the driest year on record and 2014 is on pace to be even drier. Now, despite what Republicans might tell you, this is not an issue unique to the blue states. The deep red state of Texas is currently experiencing drought conditions that may very well provide the state with its worst drought since the 1950s. Of course, you won’t hear Republican Governor Rick Perry mention the term “climate change” any time soon. And, just this past week we experienced what Mother Jones Magazine called the “oh s#&%” moment of climate change when it was revealed that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will inevitably melt and cause a ten-foot rise in worldwide sea levels, which has the potential to occur within the next century.

For Republicans, they can only deny basic facts for so long. Of late, Florida Senator Marco Rubio has painted himself into a corner by denying climate change and mocking science. For someone with presidential aspirations hoping to appeal to a nation-wide audience, continuing to insist that the world is 6,000 years old no matter what Neil DeGrasse Tyson or the accepted science of the day says, is not the way to attract swing voters. The problem that Rubio and other potential Republican presidential candidates will face will be how to pander to their science-denying base all while attempting to not alienate scientifically-literate voters. What they will find, albeit too late, is that these two outcomes are mutually exclusive.

Which brings us back to the current events of the day. There is no doubt that climate change is impacting the current wildfires in San Diego. In fact, even Fire Chief Michael Davis said as much when he said, “This is May, this is unbelievable. This is something we should see in October. I haven’t seen it this hot, this dry, this long in May.” Republicans will try to spin this as the annual San Diego wildfire season. They’ll point to the 2007 wildfires in San Diego County and point out that this is an event that seems to happen every few years. However, they cannot argue with Chief Davis’ statement. The timing of these fires is extremely unusual this early in the year. However, that is exactly what happens when you have the driest year on record, combined with a heat wave in mid-May. Republicans can deny science all they want, but until they actually acknowledge that climate change is a real threat to this nation then they have no chance of winning back the presidency. They will continue to deny it, even when there is direct evidence in plain view, just like there is in San Diego County.

Should any Republican presidential nominee chooses to run on an anti-climate change platform, then his 2016 White House bid will meet the same fate as the San Diego countryside: It will go up in flames.

17 Replies to “As San Diego Burns Republicans Refuse to Acknowledge Climate Change”

  1. And then there’s GOP County Supervisor Bill Horn seizing the mic at a press conference to blame the fires on arsonists, while the law enforcement types around him cringed.
    Up next: Benghazi!

  2. I’ve long suggested the National Weather Service start naming big storms after climate change deniers. Hurricane Inhofe? Now, Wildfire Rubio?

  3. Just today we hear that people of Bosnia are having floods and landslides with homes sliding down hills, they cannot remember anything like it.

    We used to have an old saying for those who do not care about the others – it was ‘I’m alright Jack’

    Wait till it hits close to them, perhaps they will
    regret doing the bidding of big oil.

  4. They have known this was happening for three decades and they have blustered, prevaricated, and procrastinated until it’s too late to stop it. My state is condemned to death by drowning, and if I had the power of certain old Scottish lairds, I’d chain them to rocks at low tide and leave them to watch the water rise.

  5. My mother moved to Germany from Pasadena, CA, in the 1960s. She always bitched about the crummy German weather, persistent rain and cold. Until about five years ago when she said almost everything she liked about California had come to Southern Germany over time: hamburgers and laid-backness, lifestyle and even architecture. “Und now, the weather! From May to November, it is now just like Pasadena used to be — low seventies to mid nineties, lots of sun, but without the smog.”

    And that is definitely what climate change is all about; gradual but lasting change.

  6. It would only be appropriate to name it Wildfire Rubio if firefighters had to lunge off-camera for their hoses. :)

  7. Actually, the Republicans in San Diego do care and believe, believe it or not. After the October 25, 2003 firestorm, the Cedar Fire, which burned 280,278 acres and killed 15 people including one firefighter before being contained on November 3, the Republicans in San Diego now tax themselves to have a full time fire department and actually believe in global warming. Keep in mind, they are also pro-choice.

    But yes, they are Republicans regardless

  8. Having spent my life in geographic areas that were formed by climate change, the Great Lakes region, and now the Hudson River Valley, I find it amazing that so many people are now just discovering climate change. As if it never has happened before and is something totally new to the planet’s existence. How does one know that the changes we are experiencing are not a correction toward what is normal? Who is the one to say what normal is? Who is the one to say there is any normal and not that constant change is truly what is normal. The problem with the debate is that debate is not allowed, that to question is heresy and to have enquiry should be subject to actual jail time. (R.I.T. professor Torcello). So we know we have the truth because we dare not question it? This is science?

  9. Of course not, human life usually spans until 50, 60, 70 or into the 80’s. If you are 40, you probably have never seen something like this.

    However, if great-grandpa was alive today (he would be 160 years old) he could tell you about a similar flooding that happened back in 1868. However back then, there was no mass media to report everything and we were in the horse and buggy days.

    People back then dealt with what was thrown at them by mother nature, picked up the pieces and then went on with their lives.

    All that was taken from the severe floods were the stories that they shared with their grand-children who never shared the same stories with their children…so no one remembers the 1868 floods.

  10. How can a person over forty years of age deny climate change while keeping a straight face? If one turns on the evening news they will see it. Drought of biblical proportions from Texas to California. One tornado after the other ripping through the heartland like a hot knife through butter. Floods of biblical proportions all over the globe. Food and commodity prices going through the roof with no relief in sight for consumers(although speculation is a big part). Talk of water shortages becoming a potential friction point among nations sharing borders. Famine in America? Tick tock!

  11. You don’t have to be a brainiac to realize and understand that climate change is real. It’s right in our faces each and everyday. It’s just that the GOP/Teabaggers will never admit, because that would mean they are wrong. And God forbid them ever admitting they are wrong. People would then begin wondering, if they are wrong about that, what else are they wrong about.Which we all know is they have been wrong about everything.

  12. The TGOPs could deny climate change all they want. It still doesn’t change the truth.

    The situation is worsening by the moment and we need to move if ahead regardless what they say. They are covering up for their greed — $$ from the oil and gas companies. If we don’t act to save the planet, the environment, the humans, we are doomed.

    I believe the scientists who have the proof, not congress people who are protecting their financial interests. They worship at the altar of greed!

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