“Red state” has a new meaning beyond being reliably Republican. The red now stands for record high temperatures.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced this week what anyone who walked outside their front door last year already knows — 2012 was the hottest year on record in the continental United States.
The lower 48 states experienced an average temperature of 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit (12.9 ºC), which is 3.2 degrees above the 20th-century average and the highest average temperature in 118 years of recordkeeping dating back to 1895 — 19 states experienced the warmest year on record, mostly in the Plains and Midwest.
Last year also experienced the second-most extreme weather in recorded history, and with rainfall down significantly, the wildfire season was the third most destructive in history. And during the past decade, the ratio between high temperatures and low temperatures has been 2 to 1 in favor of warmer temperatures, the clearest indication that the climate is warming.
Rapid global warming is taking place at the same time that media coverage of climate change is decreasing, and the subject was nearly nonexistent in the recent president election — although President Obama recently stated that addressing climate change and increasing domestic, clean energy would be a top priority in his second term.
Ironically, many of the elected leaders from the states most affected by climate change are themselves the biggest global warming deniers on Capitol Hill, and have fought against any policies that would reduce fossil fuel emissions and boost clean energy.
Here are five red states that experienced their warmest year on record and their climate change-denying elected officials.
Photo credit: World Learning via Flickr