Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, gave his weekly rant about global warming on the Senate floor and blamed “deniers” and “anti-science” members of the Republican Party for wildfires, storms, tornados, and other weather patterns. His office clarified yesterday that his references to Oklahoma tornados were completely coincidental, and that he only mentioned them in a general sense. He didn’t realize that while he was giving his speech, there was a giant tornado wreaking havoc in Moore, Oklahoma. That may be true, but he still blamed the GOP:
“So you may have a question for me: why do you care? Why do you, Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, care if we Republicans run off the climate cliff like a bunch of proverbial lemmings, and disgrace ourselves? I’ll tell you why. We’re stuck in this together. …When cyclones tear up Oklahoma, and hurricanes swamp Alabama, and wildfires scorch Texas, you come to us, the rest of the country, for billions of dollars to recover. And the damage your polluters and deniers are doing doesn’t just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas; it hits Rhode Island with floods and storms. It hits Oregon with acidified seas. It hits Montana with dying forests. So like it or not, we’re in this together.”
Earlier in his rant, he stated, “It’s one thing to be the party that stands against science. Are you really also going to be the party that stands against measurement?” He had just referenced some “measurements” showing that wildfires, superstorms, droughts, tornados and blizzards are on the rise. But even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that those phenomena are down, not up. Here’s one graph showing that tornados so far this year have been well below the average from previous years:
There are several more like this showing other disasters to be below average as well. So who is “denying science?” Just because media reports on natural disasters may be on the rise doesn’t mean that they are on the rise in reality. It appears that this Senator is simply refusing to let this crisis go to waste.