Put who on an iceberg?

When asked his opinion about global warming in a candidate debate Thursday night, 3rd District Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, said this: "I think we ought to take Al Gore, put him on an iceberg, and put him way out there."

Really. We can only assume his witless, flip reply reveals his unstudied view of the preponderance of (non-partisan) scientific studies around the world. These studies find that heat-trapping carbon-emissions, mostly from growing global use of fossil fuels, is behind climate change, which is fueling the heat buildup that continues to shatter thousands of hot weather records, and that is causing havoc in volatile weather patterns in the United States and around the world.

Glaciers are rapidly melting and disappearing from mountains ranges everywhere, causing a steady rise in warming oceans and other serious consequences: The rapid loss of snowpacks and the viability of water reservoirs to sustain dependent populations in dry seasons; extreme damage to fisheries and coral reefs; swamped seaports, coastal areas and low islands. Alarmed security planners in the Pentagon, CIA security experts and people on islands and near shores around the globe are concerned about unstoppable flooding, where ships with trade goods and military weapons will dock, and where resource-driven wars will start.

But that's just the beginning. Crops, forests and food security are at stake. Power suppliers are struggling to cope with electricity demands. Health officials are worried about the rise in heat strokes and heat-related deaths. Weather watchers, farmers and homeowners everywhere are worried about unpredictable patterns of rain and snow deluges, flooding and fierce wind storms, extended droughts, wildfires and the creeping deserts of once fertile land.

March of 2012 was the warmest March on record for the lower 48 states, breaking more than 15,000 heat-records for the month -- a continuing trend driven by warming temperatures for a decade. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has found that heat has been the top weather-related killer in the U.S. the past 10 years. A range of studies analyzed by the National Resources Defense Council suggests that 150,000 Americans in just the largest 40 U.S. cities may die from heat by the end of the century if climate change trends of rising temperatures are not reversed.

Given a plethora of such findings come from the same scientific community that we trust to keep satellites on track, to forecast solar electromagnetic storms, and to keep heart surgery robots accurate, it boggles the mind that Rep. Fleischmann (among many other Republicans) refuses to even acknowledge, much less seriously address, the issue of climate change. He himself should go see where icebergs are melting.

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