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Cold Weather Brings Out the Climate Change Deniers

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Shutterstock / Leonid Ikan
Shutterstock / Leonid Ikan

It shouldn't come as any great surprise that sometimes, it gets cold in winter. For much of the country, it's gotten really cold thanks to the polar vortex, which occurs when a whirlwind of Arctic air spills southward. When the snow flies, so does the misinformation from the climate change deniers, who have taken these cold temperatures as an open invitation to double down on disputing well-established science.

From entertainers like Donald Trump to some members of Congress to some in the news media, climate change deniers have come out of the woodwork to mock the climate crisis and spread misinformation. It's just a small sample of a larger problem: There are more than 100 members of Congress who continue to deny climate change, and do the bidding of the big polluters who fill their campaign coffers.

But don't fall for their spin: Climate change deniers are putting politics over science and our moral obligation to act, as Navin Nayak, LCV's Senior Vice President of Campaigns, pointed out on CNN's Crossfire this week.

The scientific views on climate change are as solid as any public policy question will ever get. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that man-made climate change is happening. In fact, scientists recently discovered that average global temperatures were higher in the past decade than they were at almost any point in the previous 11,300 years. They're also now as certain that humans are causing climate change as they are that smoking cigarettes causes cancer.

Climate change is measured in years and decades, not in days or snowstorms. While it was cold in much of the U.S., December was actually a much warmer-than-average month around the globe. And the clear trend is that the Earth is getting warmer, just as scientists predicted. The Washington Post put it best when covering the polar vortex, saying, "cold shouldn't come as a shock, nor should it have anyone second-guessing the reality of climate warming."

As nasty as this weather is, it doesn't change the facts. It's time for climate change deniers to stop asking whether climate change is happening and recognize our moral obligation to confront it. It's why enacting President Obama's Climate Action Plan -- including limits on carbon pollution from power plants -- is so important. And it's what we owe to future generations.