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Sierra Club and U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo Spar in Twitter Debate on Climate Change

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Sierra Club and U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo Spar in Twitter Debate on Climate Change

Because it flows frenetically, all day and every day, Twitter makes it easy to miss out on good exchanges.

And if you weren't on your laptop, phone or tablet around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, you definitely missed a good one.

Back-and-forth tweeting between the Sierra Club and U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) centered on climate change, but in a way that offered a little something for everybody. There was evidence of donations from the Koch Brothers; an accusation that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy was unable to answer one of Pompeo's climate questions; and a couple requests from Pompeo for others to "show me the data."

The Sierra Club responded with a mention of the common belief of 97 percent of climate scientists, followed by a rather sharp zinger: "... it's refreshing to see a Republican suddenly so interested in science."

The Twitter exchange embedded below speaks for itself, but notice that Pompeo never responded to one of the Sierra Club's early questions: "So you're saying that you agree with the science that says that climate change is real and caused by burning fossil fuels?"

 

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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