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Watch All Four North Carolina GOP Senate Candidates Laugh When Asked About Climate Change

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Watch All Four North Carolina GOP Senate Candidates Laugh When Asked About Climate Change

Nearly every scientist breathing agrees that climate change is a serious, manmade threat to the planet, but the same can't be said for four U.S. Senate hopefuls in North Carolina.

In fact, a warming planet, extreme weather, droughts and potential resource battles are all pretty funny concepts to candidates Thom Tillis, Greg Brannon, Mark Harris and Heather Grant.

They're so funny that a primary debate moderator could barely get those two words out of his mouth before the candidates begin chuckling. Watch the video originally posted by Buzzfeed and uploaded to YouTube by ThinkProgress:

As the Sierra Club's David Shadburn, an advocate for Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan,  points out, candidates in North Carolina should be the last ones laughing, even if the state does have a well-documented history of climate denial

"And Sen. Kay Hagan knows that coastal North Carolina won’t be laughing if sea levels rise," Shadburn writes. "If sea levels rise four feet by 2100 as predicted, much of the Outer Banks, Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, and the Atlantic coastline in the southeastern part of the state will be underwater.

"What’s more is that the North Carolina coast is considered a “hotspot,” meaning that by the end of the 21st century, it would see 11.4 more inches of sea rise than the global average."

Clearly, no laughing matter.

Video Screenshot: TP Video 8/YouTube

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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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