There is, at this very moment, a highly amusing video burning up the YouTubes featuring Aaron Justus, weatherman for Richmond’s CBS affiliate WTVR, delivering an apocalyptic weather report in perfect deadpan. After calmly detailing “a volcanic eruption right near Charlottesville” which will bring local temperatures up to 400 degrees, he explains that the tidewater area will be “a bit more comfortable, with highs near 100 degrees.” The reason? “We’re going to have tidal waves moving in ahead of this: a global superstorm.” But not to worry, viewers; this superstorm will ultimately be deflected by the timely arrival of Godzilla.
Now, there’s a reason that this local-news goof has become a viral hit—and it’s not simply because it’s freakin’ hilarious. It’s because it so eerily mirrors the recent spell of extreme weather that has swept the nation. As any Charlottesvillian who was awake on Friday, June 29, can tell you, the freakish combination of sweltering heat followed by hurricane-force storms (the now-famous “derecho”), which then spawned multi-day power outages, felt every bit like the end of days. In fact, for many local residents, the arrival of Godzilla might have been a distracting relief.
And, let’s face it, we’ve got it easy. All you have to do is glance at the headlines to follow the devastation in fire-ravaged Colorado, or read about the truly extreme temperatures gripping much of the nation (record highs of 109 degrees in Nashville, 108 degrees in St. Louis and, according to the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang, “D.C.’s hottest June temperatures in 142 years of record-keeping”).
Which brings us, as you knew it would, to our main point, which is this: Anyone continuing to refute the scientifically accepted consensus on man-made climate change and its attendant effect on global weather patterns is either willfully ignorant or criminally negligent. We could go over the facts in depth here, but due to limited space, we will simply suggest that you read Eugene Robinson’s excellent editorial in the July 2 edition of the Washington Post (“Feeling the heat”), which lays out the case far more cogently than we ever could.
Suffice it to say that the broad preponderance of evidence is irrefutable, and that those who continue to deny it are fighting a losing battle against extinction. Unfortunately for Virginia, one of the nation’s most prominent climate-change skeptics, Ken Cuccinelli, is currently making a very credible run for the governor’s office.
But as vast swaths of Virginia recover from the most recent outbreak of abnormal weather, we can only hope that the true precariousness of our position becomes apparent. At the very least, we can take solace in the fact that Cuccinelli’s years-long suit against the Environmental Protection Agency—in which he attempted to argue that the EPA had no standing to regulate greenhouse gases—was recently struck down by a federal appeals court in the most humiliating way possible.
Ruling that the EPA’s position was “unambiguously correct,” the court pointedly noted that this “is how science works. EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question.”
Of course, legal setbacks and simple logic have never stopped the Cooch before, so why should this time be any different? In the end, all we can do is batten down the hatches and wait for Virginia’s populace to finally vote this guy out of office.
Or, barring that, the inevitable arrival of Godzilla.