The natural disasters brought about by climate change this year have been both global and extreme.

Tropical Weather Uneven Recovery

An unstilted home that came off its blocks sits partially submerged in a canal in Horseshoe Beach, Fla., on Sept. 1, two days after the passage of Hurricane Idalia. In July, Farmers Insurance announced it would no longer write policies in the state; in August, United Policy and Casualty went bankrupt, leaving 22,000 Floridians high and dry and all Florida residents having to pay to bail it out. Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press

Without counting Hurricane Lee, which at the time of writing had yet to reach New England, here are just some of the “greatest hits” of 2023: The forests of Canada have been burning nonstop since May. We had historic flooding in Vermont in July. Extreme heat and drought in southern Europe now followed by extreme flooding. Some parts of Greece have received a year’s worth of rain in just 12 hours. The devastating wildfires in Maui were driven by heat and winds from a nearby cyclone. Extensive floods in Brazil have displaced more than 3,500 people. Hilary became the first tropical storm to make landfall in Southern California in 80 years, dumping half a season’s worth of rain in the worst-hit areas. Hong Kong and the Chinese city of Shenzhen flooded by the heaviest rains on record.

This is not just Mother Nature “doing her thing” – rather, she’s trying to get our attention by throwing a temper tantrum.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, released in March, indicated that harmful carbon emissions have never been higher. The secretary-general of the U.N., António Guterres, echoed the warnings of scientists that it is “now or never” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

What is the response of the politicians in our country? Unfortunately, many Republicans adhere to Donald Trump’s view that climate change is a hoax. Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy recently used the word “hoax” to describe what he called “the climate agenda.” If the Republican Party indeed believes this and wants to be taken seriously on this issue, then it is time for them to stop making accusations and start marshaling some facts in support of their views.

Republicans might take note that at least one area of the private sector believes that climate change is indeed real and having a significant detrimental economic impact: Many insurance companies are either significantly increasing the premiums they charge for insuring real estate in Florida or dropping their coverage outright. In fact, not just Florida, but also the whole East Coast lies in a meteorological shooting gallery for hurricanes.

Insurance companies realize that, in face of more frequent and devastating hurricanes, it is no longer profitable to sell their products in places like Florida. This is with good reason. Look at the significant destruction of Hurricane Ian last September, estimated at $112 billion and at least 150 direct and indirect deaths. Florida was just recently hit again by Hurricane Idalia. Fortunately, Idalia made landfall in a sparsely populated area.

Many of the most severe effects of climate change in this country will be felt in states that are considered “red.” For example, Gulf Coast states like Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama are at higher risk of experiencing more extreme hurricanes. Sunbelt states like Arizona and Texas have already been experiencing severe temperatures that have led to higher rates of heat-related deaths. By choosing inaction, Republicans are backing policies that are harmful to their own constituents.

Republicans need to get their heads out of the sand and start trying to engage in meaningful negotiations with Democrats on climate policy before it is too late and today’s extreme weather events are no longer considered extreme.

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