To the Editor:
With thousands of people still without power, going to celebrate the Fourth of July in the heat wasn’t too much of a change from the previous days. If nothing else they were conditioned for it, unlike many tourists flying in to enjoy the spectacles put on by our nation’s capital on its birthday. Still, Virginians without power in their homes had the opportunity to spend the day exploring air-conditioned museums, taking whatever relief possible from the hot summer day — and soak in some of the nation’s history, instead of just the sunshine.
Climate change is the one of the most profound threats of our time — and Virginians taking a break from cleaning up neighborhoods to enjoy the 4th in D.C. could find brief relief from the heat as temperatures soared and showed no sign of stopping throughout the day. Since Jan. 1, the United States has set more than 40,000 hot temperature records, but fewer than 6,000 cold temperature records, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And the first day of summer only started two weeks ago.
These dangers are cause for immediate action. But political posturing, partisan gridlock and the influence of powerful polluters has paralyzed our leaders in D.C. It is essential for Virginians to support and encourage local, regional, and state governments to limit carbon pollution from power plants and invest in clean energy otherwise we better prepare ourselves for more extreme heat.