Yael T. Abouhalkah

U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler gives global warming a cold shoulder

Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri is cool to the reality of global warming.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri is cool to the reality of global warming. The Associated Press

U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri hasn’t exactly distinguished herself as a leading light of knowledge during her years in Congress, and lots of people know it.

So it wasn’t too surprising to see a tweet from the 4th District Republican this week, during a cold spell over much of the country, which said:

“Global warming strikes America! Brrrr!”

Critics saw the tweet as naive or clueless; her supporters saw it as poking fun at climate change proponents.

The former group produced stories with this kind of headline: “Dumb tweet of the day: Rep. Vicky Hartzler doesn’t understand how global warming works.”

But then something even better happened. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump prepared a brilliant response that contained just the right amount of gentle criticism of Hartzler with scientific accuracy about what’s really going on with global warming.

A few highlights:

▪ “Hartzler’s district sits just southeast of Kansas City, Mo. Over the past four decades, Kansas City has gotten about half a degree warmer on average every decade.” See the link to search for that information.

▪ “Maybe Hartzler wasn’t referring only to the temperature in Missouri or Washington today. Maybe she was wondering about global temperatures, over a long period, and thinks there’s no evidence of warming. There is.” And here’s the link.

Hartzler can ignore science all she wants. But it doesn’t make climate change any less real — and any less worrisome.

As Bump wrote: “The study of climate change is dependent on a lot of extrapolations, and the exact effects are hard to predict. One thing that is clear is that there will still be cold days even as temperatures warm. Another thing that is clear is that those cold days will inspire a lot of good jokes on Twitter about climate change.”

To reach editorial page columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.