HELLO CHICAGO/flickr

Peter Dykstra: Southern Discomfort

If environmental advocates really expect a seismic shift in party sympathies in the midterm elections, they'd do well to look away, look away from Dixieland. It's a mess.

ATLANTA—In the off-year 2017 elections, Doug Jones was just the Dreamland candidate for Southern Democrats' comeback.


Relatively telegenic and a civil rights prosecutor, Jones faced the best odds an Alabama Democrat had in years: His Republican opponent, Roy Moore, had twice been bounced from the Alabama Supreme Court for ignoring Constitutional mandates. And Moore was buried in a dozen complaints that he trolled, stalked, or groped young women decades earlier.

Although Moore denied all accusations, his campaign wallowed in an epic pit of creepiness.

The relatively unassailable Jones managed a 1.7 percent victory for a partial-term Senate seat he'll be hard-pressed to keep in 2020.

One-point-seven percent, over a guy dragging credible child molestation charges to the polls. That may well be the pinnacle of the Democrats' revival in the Confederate states. Trumpian rhetoric on immigration and re-ignition of controversies over Civil War statues and symbols poll well here, thrusting hot-button issues from the 20th and 19th Centuries into a 21st Century template.

And Jones isn't alone. There are few races in the South that offer any hope of flipping either US chamber away from anti-environmental regulatory rollback agendas, or appointments of anti-regulatory judges.

In Tennessee, Rep. Marsha Blackburn stands a good chance of succeeding retiring fellow Republican Senator Bob Corker. Blackburn's green credentials include a fierce fight against energy-saving compact fluorescent lightbulbs as well as a fierce fight for climate denial.

A few other hardcore climate deniers are quitting, but their seats are a virtual lock to stay in GOP hands. Rep. "Smoky Joe" Barton was the guy who offered a House Floor apology to BP after what he saw as rough treatment by the Obama Administration following BP's 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

And fellow Texan Lamar Smith turned his Chairmanship of the House Science Committee into a years-long inquisition into climate science. Their departures will impact climate denial seniority, but not climate denial numbers.

Many environmental advocates are banking on the uphill battle of Stacey Abrams, former Georgia House Minority Leader, to defeat Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Incumbent Florida Senator Bill Nelson may be fiercely challenged by Tea Party Governor Rick Scott, who currently has a slim polling lead. A Scott victory could nullify any Democratic hopes for a US Senate takeover.

And continued GOP control over statehouses and legislatures could stop clean energy's advance in its tracks down here.

vtdigger.org

A long history of building for cold weather may have consequences as the climate warms

Burlington was recently found to have an exceptionally high level of trapped heat compared to other cities. That could be partly due to building design intended for colder climates.

Get our Good News newsletter

Get the best positive, solutions-oriented stories we've seen on the intersection of our health and environment, FREE every Tuesday in your inbox. Subscribe here today. Keep the change tomorrow.

When climate change came for my favorite glacier

As a college student, writer Julia Rosen spent a summer on Alaska's Taku Glacier, which kept growing for decades in spite of warming temperatures. Now, she reckons with its uncertain fate.

thenarwhal.ca

In Manitoba, drought worsened by climate change is upending Prairie life

Farmers wait, desperate for rain, in a prolonged season of extremely dry conditions across central Canada where both provincial and federal government have intervened with emergency adaptation measures.

www.thestar.com

California says federal 'let it burn' policy reckless as wildfires rage

The U.S. Forest Service lets some blazes burn. California officials say that practices should be updated as blazes explode, partly because of climate change.
www.latimes.com

In drought-plagued northern Mexico, tens of thousands of cows are starving to death

Sonora is the cattle capital of Mexico. But prolonged drought is killing off the herds.