The Washington Post

The hottest month ever?


Don’t look so hot to me. (Dave Martin/AP)

According to NOAA, July was the hottest month on record, in the lower 48 states, since they began keeping track in 1895. The hottest!

No doubt this sort of thing is what prompted that recent scientific paper attributing such events to climate change.

The previous record was set in 1936, when we completely ignored the heat, too busy with pressing 1930s business like ignoring Hitler.

But I defy you to produce any climate change. If climate change is real, why isn’t it on Twitter? Why, just two days ago I saw beach volleyball players clad in head-to-toe leggings. Beach volleyball, mind you. Surely these weather reports are greatly exaggerated.

“Pray, don’t talk to me about the weather,” says a character in Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.” “Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else.”

And here, too, I feel that creeping sense. You aren’t just saying that it is hot, hotter than we have thus far ever recorded. You are saying that this is the sort of thing we should expect with climate change. “Seeeee,” you are saying. I can hear it in your tone. Don’t you realize that every time you say a thing like that, no matter where he is, Al Gore grows more insufferable?

Besides, I thought we had decided that the science on climate wasn’t settled yet. That science better not have snuck around and settled behind our backs while we were yelling about it. You hear that, science? Come back here! Settling is for sediment and people in their thirties sick of waiting around for the perfect man to share their appreciation of Etruscan vases. Even the people who believe in these things say it’s impossible to draw a line straight from climate change to one specific weather event, like this heat wave, or an unplanned ice age, or mysterious clouds forming over Utah to spell out YES EVEN THOUGH YOU CAN’T BLAME SPECIFIC EVENTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE, IT WOULD INCREASE THE PROBABILITY OF SUCH ABERRATIONS’ OCCURRING. Those clouds just need more hobbies.

Besides, we only have data from 1895 onward. Lots of things happened before 1895. The Founders all lived before 1895. What was good enough for them is more than good enough for us. They didn’t need NOAA and all their fancy alchemy.

So what I’m saying is, never mind July. Never mind NOAA. The only NOAA I trust spelled it with an H at the end and judiciously toted a few dinosaurs on the ark.

The best explanation I have come up with for July is that the Lord is punishing us for believing in climate change by making the earth hotter. Please, end this heresy, and burn more fossil fuels with all due haste so that this punishment may end.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".

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