Editorial: A heated send-off for Pruitt

Before we relax into the relative comfort of this week’s milder temperatures, let’s remember the record-setting heat wave that Vermont and much of the northern hemisphere experienced last week.
It wasn’t just hot, in Africa temperatures soared to 124.3 degrees in Ouargla, Algeria (51.3 Celsius), a record high for that area. But that single record wasn’t the story. The story was that record temperatures were set over several days throughout the eastern two-thirds of the United States, in Canada, the British Isles, Europe, Euroasia, and Russian, including Siberia, where highs in the 90s saw polar ice melting like ice cubes on a hot griddle.
Well, almost.
Consider these record-highs:
• Burlington, Vt., set its all-time warmest low temperature ever recorded of 80 degrees on July 2, and topped out at 98 degrees.
• Denver, Colorado tied its all-time high-temperature record of 105 degrees on June 28.
• Montreal recorded its highest temperature in documented history, dating back 147 years, of 97.9 degrees (36.6 Celsius) on July 2. The city also posted its most extreme midnight combination of heat and humidity; and provincial officials proclaimed 34 deaths in the Montreal area were due to the heat wave.
Across the pond in Europe, the heat torched the British Isles late last week, causing roads and roofs to buckle and sparking wildfires, according to the Weather Channel, with record highs in Glasglow, Scotland (89.4 degrees. In Ireland, on June 28, Shannon hit 89.6 degrees (32 Celsius), its all-time record, while Belfast and Castlederg also hit record highs on June 28-29.
In Euroasia, temperatures in Yerevan, Armenia (north of Turkey and Iran), the capital city, soared to 107.6 degrees (42 Celsius) on July 2, a record high for July and tying its record for any month.
In the Middle East, Quriyat, Oman, posted the world’s hottest low temperature ever recorded on June 28—109 degrees (42.6 Celsius), which, if you can imagine sleeping in that heat, was the coolest time of the day.
But last week’s heat wave isn’t isolated. Rather, those records add to a growing list of heat-related milestones set over the past 15 months that, weather scientists say, are part of a trend of a hotter Earth as greenhouse gas concentrations increase because of human activity. Those trends include:
• In April, Pakistan posted the hottest temperature ever observed on Earth during that month of 122.4 degrees.
• Dallas, Texas had never hit 90 degrees in November before, but it did so three times in four days in 2017.
• In late October 2017, temperatures soared to 108 degrees in Southern California, the hottest weather on record so late in the season in the entire United States.
• On Sept. 1, 2017, San Francisco hit 106 degrees, smashing its all-time hottest temperature.
• In late July 2017, Shanghai, China registered its highest temperature in recorded history, 105.6 degrees (40.9 Celsius).
• In mid-July, Spain posted its highest temperature recorded when Cordoba Airport (in the south) hit 116.4 degrees (46.9 Celsius).
• In July 2017, Death Valley, Calif., endured the hottest month recorded on Earth.
• In late June 2017, Ahvaz, Iran, soared to 128.7 degrees Fahrenheit (53.7 Celsius) — that country’s all-time hottest temperature.
• In late May 2017, the western town of Turbat in Pakistan hit 128.3 degrees (53.5 Celsius), tying the all-time highest temperature in that country and the world-record temperature for May, according to Masters.
Add it all up, and the world’s temperatures have been escalating at an alarming rate for the past decade, with several of the hottest years ever recorded occurring in the past few years.
The heat spell across America was a fitting send-off to disgraced Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Scott Pruitt, who was finally encouraged to resign last week after 18-months of a scandal-ridden tenure in the Trump administration. During that time he wreaked havoc on the EPA’s policies meant to protect the nation’s air, water and environment, as well as grossly misusing taxpayer money on excessive travel, lavish furnishings for his office, alleged illegal treatment of personnel, and courting favors for his wife.
Pruitt, following in the footsteps of his boss, President Trump, has consistently denied the science of climate change in the face of almost 100 percent of the scientific community, and has steadily tried to roll-back polices put in place by President Obama to curtail greenhouse gases. It’s just one more wrong-headed policy under the Trump administration that will have dire consequences on Americans and the world for years to come.

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