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Trent Franks is a Climate Change Denier

Rep. Trent Franks

"I have yet to see clear and convincing evidence that it exists beyond historical fluctuations."


What climate change means for Arizona

  • In July and August 2010, Arizona experienced devastating severe storms and flooding. The President declared a major disaster, and the state required more than $6 million in Federal public assistance to support recovery and rebuilding efforts.
  • Drought-sparked wildfire has killed off many of the region’s trees, and warm winters have allowed the destructive bark beetle to thrive. Combined, fire and beetles have destroyed trees across 20 percent of forests in Arizona and New Mexico. In 2011, three wildfires—the Wallow Fire (the largest in Arizona history), the Monument Fire, and the Horseshoe Two Fire—burned hundreds of thousands of acres, forced the evacuation of several towns, and required more than $5.85 million in public assistance.
  • In Arizona, there were more than 7,600 hospital admissions for asthma in 2011, with an average charge of more than $21,900 for each stay.
  • Temperatures in the Southwest are increasing more quickly than in other regions of the United States as a result of climate change. These increases can have important impacts on human health, particularly in cities, where 90 percent of the region’s population lives. Decreases in air quality during heat waves, for example, can worsen the effects of respiratory illnesses and heart disease; high temperatures also increase the risk of heat stress. Even small increases in temperature can dry soils and vegetation, increasing the risk of wildfires. In 2012, wildfires burned 9.2 million acres across eight states, reducing air quality, damaging property and costing more than $1 billion. Water resources, already over-tapped in many areas, will become even scarcer as a result of increased evaporation and snowmelt caused by higher temperatures, affecting agriculture, hydroelectric power plants, and water availability in growing cities such as Phoenix and Las Vegas. This will also reduce groundwater recharge, which, combined with heavy groundwater pumping, will lower water tables and limit water availability and make it harder to support the Southwest region’s cities and agricultural production. Although water scarcity will increase, the Southwest will also see increased frequency and altered timing of flooding because of increased intensity of rainfalls when they do occur, leading to increased risks to people, natural resources, and infrastructure.