Scholars, politicians find a way to tie up with last month’s deadly tornadoes

WASHINGTON — Advocates of action on climate change are looking for silver linings in the deadly winter tornadoes that have struck the South in recent weeks.

Using the occasion to attack President Donald Trump’s administration on climate change is not a new tack, but this one has succeeded with enough success that the Twittersphere is already full of liberals using the tornadoes to promote how Trump’s “got us screwed” on the issue.

On Sunday, for example, Vice President Mike Pence’s role in rolling back Obama-era climate policies that had curbed carbon emissions by the U.S. was used to slam the president.

Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmentalist behind the political organization NextGen Climate, tweeted: “Hurricane Harvey was caused by climate change. These tornadoes were caused by climate denial. @VP & @POTUS ‘got us screwed’ on climate change.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, has returned fire on Steyer using the tornadoes to push his “Get Rid of Trump” campaign.

Turner tweeted a video of a showing this week, saying: “Here is the latest video I did on my reelection campaign. I want the people of Houston to understand who is really being blamed for us having this devastation and we have all the mayors and local officials on this video saying that the @POTUS and the EPA are to blame and doing everything to deny climate change.”

The tornadoes appear to be unrelated to climate change — yet the debates on who is to blame for what seem to be inevitable to continue, according to video clips from the former.

But in past tornadoes, whether natural or man-made, the reasons for why they occurred have been debated, too. In Houston, Trump has disputed the science that found climate change led to the storms.

And this one comes as Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who is being positioned as the Republican candidate to challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in the November midterm elections, is backing the oil industry’s argument that the battles over regulation of climate change have a chilling effect on investment in energy research.

Tornadoes are a natural phenomenon in the country, with the most active season coming in spring. The tornadoes that hit in December in part resulted from a storm system tracked by the National Weather Service.

Cities in Tennessee and Florida made news last year when officials acknowledged that some tornadoes were caused by pollutants released from automobile exhaust.

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