As drought and wildfires blanket the western United States, Republicans still refuse to even acknowledge that climate change is real. At times, it’s a quaint problem that shows how backwards and easily dismissed Republican positions can be. At other times, it has devastating consequences.

David Roberts wrote about the problem of ignoring climate change earlier this year:

Denialism is increasingly seen, not only among elites but in popular culture, as atavistic and conspiracy-minded. Climate has become one of those issues where the gulf between the insular far right and the rest of American (to say nothing of Western) culture has become so vast that it is serving like a moat, keeping out the very demographic groups the GOP needs in coming years.

Can Republicans continue to ignore the problems of climate change, even as the second Republican debate is set to take place in California tonight? They need to, most Americans already accept that climate change is real, they just don’t all agree on what its effects are.

As Salon explains:

The maps show that a majority of adults in every state, every congressional district and almost 99% of counties believe that global warming is real. This reflects the reality that nationally, 63% think global warming is happening. However, but only 42% think it is already harming people in the U.S. now, or within 10 years, and only a small number of counties or congressional districts show a majority think harm imminent. If this begins to change – which it well might after a summer like this – then the problem for the GOP will grow dramatically worse.

The longer Republicans deny climate change, the more their policies will injure the people they are supposed to represent. At the same time though, the longer Republicans deny climate change, the more out of touch with Americans they will become.

For more on this, read the article on Salon titled: “Carly Fiorina’s climate change nonsense: Let’s see the GOP candidates deny reality at California debate, while California burns.”