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#5 Climate change is real, says South Carolina mayor rushing back to hurricane

SAN FRANCISCO — Steve Benjamin, a mayor from South Carolina, flew into this city to talk about climate change — and was rushing back out to deal with a hurricane. 

“We in the Carolinas are forced to deal with the realities of climate change every single day,” Benjamin told USA TODAY from the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport as the Democratic lawmaker waited for his plane to return him to Columbia, S.C., the state capital of 134,000 where people are bracing for Hurricane Florence, which has already forced the evacuations of more than 1 million.

Scientists say that the strength of hurricanes could increase in the future due to climate change, and they've pointed to fossil-fuel burning as a contributor to a turbulent summer of global floods, heat waves and wildfires. 

Florence, feared to be as bad or worse than last year's Hurricane Harvey because of its size and the chance that it will bring days of rain and severe flooding, is the kind of extreme weather mayors like Benjamin are worried about. 

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