It Took Sandy for the U.S. to Debate Science

It Took Sandy for the U.S. to Debate Science

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Until this week climate change was sadly absent from the presidential election discourse, even though scientific reports have linked the increasingly extreme events experienced recently in the US and elsewhere – the drought and heatwaves, deluges and blizzards that some call “weather weirding” – to systemic change rather than coincidental natural fluctuations.

Sandy has forced the issue on to the agenda at the last moment, at least in the region devastated by the storm. Andrew Cuomo, Democratic governor of New York, said: “Anyone who says there is not a dramatic change in weather patterns I think is denying reality.” Then Michael Bloomberg, independent mayor of New York City, endorsed Barack Obama specifically as the candidate most likely to tackle climate change. Although President Obama’s record on reducing the carbon dioxide emissions disappoints many of his supporters in the environmental movement, who expected more decisive action, a second Obama administration seems certain to do more than a President Mitt Romney surrounded by supporters who are sceptical about climate change and scornful of “climate alarmists”.

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