Today is election day in the US, but climate change should have been on the campaign agenda months ago. It shouldn't take a disaster like superstorm Sandy to finally bring it back into the conversation.
The devastation caused by superstorm Sandy, particularly in New York and New Jersey, is tragic, but the hurricane has at least put climate change back on the map. Scientists link climate change to increasingly volatile and extreme weather conditions, such as those experienced last week. Americans must take Sandy as a sign of what’s to come – based on a problem we have largely helped to create. Storms like Sandy are only part of a much larger issue that will wreak havoc far afield from the Eastern seaboard.
It’s unacceptable that it took a disaster like Sandy to finally bring climate change back into the conversation. Today is election day in the United States, but climate change should have been on the campaign agenda months ago. In fact, it should always be on the agenda. The evidence shouldn’t be disputed any longer. Climate change is real, and its effects are being seen in real time.
Climate change cannot be blamed for Sandy’s propagation, but it is linked to the magnitude and destruction we see with Sandy and similar storms. Warmer ocean temperatures fuel stronger cyclones, according to Radley Horton of The Earth Institute of Columbia University. Rising sea levels, like those New York has experienced over the last century, contribute to greater storm surge and flooding. What might have been a tame storm can become a monster – a Frankenstorm.
News of Sandy and its terror quickly circulated around the world, putting everyone’s eyes on the East Coast. However, it’s time the public looked toward the area most deeply endangered by and entangled in the issue of climate change. It’s time to look north.