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View Diary: NY Times reporter asks President question that NY Times deems not newsworthy (116 comments)

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  •  Then, he's just wrong, in this case. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, Calamity Jean, caul, mightymouse

    Because the size was due in part to the shifted jet stream, you can say that climate change played a role. Many scientists have said that. So, he's wrong. I'd like to see him correct that, even if he's trying to steer away from the issue right now.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 04:18:20 PM PST

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    •  that's actually NOT proven science. Some (4+ / 0-)

      scientists suggest that, others dispute it.  There is a possibility that high-pressure 'blocking in the north Atlantic may be in part attributable to melting sea ice--(although despite Sandy and this nor'easter, it's this same blocking that seems to have kept many other named storms out to sea that may otherwise have hit the coast).

      The size was enhanced by the blocking high, as well as the interaction with a major cold front.  There is some possibility that warm SSTs off the coast kept pressures down (although note that the hurricane rapidly strengthened between Jamaica and Cuba defying expectations).

      The one thing that I would say is the strongest argument is elevated sea levels, particularly in the 'bend' north of Long Island (1' over the last century at Battery Park).  

      But for you to say that Obama is 'wrong' on this is a weak and unsubstantiated comment.  Obama is not a scientist--and while scientists agriee that climate change is real, its influence on hurricanes is extremely complex and not well understood.  

      •  Can I be pedantic? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, caul, MichaelNY

        I would say that one can attribute the size of the storm (or the droughts) to climate change, in that a highly plausible causal connection can be inferred from a combination of mechanistic understanding and indirect evidence.   However, provin that attribution is difficult and not indisputable.

        A proof is something that makes you beleive something more.  Thus, depending on the weight applied one may or may not be able to prove this connection, I. The sense that the evidence will prove the attribution for some but not others.  

        This has been a golden age for confirmation bias. - David Brooks

        by Mindful Nature on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:49:04 PM PST

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        •  the droughts are much more correlative than (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, Notreadytobenice, gramofsam1

          this storm, considering similar storms have occurred throughout the 20th century.  I  think it's likely that sea level rise exacerbated the damage (although I'd argue that a more substantial factor is coastal development, population shift, etc.--basically people badly miscalculating risk-benefit ratios).  

          But I'm glad Obama didn't play into the 'climate change caused Sandy' meme because it's incredibly simplistic.  He stressed that some significant weather events are likely to be exacerbated, which is, I think, a good way of framing things.

          •  The fact that the storm's landing (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY

            coincided with one of the highest tides of the year was probably much more of a factor than rising sea levels. This unfortunate coincidence added several feet to the storm surge.

            Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

            by OIL GUY on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:26:00 PM PST

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          •  It was the worst storm in the New York area (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, FischFry

            since the 1930s, and there's plenty of other evidence of local warming and more and more severe storms in the area, plus a general increase in the frequency and destructiveness of tropical storms, hurricanes, and droughts. Whether that proves we are in the early stages of the greenhouse effect is something scientists argue about, but I for one am completely convinced.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:34:38 AM PST

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            •  that's actually incorrect--there really isn't an (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MichaelNY

              increasing trend in the number or frequency of tropical systems.  Actually,  many AGW scenarios actually anticipate a decrease in number (although an increase in precipitation and possibly intensity).

              But the AGW-tropical systems link really is--at present--weak.  Doesn't mean that that won't change--but it's weak.  I was referred to the IPCC's documentation on this, so I actually read through it!

              You're right about the droughts, though--and probably other large-precipitation events (but keep in mind the destructiveness of this storm really wasn't in the rain or the winds--but the storm surge compounded by high tide AND a full moon).  Without those, this wouldn't have been that bad.

      •  Obama was speaking to both sets of voters (12+ / 0-)

        in this election.

        I typically enjoy A Siegel's diaries, but feel he parsed this one a little too closely and may have passed over the more general, inclusive acceptance of his stance to act upon man-made emissions and climate change impacts that Obama is trying to engender in even the skeptical voters.  

        He's a politician trying to bring out support in a manner which is his style, a patient manner which uses build-up.  It's not everyone's style or even preferred when some of us see these issues as long-overdue, but he has always been about gradualism - and, that includes softening the electorate enough to come to his side of things.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:50:27 PM PST

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        •  You really (10+ / 0-)

          won't like the LA Times take then:  Obama signals he's putting climate change on back burner

          The fact that climate change got some attention at Wednesday’s presidential press conference could be viewed as progress by environmentalists, after they watched the issue go virtually ignored during the just-concluded campaign.

          President Obama made many of the right sounds for activists on the issue. In response to a question from the New York Times’s Mark Landler, Obama said America must “make sure that this is not something we're passing on to future generations, that's going to be very expensive and very painful to deal with.”

          But the president also signaled that reducing carbon emissions comes nowhere near the top of his agenda, at least as he looks forward to the start of his second term.

          In terms of his gradualism, as I highlighted in this diary, he has said many of the same things about 'education' in the past. His past language was FAR more forceful than what we've heard in the past several years. He chose not to address climate change seriously during the Presidential campaign.  There are many reasons for serious caution when it comes to the President on climate change.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:07:51 PM PST

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          •  That articles doesn't seem to offer anything (7+ / 0-)

            which I haven't seen or understood thus far.

            A carbon tax would be impossible to pass with this Congress, for example.  He could push the Senate to lower taxes on the top 1% every month of the next two years and the House Republicans will never agree to caps.

            I felt he used the right language for the press audience, given that the other side of the electorate still has many voices calling for secession from the union due to his position of power in government.  As usual, he'll look for how to move on climate change through means that Congress can't touch as easily, I figure.

            Still, his pace of gradualism taxes even my incrementalist tendencies and patience oftentimes, so none of this is unfortunately a surprise.

            And, that's why I'm not upset about his response.  My expectations in this area have already been set rather low.

            "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

            by wader on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:27:08 PM PST

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          •  President Obama has done far (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nirbama, caul, MichaelNY

            more to address the issue of climate change than simplistic critics like yourself ever will. Doubling the fuel economy standards (which received virtually no coverage in either the MSM or the blogosphere) did more to reduce carbon emissions than any action taken by an American President.

            He has invested many billions into green energy, modified dozens of EPA regulations to maximize their environmental benefits and yet you complain that he hasn't done enough to satisfy you.

            I say: Too fucking bad!

            Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

            by OIL GUY on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:35:21 PM PST

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        •  Right, except saying it's "not a partisan issue" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caul, maryabein

          is admitting that he himself, a Democrat, isn't going to be risking much more on air pollution issues (which is really what is causing climate change) than Republicans, because it is "politically difficult."

          Once in office, most ambitious politicians primary goal is not "making the world a better place," but getting re-elected.

          And just as he has spent the last four years more concerned about getting re-elected, than standing up to the Republicans, or for any specific issue/s, he's not expecting anyone in Congress to display any more courage than he has.  

          It is sad, and has terrible implications for everyone's future.

          •  No, it doesn't mean this (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wader
            saying it's "not a partisan issue" is admitting that he himself, a Democrat, isn't going to be risking much more on air pollution issues
            It means he knows not much is likely to get through Congress, though he will try, and it also shows understanding for Democrats like Senator Manchin of WV and Senator Landrieu of LA, whose states depend on coal and oil, respectively.

            He will take more actions through regulations by Executive agencies.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:39:47 AM PST

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            •  When he gets out front on this (0+ / 0-)

              and starts making serious speeches about the issue, or in any way pushes Americans or Congress on the eminent danger of climate change, wake me up.

              •  It doesn't matter what he says (0+ / 0-)

                in the sense that the Republicans who control the House are climate change deniers and won't vote for anything worth a damn. So he has to act by Executive order and regulation.

                Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 12:19:49 PM PST

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                •  But needs to talk about climate change (0+ / 0-)

                  to have support for those measures ... and to help elect a Congressin 2015 who will support action.

                  Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                  by A Siegel on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:07:44 PM PST

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                  •  What chances do you think Democrats have (0+ / 0-)

                    to regain the House in 2014? My feeling is, barring something egregious like the Republicans impeaching the president for jaywalking, less than 1%.

                    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                    by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:58:30 PM PST

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                    •  Even w/redistricting ... (0+ / 0-)

                      I believe the odds would be high if OFA's organizational and resource talents are put to work to support this.  A 435 district effort, with the President putting some real energy into it, and an unending discussion of the House being obstacle to policies to help Americans ...  Count me the eternal optimistic pessimist ... or pessimistic optimist.

                      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                      by A Siegel on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 04:35:16 AM PST

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    •  Show me one study that proves (0+ / 0-)

      your hypothesis. You are merely speculating and this type of speculation is highly corrosive to the arguments for climate change. It is very much like the Republicans scoffing at global warming because Washington DC got hit by a blizzard two years ago.

      The President was correct to avoid the issue of causality in terms of the impact of Hurricane Sandy. Storms similar to Sandy have landed in the Northeast before. I'm not trying to say that some of the effects are likely do to climate change, but it is certainly wrong to assert that as proven fact.

      Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

      by OIL GUY on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:22:59 PM PST

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      •  Name similar storms (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FischFry

        to hit the Northeast since 1938 or so.

        I agree that causality can't be proven, but the evidence is very suggestive.

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:40:43 AM PST

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      •  Climate change makes Sandy more likely (3+ / 0-)

        Steroids made Barry Bonds Home runs more likely.

        to ask, "was this particular HR on 7/21/99 by Mr. Bonds caused by steroids?" is almost an unanswerable question - the kind of question posed by one who wants to confuse the real, statistical link between steroid use and home runs.

        Here are some ways climate change makes Sandy more likely (from Joe Romm):

        1.   Warming-driven sea level rise makes storm surges more destructive. In fact, a recent study found “The sea level on a stretch of the US Atlantic coast that features the cities of New York, Norfolk and Boston is rising up to four times faster than the global average.”

        2.    “Owing to higher SSTs [sea surface temperatures] from human activities, the increased water vapor in the atmosphere leads to 5 to 10% more rainfall and increases the risk of flooding,” as Kevin Trenberth explained to me in a 2011 email about Hurricane Irene. He elaborates on that point for Sandy here and for all superstorms in this article.

         3.   “However, because water vapor and higher ocean temperatures help fuel the storm, it is likely to be more intense and bigger as well,” Trenberth added (see another of his articles here). Relatedly, warming also extends the range of warm SSTs, which can help sustain the strength of a hurricane as it steers on a northerly track into cooler water (much as apparently happened for Irene). September had the second highest global ocean temperatures on record and the Eastern seaboard was 5°F warmer than average (with global warming  responsible for about 1°F of that).

        4.   The unusual path of the storm — into the heavily populated east coast rather than out to see — was caused by a very strong blocking high pressure system that recent studies have linked to warming.  Meteorologist and former Hurricane Hunter Jeff Masters has an excellent analysis of this, “Why did Hurricane Sandy take such an unusual track into New Jersey?“

        An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

        by mightymouse on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:41:35 AM PST

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