Yes, yes, it’s unsophisticated to blame any given storm on climate change. Men and women in white lab coats tell us—and they’re right—that many factors contribute to each severe weather episode. Climate deniers exploit scientific complexity to avoid any discussion at all.I will soon try to lay out the science in a post tomorrow morning that explains the connections between heating of the north Atlantic ocean and Sandy and the rise in extreme weather in the U.S. over the past 15 years. The case is clear, but it's complicated. I'm glad that Bloomberg Business Week made the case in simple terms for all to see. When 97% of climate scientists agree that we are causing climate change, there's no need for subtlety. The basic science has long been settled. The scientific debates are on the details over the rate and severity of change. When the world's largest reinsurer issues a report blaming global warming for the 5 fold increase in insurance losses in the U.S. the time for bureaucratic qualifiers is over.
Clarity, however, is not beyond reach. Hurricane Sandy demands it: At least 40 U.S. deaths. Economic losses expected to climb as high as $50 billion. Eight million homes without power. Hundreds of thousands of people evacuated. More than 15,000 flights grounded. Factories, stores, and hospitals shut. Lower Manhattan dark, silent, and underwater.
Mitt Romney has gone from being a supporter years ago of clean energy and emission caps to, more recently, a climate agnostic. On Aug. 30, he belittled his opponent’s vow to arrest climate change, made during the 2008 presidential campaign. “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet,” Romney told the Republican National Convention in storm-tossed Tampa. “My promise is to help you and your family.” Two months later, in the wake of Sandy, submerged families in New Jersey and New York urgently needed some help dealing with that rising-ocean stuff.Sandy is a catastrophe, but this response by BBW gives me hope that Sandy may finally get the U.S. to get serious about climate change.