This critical article on climate change was written by * Betsy Rosenberg
As the New Jersey Shore's "surreality" show continues to unfold on TV, one cannot help but note all the ads on CNN and Fox News from those that likely helped make such epic storms possible, or -- at the very least -- helped to make them worse. Commercials from the oil and coal industry pepper the coverage like so many reminders of what is NOT being discussed by the mainstream news media; the role our dependence on fossil fuels is playing in this unfolding mega disaster.
The numbers are staggering enough: some 60 million Americans directly impacted by Superstorm Sandy, at least 74 Americans dead, and, at last count up to 10 million people who lost power. When the electricity comes back on and the damage toll is tallied, the bill is likely to reach $20 billion or higher. And that does not include all the travel upheaval or the hit to the economy in general.
It seems the summer that brought us the worst drought in modern history, fires in dozens of states, and some 40,000 temperature records broken this year alone, is now being followed by an autumn that spawned Sandy, what some are already calling the Storm of the Century. Or, at least the latest one. With sand turning Atlantic City into a beach, the boardwalk into the broad wreck, homes broken in Hoboken, and more than 11 feet of floodwater on Wall Street with gale force winds tossing cars around like matchsticks in Manhattan, you'd have to work for the coal and oil industry to miss the irony -- as well as the tragedy -- encompassed in the continued political silence on climate change....
While we know we can't pin any one (mega) storm on climate disruption, there is no question but that warmer coastal waters are adding more precipitation and energy to these systems. And while the Arctic storm which is dumping snow on several eastern states cannot be blamed on Sandy, the collision of both at the same time makes for one hell of a hybrid weather event. And it's not even winter yet.
Not all politicians are remaining silent on climate change. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made my day when he declared, "Anyone who says there hasn't been a dramatic change in weather patterns is in denial. We have a new reality and old infrastructures and old systems." Well put.
And Representative Ed Markey, long-time climate change champion and top Democrat on the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, noted, "For this superstorm to occur so late in the storm season, reach such fury, and have the kinds of flooding impacts that we are seeing, is fully consistent with what scientists have told us we should expect due to global warming. It's time to admit the obvious fact that climate change is here. Warmer water in the Atlantic is fueling stronger storms, the seas are higher, and the dramatic changes in the Arctic are potentially altering the path of storms hundreds of miles away. Climate change is no longer some far off issue; it's at our doorstep. We must consider how to address the underlying factors that are fueling these extreme weather events."
Other than Green Party candidate Jill Stein, the presidential candidates are still mum and MIA on the connection between extreme weather and climate change. While Sandy has knocked both President Obama and Mitt Romney off the campaign trail, they are not getting on topic with the green elephant in the room...the likely arrival of climate change. While Sandy has impacted campaign schedules, she has not yet altered the agenda, let alone the day's talking points.
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*Betsy Rosenberg is a green speaker, writer, commentator and host of the internet radio show, The Green Front on the Progressive Radio Network. A 25-year veteran of broadcast news (CBS Radio reporter and anchor), Rosenberg has been hosting and producing environmentally-themed programs since last century! She broke new ground with EcoTalk, the nation's first daily green talk show, heard on Air America Radio between 2004-2007.