Getting Political with Sandy

Lots of pundits are cautioning Obama and Romney against “playing politics” with the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I disagree. I’d say if there was ever a time to play politics, now is it.

As far as I can tell, neither candidate has broken their “climate silence” in relation to Hurricane Sandy – that is, explicitly connect the dots and say in no uncertain terms that Hurricane Sandy was, as George Lakoff so accurately described it, systemically caused by global warming:

Global warming systemically caused the huge and ferocious Hurricane Sandy. And consequently, it systemically caused all the loss of life, material damage, and economic loss of Hurricane Sandy. Global warming heated the water of the Gulf and Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in greatly increased energy and water vapor in the air above the water.  When that happens, extremely energetic and wet storms occur more frequently and ferociously. These systemic effects of global warming came together to produce the ferocity and magnitude of Hurricane Sandy.

The precise details of Hurricane Sandy cannot be predicted in advance, any more than when, or whether, a smoker develops lung cancer, or sex without contraception yields an unwanted pregnancy, or a drunk driver has an accident.  But systemic causation is nonetheless causal.

If we do believe that, in the wake of this devastation we must redouble our efforts to prevent future tragedies such as this from occurring, then the most important thing we can do is to play politics. And the first step is to break climate silence. Even if our leaders are unwilling, it is time for us to speak up and face down the deniers.

Please watch and share the clip above to everyone you know. Then help those who are advocating in no uncertain terms for public policies that will curb carbon emissions and promote alternative energies worldwide.


3 Comments on “Getting Political with Sandy”

  1. i_like_ike52 says:

    I find it fascinating that virtually all “progressives” that I have encountered also believe in the supposedly human-induced Global Warming theory which is just that, a theory and not a proven fact (it can’t be “proven” until detailed observations and models are tested over many, many years). Why should scientific opinions be correlated with political viewpoints? It seems to reflect an overall view of “progressives” that says “we are all doomed”, a generally pessimistic outlook on life, a feeling of rage at how the world is run and ultimately despair at the fact that most people don’t think this way. Just wait to see the reponse of the “progressive” community should Romney be elected President!

    PS-I looked at George Lakoff’s column, I thought he would be a climate scientiest or something but it turns out that he is a political activist. Thus, I don’t know what qualifications he has to definitely state that this hurricane was caused by “global warming” . It has been known for decades now that the frequency of hurricanes is cyclical which each cycle being decades long and existed long before the “global warming” theory appeared on the scene. Even if the human-caused global warming theory should prove to be true, maybe it will make the weather more mild and there will be less “extreme weather”. Why should we assume that global warming makes weather more extreme? Or is this just more “progressive” pessmisism which says “any change just has to be for the worse”?

    • Ike,

      The TED talk clip on this post features James Hansen, a respected NASA physicist who does indeed point out that the effects of climate change have been “observed and tested over many, many years.” As he demonstrates, all of the predictions that were made more than 20 years ago have now come to pass. This is not simply the opinion of Dr. Hansen – the human-driven effects of climate change have been accepted by an overwhelming consensus of the worldwide scientific community.

      This being the case, I would suggest it is imperative that these scientific findings be correlated with political viewpoints. As Hansen and Lakoff point out, political will is needed to implement the policies that will turn back the devastating effects of global warming.

  2. Ross says:

    A dogma of market idolatry is that people acting in their own self interest leads to the common good for all. Global warming shows that unregulated self interest can lead to catastrophe for all. I think most people who proclaim that they don’t believe in global warming are market idolitrists who really oppose global warming for religious reasons no matter how much they might argue about the science.


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