News / Science & Technology

Hurricane Sandy Reignites Climate Change Debate

Hurricane Sandy Reignites Climate Change Debatei
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Brian Padden
November 01, 2012 8:51 PM
The devastation to New York City and the eastern seaboard of the United States from Hurricane Sandy has reignited the debate over global warming. Many experts believe the warming of the planet is largely caused by the burning of fossil fuels. VOA’s Brian Padden talked to climate change activists and skeptics about Sandy’s potential impact on environmental policy.
Hurricane Sandy Reignites Climate Change Debate
Brian Padden
The devastation to New York City and the eastern seaboard of the United States from Hurricane Sandy has reignited the debate over global warming.  Many experts believe the warming of the planet is largely caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

Hurricane Sandy cut power to about 8 million homes, shut down 70 percent of East Coast oil refineries, and will exceed, economists say, the $15 billion worth of damage caused last year when Hurricane Irene hit New York.  

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state must adapt to the reality of more frequent extreme weather events.
 
Carol Werner with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute says climate change scientists have long predicted that intense storms, droughts, and forest fires would result from the rising temperatures and sea levels caused by global warming.

“Scientists have been warning us about this for decades, and unfortunately it is all happening much earlier than what they had originally predicted back in the 80s,” Werner said.

But climate change skeptics take issue with the argument that global warming is to blame for intense storms.  Patrick Michaels with the Cato Institute says New York has just been unlucky.

“It was the moon’s fault.  This storm hit at full moon which raises the tide there a couple of feet, so the storm set a record.  If it had occurred any other time in the lunar cycle, that wouldn’t have happened,” Michaels said.

Climate change believers and skeptics agree that plans for coastal and low-lying areas must adapt to rising sea levels.  

But there is still no consensus to mandate the reduction of carbon fuel emissions to mitigate the effects of global warming.  Michaels says the private sector will change over time as innovations bring down the costs of clean energy.

“The best policy is not to do very much about it because technologies will change dramatically over the course of a century.  Consider what it was like a century ago, you know.  What’s nuclear power or what’s this box I have in my pocket that can access all the information in the world?,” Michaels said.

Werner says the government needs to lead on the issue.

“Yes, the private sector is critical in terms of investment, but the private sector will also tell you, industry after industry will say we need government leadership.  We need certainty in terms of policy.  That is the most critical thing to enable us to truly move forward,” Werner said.  

She says the lesson of Hurricane Sandy is that the cost of doing nothing is rising.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid