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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid