Posted 6 months ago on Nov. 5, 2012, 12:44 a.m. EST by WSmith
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Hundred year storms happening in five year intervals, and "Big Government" comes to the rescue. Where's the Republicon's denial of climate change and the horrors of "Big Government" NOW???
Ask (R) Chis Christie and (R) Mayor Bloomberg!!
This Tuesday may TRUTH trump LIES!!
The Nation / By Mark Hertsgaard Can Sandy Help Jolt America Out of Climate Change Denial?
For decades, scientists have been warning that global warming would bring a catastrophic increase in extreme weather. When will we start listening?
October 31, 2012 |
The following article first appeared in the Nation. For more great content from the Nation, sign up for their email newsletters here.
Never has a hurricane been more aptly, if tragically, named than Sandy, the superstorm that flooded New York City and battered much of the East Coast. At press time, the storm had killed at least forty-three people and caused an estimated $32 billion in damages to buildings and infrastructure—figures expected to increase in the coming days as emergency personnel pick through the wreckage—and left 8 million homes without electricity.
Sandy is short for Cassandra, the Greek mythological figure who epitomizes tragedy. The gods gave Cassandra the gift of prophecy; depending on which version of the story one prefers, she could either see or smell the future. But with this gift also came a curse: Cassandra’s warnings about future disasters were fated to be ignored. That is the essence of this tragedy: to know that a given course of action will lead to disaster but to pursue it nevertheless.
And so it has been with America’s response to climate change. For more than twenty years, scientists and others have been warning that global warming, if left unaddressed, would bring a catastrophic increase in extreme weather—summers like that of 2012, when the United States endured the hottest July on record and the worst drought in fifty years, mega-storms like the one now punishing the East Coast.
Hurricanes are fueled by hot ocean surface temperatures. The Atlantic Ocean is about five degrees Fahrenheit hotter than usual this fall, and as Katharine Hayhoe of the University of Texas has noted , about 15 percent of this extra heat is directly due to global warming. The flooding unleashed by Sandy is especially destructive, Kayhoe adds, because global warming has caused sea levels in the New York region to rise by one foot over the past century.
But scientists’ warnings have been by and large ignored—at least within the corridors of power in Washington. As in the myth of Cassandra, today it remains unclear whether even the latest catastrophe—the devastation of America’s greatest city, its center of commerce, finance and, tellingly, the news media—will cause the nation to wake up and take serious action.
There are signs of hope. Speaking Tuesday in Minneapolis, former president Bill Clinton called out Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for ridiculing the idea of fighting climate change, thereby becoming the first political heavyweight to explicitly link Sandy with climate change. Slowing the rise of the oceans, as candidate Barack Obama pledged to do in 2008, but which Romney mocked in his address to this year’s Republican national convention, sounds like a pretty good idea in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Clinton said, adding, “In my part of America, we would like it if someone could have done that yesterday.”
New York governor Andrew Cuomo , in a press briefing Tuesday morning, did not raise the climate connection himself but did affirm it. “We have a 100-year flood every two years now,” Cuomo said he told president Obama by telephone. “Anyone who thinks that there is not a dramatic shift in weather patterns is denying reality,” Cuomo added. (CONTINUED: http://www.alternet.org/environment/can-sandy-help-jolt-america-out-climate-change-denial )
OnTheCommons.org / By David Morris
A Stormy Reminder of Why We Need Government
Seven years ago, Katrina showed the tragic consequences when government fails its duty to respond to natural disasters.
October 30, 2012 |
If this election is a referendum on the benefit of government then superstorm Sandy should be Exhibit A for the affirmative. The government weather service, using data from government weather satellites delivered a remarkably accurate and sobering long range forecast that both catalyzed action and gave communities sufficient time to prepare. Those visually stunning maps you saw on the web or t.v. were largely based on public data made publicly available from local, state and federal agencies.
As the storm neared, governors and mayors ordered the evacuation of low lying areas. Police and firefighters ensured these orders were carried out and helped those needing assistance. As the storm hit, mayors imposed curfews.
Government 911 and 311 telephone operators quickly and effectively responded to hundreds of thousands of individual calls for assistance and information. Indeed, the volume of those calls may lead us to propose a different answer to the question asked by those famous lines from the movie Ghostbusters. “If there’s something weird and it don’t look good who ya gonna call?” Government.
Public schools and other public buildings were quickly converted into temporary shelters. Transit systems and bridges were closed when public safety might be compromised.
Tens of thousands National Guard troops were mobilized to assist at evacuation shelters, route clearance, search and rescue and delivery of essential equipment and supplies. The military’s USNORTHCOM placed its forces on 24-hour alert to provide medium and heavy lift helicopters and rescue teams, and activated local military bases for possible use by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Before the storm hit state agencies required emergency preparedness plans from publicly regulated utilities and after the storm hit monitored their responses.
The President quickly issued Major Disaster Declarations that allowed states and communities to access funding for recovery efforts. His ongoing hands-on role earned him the fulsome praise of New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie who told Good Morning America, “I have to say, the administration, the president himself and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate have been outstanding with us so far.”
Public agencies swung into action to protect bridges, and roads, and sewer plants and subways—and to plan for a cleanup that will require clearing debris, repairing infrastructure, and providing financial and other assistance to homeowners and businesses.
Seven years ago, Katrina showed the tragic consequences when government fails its duty to respond to natural disasters. But that was the exception that proves the rule. When disasters hit, the government is the only agent with the authority and capacity to marshal and mobilize resources sufficient to the undertaking. It can coordinate across jurisdictions and with both the public and private sectors. That’s because its mission is not to enhance its balance sheet but to preserve the well being of its citizens. And in October 2012 it has shown how effectively it can perform that task.
David Morris is co-founder and vice president of the Institute for Local Self Reliance in Minneapolis, Minn., and director of its New Rules project.
VOTE the Cons OUT!