Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Superstorm Sandy" Consistent With Climate Change Warnings

Oct 30: Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member on the House Natural Resources Committee issued a release indicating that "Superstorm Sandy" is the latest example of climate change contributing to extreme weather. He said it underscores the need for the United States and the world to take urgent action to reduce the pollution that is causing climate change and intensifying extreme weather events. He pointed to the latest studies on climate change, and the real-world events that have occurred just in the last two years, as "all the evidence needed to enact strong limits on the pollution that is destabilizing our climate" [See WIMS 10/22/12]. 

    Rep. Markey said, "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. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those killed and impacted by this superstorm. The federal government and all United States citizens stand at the ready to help those in need."
    Rep. Markey released a
report last week on climate change effects in New England. In September, Reps. Markey and Henry  Waxman (D-CA) released a report on extreme weather and climate change, which summarized the recent extreme weather events and science in the United States. Reps. Markey and Waxman are the co-authors of the only climate change bill to pass a chamber of Congress, in 2009. Rep. Markey said, "If we don't cut carbon pollution, the oceans will get warmer, the seas will get higher, and the storms will get stronger. We still have time to heed these extreme weather warnings."
    The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to advance strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change, issued a fact sheet on "Climate Change and Hurricane Sandy" indicating, "Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of the rising risks of climate change. A number of warming-related factors may well have intensified the storm's impact. Higher ocean temperatures contributed to heavier rainfall. Higher sea levels produced stronger storm surges. New research suggests that Arctic melting may be increasing the risk of the kind of atmospheric traffic jam that drove Sandy inland. While no single weather event can be said to have been directly caused by climate change, our weather now is the product of our changing climate, as increased warming raises the probability of extreme weather events. In highlighting our vulnerabilities to extreme weather, Hurricane Sandy underscores two imperatives: We need to reduce the risks of climate change by reducing our carbon emissions, and we must strengthen our defenses against future impacts that it may be too late to avoid." 
    Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) issued a statement saying, "All of us at Environmental Defense Fund send our thoughts and prayers to the victims of this humbling and unprecedented storm. A number of factors converged to make Sandy one of the most ferocious weather disasters in our recorded history, and the best science tells us that we are one of those factors. As a consequence of global climate change caused by human activities, sea levels are higher, the Atlantic waters are warmer, and there's more moisture in the atmosphere – three of the reasons this storm packed such destructive force. Sandy is not just a weather disaster but also a climate disaster. Today, as we rush to ensure the safety of our loved ones and communities, we should remember that unless we finally get serious about climate solutions there can be no lasting protection from the ferocity of our warming world."
    Access a release from Rep. Markey with additional information and links to the referenced reports (click here). Access the complete fact sheet from C2ES (click here). Access the statement from EDF (click here). Access 258 images of Hurricane Sandy devastation from the Weather Channel (click here). [#Climate]
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