Man-Made Natural Disasters, Ctd

Brad Plumer uses the hurricane to discuss global warming

You can see how a combination of rising sea levels, tides, and storms could affect different parts of the United States with this helpful GIS mapping tool from Climate Central. For New York City, the map showed just a 15 percent chance of a major six-foot surge by 2020—it takes a rare storm like Sandy and high tides to pull it off. But as the world warms and sea levels rise, the odds of a big storm surge increase. Suddenly, that freak event won’t be so rare anymore.

Elizabeth Kolbert chimes in:

Coming as it is just a week before Election Day, Sandy makes the fact that climate change has been entirely ignored during this campaign seem all the more grotesque. In a year of record-breaking temperatures across the U.S., record drought conditions in the country’s corn belt, and now a record storm affecting the nation’s most populous cities, neither candidate found the issue to be worthy of discussion. Pressed about this finally the other day on MTV, President Obama called climate change a “critical issue” that he was “surprised” hadn’t come up during any of the debates, a response that was at once completely accurate and totally disingenuous. (As one commentator pointed out, he might have brought up this “critical” issue on his own since “he is the friggin’ POTUS.”)

Earlier commentary here.