Obama's reflection: What Superstorm Sandy taught us

By Grant Marcus 11/21/2012

“It’s global warming, stupid!” No, that wasn’t some article written years ago by, say, a progressive such as myself, or reeled by a documentarian on FreeSpeechTV.

That was the headline of Bloomberg’s Businessweek, a right-wing conservative financial rag noted for articles criticizing the hypothesis of climate change, or global warming.

The writers of Businessweek, living in New York and New Jersey, witnessed their living experiences, i.e., climate change in front of their noses, the toxic saltwater pouring in wave upon wave into their homes, leaving them in the dark, groping for loved ones and flashlights, and also leaving them unable to deny the powerful existence of global warming.

Prime-time reporters of every news station quickly grabbed the old newsreel tapes of Mitt Romney, when he called climate change “a hoax” while mocking President Barack Obama for speeches of “healing the planet.” Meanwhile, Obama has never denied climate change, and had become the first president to participate in the Kyoto Convention. Romney’s ignorance left Mayor Bloomberg with no other choice than to endorse the sitting president. Bloomberg knew that only someone with a sense of reality and vision could try to prevent other storms like Hurricane Sandy, which had devastated New York.

Hurricane Sandy and Mother Nature gave Americans an October surprise, a wake-up call on climate change. It was the superstorm that showed clearly who was right on the issue, and who was best to lead us in the right direction. It was a perfect storm with impeccable timing for Obama to show his leadership, and it left in its path hoaxers and deniers looking more like idiots.  The fact is that Sandy not only changed the weather for the entire Eastern Seaboard, but it changed the entire election, stopping Romney’s momentum in its tracks. Who would believe that Mother Nature could deluge the ballot box?

What was undeniable about Sandy’s October surprise was the fact that the ocean was 4 degrees warmer this year. The warmer water meant there would also be warmer air currents. The warmer air resulted in the increased capacity of storms so they could hold much more water.

Hurricane Sandy became so weighted with the amount of moisture it held that it moved en masse up the coast like a 300-pound woman on old, edematous legs, lasting several days and covering an area 1,000 miles wide, extending from the tip of Florida all the way into New York.  It inundated 19 of 51 states in our Union. Sandy’s result was 120 dead and counting, the breaking of numerous flood records, and an estimated $50 billion in damages.

It also left in its wake the undeniability of climate change.

The only question now is: Will the Eastern Seaboard be like Haiti, unable to rebuild before global warming strikes again?

The reality of human-caused climate change is accepted by 99 out of 100 scientists. The 1 percent left, those climate change detractors, are often funded by Exxon and other oil corporations for their studies and findings.

Exxon has admittedly paid millions of dollars to those scientists for the sole purpose of refuting climate change, much as the tobacco industry paid doctors to refute cancer studies on smoking. Ninety-nine percent of the scientific community understands that the industrial age has brought with it the production of hydrocarbons, hydrocarbons similar to those that had caused the earth’s last global ice age.

Several things have happened over the four years of Obama’s presidency that have left climate change naysayers scratching their heads (if not their armpits).

Along with bizarre weather patterns such as the monthlong 100-degree weather pattern that hit Texas, there have also been increases in violent storms along the East Coast, wildfires in California, extreme droughts in the Midwest and hotter temperatures breaking records on a daily basis all over the world. Meanwhile, the polar ice caps are melting at a rate accelerated beyond any scientific prediction, raising the Atlantic Ocean’s water levels.

Of course, “Exxon scientists,” and their “research,” or bias blamed solar flaring and other natural phenomena. These ‘scientists’ deniers were financed to speak more loudly on corporate-sponsored television.

Working out of Berkeley National Laboratories, astrophysicist Richard Muller was one of a handful of distinguished scientists that remained skeptical about climate change. Part of Muller’s research funds had been sponsored by big oil. He is also a Republican, and he was touted by Republicans for his critical analysis on climate change.

But when Muller was challenged to research the reasons for record-setting temperatures, and do in- dependent studies on climate change, even Muller could not deny his results. Asked by Republicans to speak before the Science Committee of the House of Representatives last year, Muller surprised his party by calling himself a “converted skeptic” who could no longer deny the reality of human-induced climate change.

Testifying before the Science Committee, Muller showed that temperature increases were greater than climate change activists had stated.  Muller found, through extensive research, that the planet had heated 2.5 degrees in the last 250 years but, more significantly, it had heated 1.5 degrees in just the last 50 years.

Muller’s own findings shocked him into reality. In his formal statement, which left Republicans gasping, he said, “All of this results from human emissions of greenhouse gasses … [and] cannot be attributed to solar changes.”

If you believe in research and independent analyses free from the influence of oil companies, Muller’s findings should have ended all skepticism regarding global warming. It certainly did for the majority of Americans, who could not deny the weather and, in turn, voted for the common-sense candidate who would not deny global warming either.

And when Mother Nature weighed in and decided to cast her vote, changing the wind’s direction, she became the trumping wild card of this election. A surprise? It shouldn’t be, when you consider that her vote will outlast us all.

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