This is another wake-up call.
Dozens of people are dead; thousands of homes have been damaged or lost; entire communities have been submerged under water; lives have been disrupted; the costs have been estimated to be as high as $50 billion. As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo put it, after Hurricane Sandy, "Anyone who says there is not a change in weather patterns is denying reality."
The air over a warming planet holds more moisture. Warming temperatures in our oceans lead to more powerful storms. Melting polar ice caps disrupt normal weather patterns. Rising sea levels mean that, when storms hit our coasts, flooding is more severe. Deadlier, more powerful, more damaging storms like Hurricane Sandy are exactly what scientists have warned us will happen if we fail to reduce carbon pollution.
The majority of Americans have connected the dots. Most of us understand that more extreme weather is becoming more common, the planet is warming, and pollution is behind much of it. Most of us also believe that America can do better. We can reduce the pollution that's behind global warming. We can rely more on energy efficiency, solar power and wind power and less on foreign oil and dirty coal. Of course, this is exactly why the big oil and coal companies have spent untold millions to block sensible energy policies in our country.
We can no longer allow Big Oil and King Coal to hold America's clean energy future hostage. It's time for our leaders to heed Hurricane Sandy's wake-up call and embrace clean energy, clean air and a safer future.
As the cleanup and restoration of normality to the lives of millions of Americans continues, as thousands of our friends and neighbors mourn the loss of loved ones, we should do all we can to help them recover. Yet, this time, let's heed Nature’s not-so-subtle reminder of what a warming planet has in store for us. It's time to take action to reduce carbon pollution, slow global warming, slow the rise of our oceans, and leave our children a safer planet.