As Another Major Storm Looms, Will Candidates Keep Ignoring Climate?

How’s this for irony: For the first time in more than a decade, this year’s presidential candidates failed to have a substantive discussion of climate change — save for one candidate (guess which one!) mocking the whole concept.

Parts of Manhattan are already flooding as Hurricane Sandy approaches. Here's a photo of the Battery Park Esplanade. Photo: ##http://gawker.com/5955757/battery-park-is-underwater-and-sandy-hasnt-even-hit-yet?utm_campaign=socialflow_gawker_facebook&utm_source=gawker_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow##Gawker##

Now Hurricane Sandy is looming over the eastern seaboard, so menacing the stock market is closed and the subways aren’t running in New York City. Reports say that parts of Manhattan are already flooding, before the storm has made landfall.

In the final days of this protracted presidential campaign — waged over issues like taxes and health care — the practical imperative to address climate change is impossible to ignore, says James Rowen at the Political Environment:

I’m not saying that human behavior and fossil fuel burn caused this storm, but it’s the height of denial to say that our climate isn’t reflecting the new, post-industrial ‘normal’ long-predicted: heavier rain events, extreme weather outbreaks and growing danger to low-lying, coastal areas that will take lives and greatly add to public budgets and emergency spending.

Anyone want to guess at how long it will take to restore electrical power, finish the cleanup, add up the damage and pay off the claims this time? Because of a monster hurricane. It’s nearly November?

The oceans, air temperatures and precipitation are all intricately interwoven; you can call a decade of record warmth and repeated big storms, floods and harsh fire ‘seasons’ a mere coincidence, but it would have been better, and still would be useful to treat them as real and addressable circumstances.

I don’t give President Obama an “A” on these matters, but I think we can say that if Mitt Romney’s anti- EPA/free market worship philosophy gets free rein in The White House, and if the Koch brothers are over for dinner, you can expect lower grades.

Elsewhere on the Network today: West North says a “flat fare” transit system would unfairly penalize urban residents of greater Washington, DC. I Bike TO points out that Toronto’s Jarvis Street bike lane, slated for removal by Mayor Rob Ford, has seen rapid and continuing growth in cycling. And Pedestrian Observations says that when comparing transit costs across countries, there are a few things you have to consider.

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Parts of Lower Manhattan are still underwater. Subway service is down indefinitely. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the Jersey Shore will never be the same. Analysts are putting Sandy’s cost at $50 billion, but that’s basically a wild guess. What’s perhaps the scariest thing of all is the idea that this could be the […]

Obama’s Climate Speech: Mostly Mum on Transportation

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President Obama announced a sweeping package of measures to address climate change today. But with a couple of exceptions, he was largely silent on the 27 percent of carbon emissions that come from the transportation sector. One of the most important reforms the president announced is presidential memorandum he plans to issue to the EPA to […]

Today’s Headlines

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Obama on Sandy’s Aftermath: “Transportation Is Going to Be Tied Up For a Long Time” (The Hill) One-Third of Fed Employees Telework During Sandy — Why Not More Often? (WaPo) Go Ahead And Blame Hurricane Sandy on Climate Change (WaPo) How Sandy Could Impact Freight’s Bottom Line (Fox Business) In a Storm So Powerful the […]

Weathering the Next 108-Year Storm

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Deron Lovaas is the Federal Transportation Policy Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. This article is cross-posted from his blog on Switchboard. The Boy Scout motto (“Be prepared”) should guide state transportation departments (DOTs), metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and transit agencies as we recover from the destruction Hurricane Sandy wreaked. This superstorm was deemed historic for transit […]