Climate Compass Blog

How climate change amplified Sandy’s impacts

As Hurricane Sandy moves out of the region, people in affected areas are beginning to take stock of the damage. Flooding in parts of New Jersey and New York from the storm surge hit record levels. The 13.8-foot surge measured at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan surpassed the all-time record of 11.2 feet set in 1821, flooding the New York subway system and two major commuter tunnels.  Along the Eastern Seaboard, an estimated 7.5 million people lost power. Farther inland, blizzard conditions dropped as much as 2 feet of snow as Sandy crashed into arctic air over the Midwest. While early estimates indicate direct damages from the hurricane may be as much as $20 billion, the total economic losses, including losses in consumer and business spending, could be more than twice that amount.

A number of climate change-related factors may well have intensified the storm's impact: higher ocean temperatures, higher sea levels, and an atmospheric traffic jam that may be related to Arctic melting.  Hurricane Sandy is also a clear reminder of how vulnerable our homes and infrastructure already are to extreme weather — and this risk is growing.

Climate silence will cost the United States

I recently replied to ta question on the National Journal blog, "How is the absence of discussion about global warming going to affect our ability to do something about it?"

You can read more on the original blog post and other responses at the National Journal.

Here is my response:

Patience and policy needed on drive toward sustainability

I recently responded to a question on the National Journal blog, "What 's holding back electric cars?"

You can read more on the original blog post and other responses at the National Journal.

Here is my response:

An energy solution with true bipartisan support

Two out of three respondents in a new University of Texas poll said energy issues are important to them. But the harsh rhetoric of campaign season makes it seem like politicians can never agree on important policies needed to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy while also protecting the environment.

Well they can, and they did. Right now in Washington, D.C., we have a bipartisan bill that would reduce carbon emissions and develop domestic energy resources.

Companies seeing impacts of climate change

At a time when the climate issue is being overshadowed in capitals around the world by economic concerns, some may be surprised that interest in climate change in both the investor and corporate communities remains strong. In a recent survey of the world’s 500 largest companies, 96 percent of the 379 responding said that climate change is dealt with at the senior executive or board level, while 78 percent have integrated climate change into their business strategies. In the same survey, 37 percent say the impacts of climate change are already affecting their operations, up sharply from just 10 percent two years ago.

To understand why, just look at the numbers.