Earlier this week, New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) issued a pointed statement on climate change and its role in the monstrous storm from which his state — and many others — will be recovering for months, and perhaps years, to come.
“It’s a longer conversation, but I think part of learning from this is the recognition that climate change is a reality,” Cuomo said. “Extreme weather is a reality. It is a reality that we are vulnerable.”
That’s a message many climate scientists have been trying to deliver for a very, very long time. But whether Hurricane Sandy and the hulking, 1,000-mile-wide superstorm she ultimately became will galvanize political opinion, and lead to concrete action, remains very much an open question — not least because the event is animating a familiar debate: Some stakeholders view the disaster as hard evidence that climate change is upon us, while others argue that such storms might easily come about anyway, as a function of natural variability.