Climate Change: Should We Worry?

What has caused powerful storms to be so numerous and strong these past few years? While experts don’t know for sure, many believe that these storms are partly due to climate change, or global warming. Hurricane Sandy, being so unexpected and brutal towards the Northeast, has shined new light on this issue, and many are hoping that this is the “push” needed for the world to see the real effects of global warming.

Jonathan Foley, Director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, explains that Hurricane Sandy may very well have occurred without climate change, but that climate change caused the storm to be stronger. Eric Pooley, Senior Vice President of the Environmental Defense Fund compares this issue to baseball, saying that “we can’t say that steroids caused any one home run by Barry Bonds, but steroids sure helped him hit more and hit them farther. Now we have weather on steroids.”

Other experts explain that the warming of the oceans has provided more water vapor, resulting in energy, for the storms and the warming of the atmosphere, helping it to retain moisture, and thus have higher and stronger amounts of rainfall. Global warming is also blamed for the rising of water levels, which in turn has caused waters in New York City to be 9.15 feet higher than the average high tide line during the hurricane.

Many still do not believe that climate change is happening, even while many others are doing all they can to preserve our Earth. Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, endorsed President Barack Obama early in November. His reason? President Barack Obama has made many moves towards a “greener” world, reducing carbon consumption, setting higher fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, and controlling the dirtiest of power plants. Although Bloomberg and Obama do not agree on some issues they both agree that something needs to be done about climate change. After New York City had been hit so hard by Hurricane Sandy, how could he not acknowledge climate change as the most important issue facing the American people?

(Tony Shu)

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