Superstorm Sandy provides educational experience on existence of climate change

Global warming has often times been brushed aside as a theory or a phenomenon. In lieu of recent events, the people of New Orleans and New York surely have a dissenting opinion on the matter. After two once in a century storms have hit the US in the last decade, which left two entirely different sections of the country decimated, will politicians wake up and face facts?

Simply using the traditional excuse of, “no weather event can be attributed to global warming obviously,” doesn’t cut it anymore. If the evidence is there, accepted, and correlated, how can anyone possibly deny the truth?

For the past few decades, researches have been adamantly warning the global community of the dangers of climate change and predicting the outcome. The most pertinent and arguably important prediction has been that storms will increase in frequency, volatility and strength. Clearly the prophecy has been fulfilled.

Our global community is residing in an altered atmosphere. Since humans began burning fossil fuels, the entire world has contributed to its current state. While organizations such as the EU have made conscious efforts to reduce the amount of damage done, there isn’t an end in sight.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Even if we halted all carbon emissions tomorrow, elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide — and their effects on the weather — would persist for 50 to 200 years.” It’s a harsh reality but it’s the truth. We won’t stop spewing carbon emissions tomorrow, next year or in the next decade; the world is just too reliant on carbon emitting energy sources.

In a perfect situation, the US would take a stand with the EU and lower their emissions, but China is proving to be problematic as they build coal power plants at a breakneck speed.

Eventually, and hopefully not too late, there will be a proper emission control throughout the world. Until then, the best course of action is to adopt the current state and find ways to limit the destruction.

While some environmentalists argue adaptation will slow progress to rectifying the situation, the immediate situation requires both adaptation and advancement if there is to be any chance of reducing catastrophes like Katrina and Sandy.

Katrina and Sandy are the two most costly storms in our country’s history, and the federal government will have to shoulder most of the cost. Projected to eclipse $50 billion in damages, Sandy’s bite was clearly as large as her bark.

Proper protection such as surge barriers, modeled after those found in London and Rotterdam could have saved Manhattan and its citizens from drowning in the storm surge and the government some headaches. While the cost would be immense, how can one put a price on people’s lives and saving a major cultural and financial capitol of the world?

The issues don’t stop with what has already been done. What is to stop the next super storm from tearing down Miami or creating a bayou in Houston?

According to the Census Bureau 30 percent of Americans live within fifty miles of the densely populated seaboard with approximately 55 million residing around the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf coast who are the most susceptible to super storms.

How can three in 10 American lives just be put on the line because of what politicians refuse to accept? The era of ignorance must end, and usher in the era of action.