IT’S ABOUT FRACKING TIME-Hurricane Sandy Abruptly Puts Climate Change on the Election Agenda

If some ‘good’ is to come out of the destruction and devastation of Hurricane Sandy, it is that it will hopefully put the subject of climate change front and center in the national dialogue. This story by Ecowatch summarizes the issue.

10-30-2012
By Tom Mitchell

Last week, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney stressed their commitment to developing oil and gas to improve energy security. Climate change was not mentioned. This position is senseless. The U.S. Midwest has just experienced the worst drought in 60 years, one which has seen economic growth depressed by 0.4 percent GDP as a result and higher food prices resulting from a 13 percent drop in corn production. As the East Coast slowly emerges from the deluge and debris of the past 24 hours, the job of counting the cost has only just begun.

The evidence suggests the U.S. public has already woken up to the need for a change—70 percent now believe the climate is changing and a greater percentage than before want a switch to clean energy. Ignoring numbers like that may be rather more difficult now for both campaigns.

Scientists recently concluded that the drought was made 20 times more likely by climate change and it seems the U.S. public agree. So the message for the politicians is as clear as it can be—more oil and gas equals more extreme weather and other climate change impacts, all of which equal greater economic losses.    Full Story

Read why Nicholas D. Kristof said 10/31/12 in the New York Times why San offers a window into the way ahead.

 

IT’S ABOUT FRACKING TIME-Hurricane Sandy Abruptly Puts Climate Change on the Election Agenda

10/30/2012
Ecowatch.org, Tom Mitchell

Last week, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney stressed their commitment to developing oil and gas to improve energy security. Climate change was not mentioned. This position is senseless. The U.S. Midwest has just experienced the worst drought in 60 years, one which has seen economic growth depressed by 0.4 percent GDP as a result and higher food prices resulting from a 13 percent drop in corn production. As the East Coast slowly emerges from the deluge and debris of the past 24 hours, the job of counting the cost has only just begun.

The evidence suggests the U.S. public has already woken up to the need for a change—70 percent now believe the climate is changing and a greater percentage than before want a switch to clean energy. Ignoring numbers like that may be rather more difficult now for both campaigns.

Scientists recently concluded that the drought was made 20 times more likely by climate change and it seems the U.S. public agree. So the message for the politicians is as clear as it can bemore oil and gas equals more extreme weather and other climate change impacts, all of which equal greater economic losses.

The U.S. public is concerned about the potential for climate change to increase the number and severity of extreme weather events. Why then is the U.S. so reluctant to take a leading role in the international fight to tackle climate change and why are the Presidential candidates focused on outdoing each other on support for fossil fuels? Clearly there are some strong vested interests at play and maybe climate change is just seen as too risky as a campaign issue.

Despite significant progress to reduce emissions at state and city level, the U.S. has done its best to block progress in international climate negotiations. It has consistently acted alongside Saudi Arabia and other oil states to ensure agreements are not reached, withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol and delayed climate finance support to developing countries. Now climate change has served up the October surprise. Hurricane Sandy—dubbed the Frankenstorm and linked widely to climate change in the U.S. media—has brought widespread flooding and sizeable economic losses.  Insurers are already talking of more than U.S. $16 billion, more seriously the human cost is not yet fully known.

So first, let’s be clear on the science. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC ) special report Managing the risks of climate extremes and disasters for advancing climate change adaptation (SREX), of which I was an author, said:

  • It is likely that there has been a poleward shift in the main Northern and Southern hemisphere extra-tropical storm tracks. Hurricane Sandy is an example, as was Hurricane Irene, which hit the same area last August. The IPCC also concluded that there is stronger confidence for a further poleward shift in the future, so the evidence is that Sandy and Irene are just the start. ‘Studies indicate a northward and eastward shift in the Atlantic cyclone activity during the last 60 years with both more frequent and more intense wintertime cylones in the high-latitude Atlantic.’  A set of studies attribute this trends to climate change. There is less evidence on the intensity and frequency of such hurricanes.
  • It is likely that there has been an increase in extreme coastal high water related to increases in mean sea level. The record storm surge from Hurricane Sandy is probably the most destructive element, with the surge exceeding warnings in some places. In other words the potential for coastal flood damage from extreme weather is greater than before.

It will take time for scientists to assess whether Hurricane Sandy was made more likely by climate change. What we do know though is that indications from the IPCC report suggests that Sandy-like hurricanes and related extreme storm surges will become more common.

Hurricane Sandy has put climate change on the election agenda even if the candidates didn’t want it. The important thing now is what happens next. Tackling climate change must become a focus of the next administration, just as healthcare was for Obama’s first term. Continuing a fossil fuel focus and ducking international leadership on climate change is effectively a slow motion robbery of the future.

The impacts of climate change have already become so serious in some developing countries that they are fighting for a financial mechanism to pay for climate-related losses and damage in the climate negotiations. They are also petitioning the UN General Assembly to request a hearing by the International Court of Justice on who should be held accountable for the damages caused by climate change. The leaders of this action fully expect the U.S. and other industrialized countries to be the defendants.

Does the U.S. president really want to be put on trial in this way? Bold action from the U.S. on tackling climate change would help to stop all this. Whether they are in Baltimore or Bangladesh the future ability of people to batten down the hatches is dependent on a grown-up response from America’s top politicians.

 

Watch the New TV Ad By Mountainkeeper and our Partners New Yorkers Against Fracking

New Yorkers Against Fracking Launches New Round of TV Ads in Southern Tier

As scientists and physicians continue outlining the disastrous health impacts of fracking, New Yorkers Against Fracking today began a new effort to outline the negative economic impacts of fracking. In a new television Anti Fracking Ad that will air starting Wednesday in the Binghamton and Elmira markets, Pennsylvania residents detail lies the gas industry told and the devastating impacts on property values that came along with fracking.  Watch the Ad Here or visit Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gxWAd-8ITk&feature=youtu.be

Oct 23, 2012 – Action Alert: Pipelines and Compressor Stations – We Need Your Help!

JOIN US ON FRIDAY TO STOP THE MINISINK COMPRESSOR STATION

There is a very important eventshappening this week related to the proposed development of natural gas infrastructure needed to exploit the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in the Catskills and WE NEED YOUR HELP!

MINISINK COMPRESSOR STATION
On Friday there is a rally to stop the construction of a Millennium Pipeline compressor station in the residential community of Minisink.  Residents just south of the Catskills in the Orange County town have been fighting hard to stop the construction of the natural gas compressor station because it will cause pollution, destroy property values and heavily impact roads and other town infrastructure.  In a contentious hearing FERC approved the construction of the station in a 3-2 vote last month.  According to CBS News Minisink residents bussed themselves to Washington, D.C. last week and demanded a second hearing from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  “Families are going to be destroyed over this,” said Minisik resident Carolyn Petschler.  Petschler said a residential area is no place for a natural gas compressor station. “There’s approximately over 200 families that are within the half-mile, the closest being 650 feet away,” she said.  This is yet another example of what the gas industry does to communities.

Congresswoman Nan Hayworth is coming to meet the residents of Minisink and speak with families about the impacts of this project. Please come rally and say NO to the Minisink Compressor Station. Minisink needs your help! The press will also be attending and we need a large crowd. Bring your signs and help us take a stand!

Mountainkeeper stands with the residents of Minisink and urges our members to join in the rally on Friday, October 26th, at 3pm at the site of the proposed development,  90 Jacobs Road, Westtown, New York. For more information, visit stopmcs.org.