Cuomo Blames Climate Change, Then Avoids ‘Political Debate’
The politics of storm recovery and disaster are clearly quite delicate.
Elected officials want to project strength and competence during a crisis, but they also don’t want to overplay their hand and appear grandstanding.
And they don’t want to wade into controversy and attract the wrong kind of attention during the storm recovery as their efforts to rebuild a state, county or city depend on outside help from Washington.
Consider how President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are putting the coming election aside (in theory) to tour the storm damage together.
And more locally for New Yorkers, GOP Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who has been talked about as a potential 2014 rival to Cuomo, praised the governor’s handling of the storm at today’s news conference, expressing “warm gratitude” for all the work the state has done.
“We’ve been told this whole time, whatever you need just tell us. And that’s important,” he said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his midday news conference to provide a briefing on the tour he took of the storm damage around the New York City area went beyond his statements yesterday when it comes to blaming the changing climate on the Hurricane Sandy, one of the largest storms to ever sweep through the northeast.
“I think given the frequency of these extreme weather situations that we’ve had and I believe that it’s an increasnig frequency, I believe for us to sit here today and say that it’s a once in a generation and it’s not going to happen again I think would be short sided and I think we need to anticipate more of these extreme weather conditions in the future,” Cuomo said.
When another question came up over climate change, Cuomo said he didn’t want to get into a political debate.
“Climate change is a controversial subject, right? People will debate whether or not there is climate change, whether or not it’s a cycle, whether or not it’s a cycle,” Cuomo said. “I want to talk about the frequency of extreme weather conditions, which is not political.”
Cuomo was just reiterating what he said yesterday — that extreme weather is becoming an increasing problem for New York and the city in particular. When city and state rebuild, officials need to consider that these flooding events are going to come again and again and should keep that in mind when designing a smarter system was Cuomo’s basic argument (As someone who commuted to an internship in the city in the summer of 2007, I can tell you any rainy day floods the subway tracks and can disrupt service).
But it was too late to walk back the climate talk.
“I don’t think the federal government has done enough. I think there’s a group in Washington who deny the truth and there is in my judgment anyway a relationship between these once-in-a-lifetime storms and what’s going on in the atomsphere. And the best way to deal with that and the least costly in the long run is to grab the bull by the horns and prevent climate change and global warming from occurring,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer.
His colleague, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who is running for re-election next week against Republican Wendy Long, agreed.
“I also think what you see in Washignton and we know that it’s broken, is a poor reflection of priorities,” she said. “When you have those in Washington who are arguing a cuts only approach, cutting FEMA, cutting money for families, when we turn our attention to actually creating an energy plan for this country, we can also be mindful that we not cut some of the most vital resources to these families when disaster does strike.”
Scientists and climatologists generally agree that the planet’s weather patterns are changing for the worse and that human activity, is responsible for change in climate. But climate change has been strongly contested, in part, by energy companies, politicians, and contrarian scientists who say it’s simply environmentalism run amok and part of a larger conspiracy.
Cuomo seemed clearly relieved when the next question was about ConEd.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on October 31, 2012 at 2:05 pm, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
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