Will Hurricane Sandy Be Our Wake-Up Call?

In his Washington Post column, Eugene Robinson hopes the recent storm drives home the point that ignoring climate change won't make it disappear.  

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Remains of burned houses in Queens, N.Y., after Hurricane Sandy (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

In his Washington Post column, Eugene Robinson hopes the recent storm drives home the point that ignoring climate change won't make it disappear. 

We've had two once-in-a-century storms within a decade. Hurricane Sandy seems likely to become the second-costliest storm in U.S. history, behind Hurricane Katrina. Lower Manhattan is struggling to recover from an unprecedented flood, and the New Jersey coast is smashed beyond recognition.                          

Will we finally get the message?

How, at this point, can anyone deny the scientific consensus about climate change? The traditional dodge — that no single weather event can definitively be attributed to global warming — doesn't work anymore. If something looks, walks and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. Especially if the waterfowl in question is floating through your living room.

For decades, researchers have been telling us that one of the effects of climate change would be to make the weather more volatile and violent. Well, here we are.

And here we will remain, perhaps for the rest of our lives. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, when humans began burning fossil fuels in earnest, the concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by an incredible 40 percent. We have altered the composition of the air. 

Eugene Robinson's entire piece at the Washington Post.

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