Can We Finally Talk About Climate Change?

The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson says the environmental issue has already put itself on the agenda -- even if no one else has. 

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The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson says the environmental issue has already put itself on the agenda -- even if no one else has.

All right, now can we talk about climate change? After a year when the lower 48 states suffered the warmest temperatures, and the second-craziest weather, since record-keeping began?

Apparently not. The climate-change denialists — especially those who manipulate the data in transparently bogus ways to claim that warming has halted or even reversed course — have been silent, as one might expect. Sensible people accept the fact of warming, but many doubt that our dysfunctional political system can respond in any meaningful way.

The thing is, though, that climate change has already put itself on the agenda — not the cause, but the effects. We’re dealing with human-induced warming of the atmosphere. It’s just that we’re doing so in a manner that is reactive, expensive and ultimately ineffectual.

Congress is being asked to approve a total of $60 billion in emergency aid for the states ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. Strictly speaking, it is not possible to say this freakish storm was caused by climate change. But Sandy was the second hurricane to strike the northeastern United States in two years — which, to say the least, exceeds the normal frequency of such events.

Read Eugene Robinson's entire piece at the Washington Post.

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