Post-Sandy, climate change skeptics denying reality, say lawmakers, activists

Climate change doubters looking for proof of global warming can stop looking. That, at least, is what some lawmakers and activists are saying after Monday's deadly storm.

"There has been a series of extreme weather incidents," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday after assessing the catastrophic damage left in the superstorm's wake. "That is not a political statement—that is a factual statement. Anyone who says there's not a dramatic change in weather patterns, I think, is denying reality.

"There's no such thing as a 100-year flood," he continued. "We have a 100-year flood every two years now."

Speaking on "Current TV," former Vice President Al Gore said, "The storms are getting ... stronger. The stronger storms are getting more frequent."

Critical of members of Congress continuing to deny climate change, Gore said, "The temptation to create an alternative reality completely divorced from the facts is greater when money dominate politics and they convince themselves."

Gore's former boss, Bill Clinton, blasted former Gov. Mitt Romney on Tuesday for the Republican nominee's criticism of President Barack Obama's position on climate change at the GOP convention.

"He ridiculed the president for his efforts to fight global warming in economically beneficial ways," former President Clinton said at an Obama campaign rally in Minnesota. "He said, 'Oh, you're going to turn back the seas.' In my part of America, we would like it if someone could've done that yesterday."

Oliver Stone, the outspoken filmmaker, suggested the deadly storm was "punishment" for both Obama and Romney not addressing climate change during the presidential debates.

Sandy is "kind of a weird statement coming right after" the debates, Stone said in a video interview with the Huffington Post. "This is a punishment—Mother Nature cannot be ignored."

The Times of India, the world's largest-circulation English-language daily, wrote that Sandy would serve as a sobering reminder of climate change:

The eastern seaboard of the United States is under attack. Not from Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, Libya or any of the usual suspects. The offender assaulting the world's only superpower is a hurricane, bearing the innocuous name Sandy.

Sandy though is an overgrown progenitor of Mother Nature, who no one messes with; not even a superpower. As if to remind US presidential candidates that it is not a good idea to put global warming—or human aggravated climate change—on the back burner (as both President Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney have done in this election campaign), Mother Nature appears to have let loose Sandy to deliver a kick in the American gut. By Monday noon, the US was on its knees.

The Los Angeles Times noted that Sandy's "devastating intrusion into the final days of the presidential race would have at least one positive result if it inspired President Obama and Mitt Romney to finally address a huge issue they have ignored throughout the long campaign: climate change":

After the firestorms that swept the West amid a merciless drought and the killer tornadoes and freak storms that battered the Midwest, South and East Coast, Sandy is just 2012's latest screaming reminder that our weather is becoming a much more destructive force.

While the rest of the world long ago moved beyond asking if climate change is real to accepting it as a fact, the United States has stalled in a ridiculous debate. Romney leads a party in which a majority believes that climate change is a hoax and the rest—including Romney—avoid talking about the issue, lest they be seen as anti-capitalist, bug-loving granola eaters.

Even in the storm's wake, climate change is a partisan issue. Just look, for example, at how the liberal Huffington Post and "liberal bias-correcting" Fox News interpreted the same Associated Press story on the scientific connection between global warming and the superstorm:

"It is, at this point, impossible to say what it will take for American politics to catch up to the reality of North American climate change," Elizabeth Kolbert wrote in the New Yorker. "More super-storms, more heat waves, more multi-billion-dollar 'weather-related loss events'? The one thing that can be said is that, whether or not our elected officials choose to acknowledge the obvious, we can expect, 'with a high degree of confidence,' that all of these are coming."