What a difference a storm makes

What a difference a storm makes

Next week Barack Obama and Mitt Romney go head to head in the polls for the US presidency. Has Superstorm Sandy turned climate change into the deciding issue of the 2012 election?

Storified by Tierney Smith · Fri, Nov 02 2012 07:56:51

Let’s take a trip back to August. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were just kicking off their election campaigns, and Romney gave this speech to the Republican Convention…
Gov. Romney Mocks President Obama’s Statements on Climate Changeclimatedesk
Slammed for making a joke out of climate change, environmentalists soon began a campaign to get the candidates to talk about their positions on the issue. 
As of last week, however, the campaign had been unsuccessful and through countless speeches and three presidential debates a ‘climate silence’ descended on the US as both candidates remained quiet. 
And then this happened…
During Sandy: View of Grove St PATH StationLocator
Climate change arrived on their doorstep, with Superstorm Sandy. 
While scientists will not go as far as attributing a single extreme weather event to climate change – there is no way we can say Superstorm Sandy was directly linked to climate change – they now widely agree that extreme weather events will be more frequent with advancing climate change. 
MT @BorenBears "Global warming didnt brew Sandy, but may have helped cook.." Feat @MichaelEMann @AJWVictoriaBC http://bit.ly/TsXbEQKatharine Hayhoe
Scientists look at climate change, the superstormWASHINGTON (AP) – Climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer stood along the Hudson River and watched his research come to life as Hurricane S…
In another speech after the storm hit, Romney found it much harder to avoid the issue as he got back into the swing of his campaign…
Romney silent on climate change8gxWfcyLNIlyt8BD7p2BUg
In fact, America in general can no longer avoid the issue as it hit the newsstands and all the major broadcasters covered the link between Sandy and climate change…and how both will impact the election.
None made it quite so apparent as Bloomberg Businessweek though…
Bloomberg Businessweek cover is blunt and visceral, well done http://pic.twitter.com/7nzMVlatAnthony De Rosa
But will this one event turn the whole election on its head?
Many say it could. Some say this week’s events have offered Obama a chance to shine as President – or not as the case may be. Others say voters’ choices could be influenced by the fact that after major events they don’t tend to want another major change…
Interested to see how the US election pans out after hurricane #sandy. No one likes change after a natural disaster.Katie Hannan
For Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, however, it is that Sandy showed the vulnerability of America to climate change, and he believes President Obama is the candidate to tackle that…
Bloomberg Endorses Obama, Saying Hurricane Sandy Affected DecisionIn a surprise announcement, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Thursday that Hurricane Sandy had reshaped his thinking about the presidentia…
"When I step into the voting booth, I think about the world I want to leave my 2 daughters." Bloomberg endorses Obama: http://OFA.BO/bCSkJQBarack Obama
You may be a little confused by now…Surely the ‘climate silence’ campaign was against both candidates? So, why is Obama the climate change champion of this election all of a sudden?
For this we have to again go back to the beginning of the campaign (and possibly even further). 
Romney began by going out of his way to disassociate himself from any previous comments he had made that climate change is real and should be tackled. 
What the Republican candidates have to say on climate change …4 hours ago … The first in a round of polls to find the Republican Presidential nomination kicks- off in Iowa today. RTCC examines the…
And while they may have been few and far between, Obama did bring climate change into discussions at a few key moments over the last year. 
Back in April he used an interview in Rolling Stone Magazine to state his “belief that we’re going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way.”
And following Romney’s jibe at the Republican Convention, Obama came back at him when addressing the Democratic Convention…
President Obama: Climate change is not a hoaxlcv2008
And those supporters of the Obama campaign have not been slow in trying to push climate change back on the agenda either…

On his website, former vice-president Al Gore wrote:

“For many, Hurricane Sandy may prove to be a similar event: a time when the climate crisis – which is often sequestered to the far reaches of our everyday awareness became a reality.

“Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come. We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis. Dirty energy makes dirty weather.”
Sandy is a warning. We must work together to solve the climate crisis & support our neighbors in need: http://bit.ly/Ue36KAAl Gore
And campaigning for Obama in Minnesota, former-President Bill Clinton told crowds:
“[Romney] ridiculed the president. Ridiculed the president for his efforts to fight global warming in economically beneficial ways.
“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.
“All up and down the East Coast, there are mayors, many of them Republicans, who are being told, ‘ You’ve got to move these houses back away from the ocean. You’ve got to lift them up. Climate change is going to raise the water levels on a permanent basis. If you want your town insured, you have to do this.’ In the real world, Barack Obama’s policies work better.”
And online too, up and down the country (and across the world) people are starting to line up climate change as a major issue of importance ahead of 6 November…
NY Mayor Bloomberg wants action on climate change commenting after hurricane Sandy. Climate change is now well and truly US election issue.Christine Milne
Interesting how climate change not a big issue in US election till hurricane #Sandy but could now prove vital & 2candidates have diff ideasAlpa Patel
In the aftermath of #sandy this election is framed as Mother Nature (God) vs Koch Brothers. Climate Change is real.Mark Ruffalo
Finally. Climate change is discussed this election. What a tragedy it took Hurricane Sandy to force t/discussion. Thank u Mr Bloomberg.Geoff Maddock
Ultimately though, whoever gets elected next week, Superstorm Sandy has shown the US one thing, that whether people acknowledge it or not, sooner or later climate effects are going to hit…
What If Mike Bloomberg Is Right About Global Warming? – ForbesMonday night, denial was a river in Manhattan. It was impossible to believe the severity of the storm that was about to hit. I had almost…
And for New York that could mean more storms to come…
Rising Sea Levels Putting New York City at RiskWSJDigitalNetwork

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