Andrew Cuomo's strategy on not getting into the political circus of whether or not climate change exists is actually pretty simple: just state the facts. "That's a whole political debate that I don't want to get into," the governor told reporters Wednesday (that quote, out of context, attracted some raised eyebrows). And he didn't. Instead of getting into Republicans say this, Democrats say that, and what's at the root of climate change, Cuomo stated, quite bluntly, that our planet is getting warmer and that we should be prepared for the consequences.
"Part of learning from this is the recognition that climate change is a reality," Cuomo told reporters Wednesday while briefing everyone on brokenness of New York City. "For us to say this is once-in-a-generation, that it's not going to happen again, as elected officials that would be short-sighted," he added, echoing his remarks from yesterday, when he told reporters:
There has been a series of extreme weather incidents. That is not a political statement, that is a factual statement. Anyone who says there is not a dramatic change in weather patterns is denying reality. ... We have a 100-year flood every two years now.
He's right about that. Irene was touted as a once-a-century storm. Sandy was too. And they happened a year from one another with more than 87 years to go in this century. Not to mention that Sandy followed a period where we saw New England's warmest waters on record, a summer which left many states in the United States in massive drought, forest fires in Colorado and New Mexico, and 2012's July being the hottest month in U.S. history.
Politically, Cuomo's comments have been supported by Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Chuck Schumer. But both Obama and Romney have remained quiet on the issue—as they have been during this presidential election season. As The Guardian's Bill McKibben (and you) may have noticed, climate change has largely been absent from the debates and has only been addressed by Obama sparingly in interviews with MTV and Rolling Stone. And in late August that Mitt Romney was heard unleashing this joke to the audience at the Republican National Convention: "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans (pause for mocking laughter) and heal the planet. MY promise is to help you and your family." Live version with actual mocking laughter below:
If Romney tried that joke again, we just don't think Cuomo or any of us would be laughing. We're not going by anything political, just the facts.