Cuomo Blames Northeast Snowstorm on “˜Changing Climate’

ALBANY, NY - JANUARY 08: New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo gives fourth State of the State address on January 8, 2014 in Albany, New York. Among other issues touched on at the afternoon speech in the state's capital was the legalization of medical marijuana, and New York's continued economic recovery. Cuomo has been discussed as a possible Democratic candidate for the 2016 presidential race.
National Journal
Clare Foran
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Clare Foran
Jan. 26, 2015, 11:10 a.m.

New York Gov. An­drew Cuomo said on Monday that “the chan­ging cli­mate” is re­spons­ible for ex­treme weath­er events like the snowstorm set to hit the north­east­ern U.S. this week.

“You’re get­ting a re­peat pat­tern of these ex­treme weath­er situ­ations, wheth­er it’s Hur­ricane Sandy or sev­en feet of snow, and that’s part of the chan­ging cli­mate, I be­lieve, that has brought this new ex­treme weath­er pat­tern, and it’s something we have to ad­just to,” the Demo­crat said dur­ing a storm-fo­cused press con­fer­ence. “It’s something that is very costly. It’s also something that is very dan­ger­ous.”

The north­east is cur­rently bra­cing for a massive snowstorm that has already sparked heavy snow­fall in New York City with ad­di­tion­al ac­cu­mu­la­tion ex­pec­ted in­to Tues­day. “Moth­er Nature has de­cided once again to come vis­it us in an ex­treme way,” Cuomo said.

Sci­ent­ists cau­tion that it is im­possible to pin any single storm on glob­al warm­ing, and the sci­ence is far from settled when it comes to de­term­in­ing how a rise in Earth’s tem­per­at­ures will im­pact snowstorms.

“There are many dif­fer­ent kinds of storms and you can’t make a gen­er­al state­ment about how cli­mate change will af­fect all of them,” said Dr. An­thony Del Genio, a NASA sci­ent­ist. “Winter storms like the one we are see­ing right now are one of the most dif­fi­cult types of storms to pre­dict.”

That’s be­cause while a ma­jor­ity of cli­mate sci­ent­ists say that hu­man activ­ity such as the burn­ing of fossil fuels has sig­ni­fic­antly con­trib­uted to glob­al warm­ing, there is not yet an equi­val­ent con­sensus among sci­ent­ists about which types of ex­treme weath­er events a warm­ing plan­et might trig­ger in years to come.

“The re­search is just not com­plete yet. More work needs to be done,” Del Genio said.

Cuomo has not shied away from link­ing ex­treme weath­er events — in­clud­ing a massive snowstorm in Buf­falo last fall — to weath­er volat­il­ity brought about by cli­mate change.

But the gov­ernor has been quick to sidestep any dis­cus­sion of the causes.

“I don’t want to get in­to a polit­ic­al de­bate at this time about cli­mate change causes,” Cuomo said in Novem­ber. “For­get the causes. Is it glob­al warm­ing? Is it re­li­ance on fossil fuels? For­get the causes. What is in­ar­gu­able is the res­ult.”

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