I periodically note items from Roger Pielke Jr’s fine science and policy blog, but his current post about Mayor Bloomberg’s climate obsession is a must-read. Keep in mind that Pielke is no climate skeptic—quite the contrary—but he is usually treated as one because he calls out the climate community for its serial exaggerations and frequent unfounded conclusions that he rightly thinks undermine public regard for science. But Pielke seldom enters directly into the political fray, which makes these observations about Bloomberg so bracing:
Whatever the motivations behind Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to cite Sandy and climate change as a reason for his endorsement of President Obama, it has the effect of relocating responsibility for Sandy’s devastation from NYC City Hall to Washington, DC.
As New Yorkers (and others) affected by Sandy’s wrath pick themselves back up and recover, attention will soon focus on the broader reasons for the disaster. While some will continue to link Sandy with energy policy decisions, important questions will have to be asked about why NYC was not better prepared, and what can be done in the months and years ahead to fix that, before the next storm barrels up the coast.
To that end, a few excerpts from the New York City Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan (April, 2009, here in PDF) will indicate that absolutely nothing about Sandy and its impacts should have been a surprise to anyone. It would be fair to ask NY politicians why the city was not better prepared for a disaster that it saw coming. . .
What is [Bloomberg] going to do about the fact that his city was less prepared than it should have been for a disaster that was expected and one of a sort will certainly recur, climate change or not?
If the media devotes 10% of the energy to this topic that it is devoting to the climate change connection, New Yorkers will be well served.
Good luck with that last bit.