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Jacquie Ayala (L) and Amanda Lawrence stand in a flooded street as they and others call on the presidential candidates to talk about their plans to fight climate change on October 18, 2012 in Miami Beach, Florida. Some of the streets on Miami Beach are flooded due to unusually high tides that the protesters felt are due to rising seas, which are connected to global warming and climate change. Published reports indicate that Florida ranks as the most vulnerable state to sea-level rise, with some 2.4 million people, 1.3 million homes and 107 cities at risk from a four-foot rise in sea levels.
This election cycle, climate change has been mostly ignored – Mitt Romney has avoided the topic except to joke about it, while President Obama has shied away from his contributions to alternative energy resources.
The presidential candidates haven’t been the only ones to ignore global warming and climate change issues – the topic seems to have slipped from the forefronts of American minds. But with Sandy sweeping the Eastern seaboard and leaving a trail of destruction in her wake, the climate change debate is back, leaving many wondering whether global warming influenced the storm.
Bloomberg Businessweek is answering with an emphatic yes, and other publications are following suit. Devastating natural disasters are not new to the modern age, but human impact is worsening their impact – an already-powerful hurricane combined with global warming is a perfect storm.
What kinds of adaptations are necessary to prevent and protect against future climate change disasters? Should the government be investing more in this issue?
Paul Barrett, Assistant Managing Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek