Published on Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Climate change US Election winner?

Bloomberg backs Obama over climate change blame for Sandy scientist blames 12% of deaths on tourism

New York mayor now says climate change is responsible for NYC deaths and Obama is the only candidate likely to take responsibility

The issue of climate change was thrust into the US election spotlight - and onto the world stage - after New York mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election.

Citing the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, Mr Bloomberg said that the risk of extreme weather events caused by climate change should "compel all elected leaders to take immediate action".

Writing for Bloomberg View, the Bloomberg financial information group's website for opinion, the mayor and company founder said that Mr Obama sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens the planet and his opponent Mr Romney does not.

"I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics," said Mr Bloomberg.

Mr Bloomberg's endorsement also emphasises the depth of feeling in New York about the destruction wreaked by this week's hurricane.

Although scientists say it is simplistic to attribute any one disaster to climate change caused by human carbon emissions, there is substantial evidence that it makes extreme weather events more likely.

If that perception gains ground, it may become easier to take action on climate change after years of paralysis caused by the cost of changing energy systems, the difficulty of agreeing international action and the denial of climate science by some US politicians.

Said tourism and climate change scientist Paul Peeters: "The connection between climate change and higher frequency of hurricanes going also more to the north was shown up to ten years ago. Models predict that over the next century, major hurricanes are expected to make landfall from Florida to North Carolina at nearly double their historical rates."

"You could now say that between 5% and 12% of the casualties, the cause is tourism's emissions, as tourism is responsible for between 5 and 12% of climate change. And indeed such weather disasters do not help tourism much. The reactions so far are more for acknowledging there is climate change and adapting to it, rather then thinking harder to mitigate the whole problem."

 "But it is may be a new start to spend resources on renewables, sustainable transport systems instead of getting the last drop of oil from the Arctic."

Follow the debate at WTM:

Valere Tjolle
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