Sandy’s Mandate: When Political Reality Meets Climate Reality

In an instant, climate change can realign politics. Here, Democratic President Barack Obama tours devastated parts of New Jersey with Republican Governor Chris Christie.
Whatever happens on November 6th, the tragic scenes unfolding across the 19 states impacted by Superstorm Sandy have realigned American politics when it comes to climate change.

The road to Election Day has gone from sarcastic remarks in Tampa, to two debate moderators apologizing for not asking the climate change question, to Republican standard bearer Gov. Chris Christie touring his devastated home state with President Obama, to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg penning an op-ed declaring that action on climate change is the central electoral issue.

Pundits like Politico’s Mike Allen have now given voice to what many strategists are already saying.  Sandy and climate change may have changed the campaign’s ultimate outcome.

Sandy has also brought into focus that politicians risk their well-being when the impacts of climate change are ignored.  The year 2012 has seen record drought throughout the Midwest, heat waves scalding our cities, the nation’s largest outbreak of West Nile Virus and wildfires torching homes and millions of acres.  All of these events hit the electorate at the personal level impacting families, property and communities.

Poll after poll has shown the public awaking to climate change’s role in exacerbating and accelerating all of these impacts. Combined with the steady and expanding stream of images of Sandy’s destruction, these impacts and events take the nation to Katrina 2.0. So whatever the outcome next Tuesday, the person sitting in the Oval Office will have to act to address the unfolding climate crisis because we all know the next extreme weather event is just around the corner.

Before you vote next week, you can send a message to the candidates that you want them to talk about climate change and protect wildlife.  Take action here.