Fortunately for the Bay State, Sandy’s destruction was aimed away from Massachusetts, but that doesn't mean she left the Boston area without stirring up anything.

 

Environmental groups joined U.S. Rep. Ed Markey yesterday for what they called an "emergency meeting" to discuss climate change.

 

The meeting, held at Arlington Town Hall, attracted more than 200 people and at times felt like a rally with attendees passing out fliers and the audience loudly clapping and cheering when speakers talked about climate change efforts and legislation.

 

It was the latest example of how Sandy was being used by politicians to link severe weather to climate change.

 

Markey urged those in attendance to not let Sandy leave the region without leaving behind a lesson.

"This is basically our moment; our educational moment. This is not unlike 9/11 when we received a warning and now we have to put in place the protections," said Markey, later adding, "If we don't take advantage of this opportunity to supercharge the issue so it's injected into the national dialogue, then we lose the opportunity."

He warned that if a storm like Sandy were to hit Boston, landmarks like Faneuil Hall, Fort Point and the Back Bay would be devastated.

"It's called the Back Bay for a good reason. That land is all filled in and it would return to its natural identity," said Markey, who is the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Markey pointed to solutions including ensuring that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is fully funded and that budget cuts are not made to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that would leave the agency partially blinded.

Kevin Knobloch, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said a missing piece to the solution of climate change is overwhelming political demand.

"Climate scientists are often reluctant to connect any single weather event to climate change. But what they will say is that … ocean temperatures are rising, tropical storms get their energy from the temp of the ocean when they form, we’re seeing more intense storms," he said.

Sandy's climate change


Sandy's devastating impact on the East Coast has started a discussion about climate change, not just in Massachusetts, but also in the areas that were the hardest hit.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo touched on the environmental issue during a briefing last week.

"Anyone who thinks that there is not a dramatic change in weather patterns is denying reality," Cuomo said, according to the New York Times. "We have a new reality, and old infrastructures and old systems."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last week that he will be voting for President Barack Obama in part because of his stance on climate change.

"Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be – given this week's devastation – should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action," Bloomberg said in a statement.

Quoted


"Hurricane Sandy is our Great Boston Fire. We need to read that as the call to action and the call to reform and we need to step forward in a way that we, frankly, have not fully yet."

-Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists

"The planet is running a fever. There are no emergency rooms for planets. So we have to put in place the preventative measures in order to ensure that we do no more harm to this planet."

-Rep. Ed Markey