The Telegraph reiterates the need for context: “There are enough unknown factors in the complex and chaotic climate system for it to surprise us entirely. But more important, because hurricanes are relatively few in number, it’s difficult to sort out signal from noise.”
It is wrong of politicians to use Hurricane Sandy as a chance to squeeze more money out of the federal government or legitimize global warming policies that impact the health of the economy instead of the health of the environment. Sandy instead should cause leaders to take stock of poor decisions that were made long before the storm and have made its effects so devastating.
As New York Times blogger Andrew Revkin writes: “The impacts of this storm are 100 percent our fault. In other words, we make decisions every day as human beings about where to live, what kind of building codes, what kinds of subsidies for coastal insurance, and that’s where there’s no debate about the anthropogenic influence. The fact that the tunnels filled showed that we in New York City, New York State and this country didn’t make it a high priority to gird ourselves against a superstorm.”
The sad truth is that where the federal government did have a role in infrastructure, money has been spent irresponsibly to build bridges to nowhere, flowering streetscapes and bike and nature trails.
Perspective is key when it comes to policy decisions dealing with recovery and preparing for the next big storm, just as it is when it comes to making generalizations about the climate.
Katie Tubb is a researcher in the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Readers may write to the author in care of The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; Web site: www.heritage.org.