by Whitney Allen
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, New Yorkers overwhelmingly acknowledge that the storm was linked to climate change. A new poll from Siena Research Institute found that voters connect recent extreme storms to a changing climate by a 69-24 percent margin.
The results are similar throughout the state. In every region of New York, at least 63 percent of voters say that the extreme weather of 2011 and 2012 demonstrates that climate change in action. More than two thirds of independents and nearly half of Republicans also say that Superstorm Sandy was the result of climate change.
“I think part of learning from this is the recognition that climate change is a reality, extreme weather is a reality, it is a reality that we are vulnerable,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last month as he was surveying the damage from the powerful storm.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg reiterated his concerns — even endorsing President Obama for re-election because of his willingness to deal with climate change.
The Siena poll backs up a recent pos-election survey by Zogby Analytics that showed 2012 extreme weather — which featured two heat waves, a record drought, above-average wildfires, and two powerful storms that knocked out power to millions — had a “dramatic impact” on voter perception of climate change:
“These results show the dramatic impact 2012’s extreme weather has had across party lines, with half of Republicans, 73 percent of independents and 82 percent of Democrats saying they’re worried about the growing cost and risks of extreme weather disasters fueled by climate change.
“It’s a major change from our December 2009 poll, which showed two-thirds of Republicans and nearly half of political independents saying they were ‘not at all concerned’ about global climate change and global warming. The political climate has shifted and members of Congress need to catch up with their constituents.”
A new report from the Center for American Progress shows that there were at least seven extreme weather events in 2012 costing over $1 billion — disproportionately impacting low and middle- income people. However, even though more Americans are linking these extreme weather events to climate change, many of the up-and-coming Republican leaders in the House of Representatives deny the problem exists or have fought to prevent action.