Nov 7 2012

Hurricane Sandy, Climate Change, and the Future of Fish

Brian Hajeski, 41, of Brick, New Jersey, reacts as he looks at debris of a home that washed up on to the Mantoloking Bridge the morning after Hurricane Sandy rolled through, Tuesday, October 30, 2012, in Mantoloking, New Jersey.

Hurricane Sandy’s terrible toll in lost lives and decimated communities is still being measured. But as we start to sort out the pieces, it’s also worth noting that the storm sent shockwaves through the mid-Atlantic region’s fishing industry. Harbors and infrastructure were pummeled and in some cases destroyed along the New York and New Jersey coastlines, and the Garden State Seafood Association has already asked Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) to formally request a federal fisheries disaster declaration.

In the aftermath of the storm, the link between our changing climate and increasingly extreme weather is coming into greater focus and being called out by an increasingly large caucus. (For more on the link between climate and extreme weather events in North America, see this new column by the Center for American Progress.) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was among the first to link Sandy’s fury to the “reality” of climate change. Bloomberg Businessweek ran a cover story under the banner headline, “It’s Global Warming, Stupid,” which called out the increasing spate of corporate voices accounting for climate change in their business models. And the magazine’s namesake, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, cited climate change as the tipping point that led to his much-ballyhooed endorsement of President Barack Obama for reelection.

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