If you’ve wondered why I haven’t posted anything about Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath on the East Coast, here are my thoughts. Obviously, my heart goes out to all of those who’ve lost loved ones or their homes or otherwise been injured in the storm. New York is the richest city in the richest state in the United States. I have every confidence that its public officials will be able to cope with the problems the hurricane brought with it. The impression I’ve received from the recent remarks by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is that they are just now coming to a realization of the full scope of damage their state and city have sustained. I think they’re a bit late to the party but better late than never, I guess. Given New York’s status I think it’s pretty hard to make a case for substantial federal aid to New York after the initial emergency response.
New Jersey is another case. Much of northeastern New Jersey is a sort of bedroom community for New York. It’s not nearly as prosperous as its neighbor and there’s been an enormous of damage there. Being an elder in a high rise in New Jersey, never a bed of roses, is probably a pretty bad thing to be right about now. I wouldn’t be surprised if New Jersey is going to need considerable help to recover. New Jersey’s governor knows which side his bread is butter on and has been responding appropriately.
It’s hard not to sound like a Grinch in saying it but Sandy isn’t the worst hurricane ever to strike New York and New Jersey. It’s just the most severe hurricane that’s struck the Mid-Atlantic recently. The Long Island Express back in 1938 was a more severe storm with greater loss of life by an order of magnitude. Big, serious storms come along every couple of decades and have done for as long as anybody knows. The relatively mild weather of the last couple of decades has lulled people into a false sense of security but the reality is that nature is tremendously powerful and its power is always there.
I think the willingness of New York officials immediately to leap on the global warming band wagon over Hurricane Sandy is unbecoming and hysterical. Whatever the reality of global warming, big storms have happened before and happened long before there was any threat of global warming. I might add that Chicago has been getting more than 80% of its power from carbon-free sources for more than 30 years; New York gets 30% of its power from carbon-free sources. If New York’s governor is worried about releasing carbon into the atmosphere, he might think about starting at home.