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Cuomo On Climate Change: 'Extreme Weather Is The New Normal'

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CUOMO CLIMATE CHANGE
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes a point a news conference in New York, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. Gov. Cuomo said damage in New York state from Superstorm Sandy could total $33 billion when all is said and done, as the state began cleaning up from a nor'easter that dumped snow, brought down power lines and left hundreds of thousands of new customers in darkness. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) | AP

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, reacting to the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy, penned an op-ed in Thursday's Daily News calling for more preparedness in a "new age of extreme weather."

Titled, "We Will Lead On Climate Change," Cuomo's op-ed details the ways the state can ready itself for future storms, while only briefly mentioning a single measure to prevent climate change itself.

"First," the governor writes, "we must begin by thinking about where and how we rebuild. The next generation’s infrastructure must be able to withstand another storm. We must also reduce the energy consumption that contributes to climate change — which means, for starters, upgrading our building codes."

He uses the Con Ed substation in lower Manhattan as an example of poorly located infrastructure. The substation, near the East River, experienced severe flooding when Sandy hit, causing a giant explosion that plunged much of the island, and thousands of New Yorkers, into darkness.

Addressing the gas shortage that followed Sandy, Cuomo writes that the state needs to build "redundancies into our fuel system and [put] in place generators and pumping systems that are readily deployable."

As for New York City mass transit, which was paralyzed by Sandy, Cuomo insists we must "diversify" our transportation options, so people aren't stranded at home.

The heftiest portion of Cuomo's op-ed is devoted to New York's electrical systems, which Sandy severely disrupted, cutting off power to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.

Calling the electric power grid system, "the equivalent of vinyl records in the age of the iPod: antiquated, 1950s-style institutions that don’t serve our current needs," Cuomo calls for the investigation into weaknesses into the state's power utility companies.

On Wednesday it was confirmed that the Long Island Power Authority and Con Edison had been subpoenaed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Cuomo is expected to announce the formation of three commissions to look into making New York more prepared for extreme weather.

Immediately following the storm, both the governor and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in an unprecedented move for US public officials, put the blame for Sandy directly on climate change.

"We have a 100-year flood every two years now," Cuomo said he told President Barack Obama following the storm.

President Obama is expected to arrive in New York City Thursday, where he will take an aerial tour of Sandy's destruction with Cuomo, Bloomberg, and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer.

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