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Wendy Gordon

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Still Undecided... About Climate Change?

Posted: 10/31/2012 11:02 am

I doubt it. In fact, according to a study conducted by researchers at Yale and George Mason University, among voters undecided about who to vote for in the presidential election on Nov. 6, 80 percent believe that global warming is happening and 83 percent want the U.S. to use more renewable energy (solar, wind, and geothermal).

So as I sit here in the relative safety of my apartment -- just a few miles north and a handful of feet higher than Sandy's surge-ravaged neighborhoods -- accompanied by several superstorm "refugees" whose own homes are flooded and without power, I have to wonder what's it going to take to move our politicians.

We voters get it. We're experiencing it up close and personal. We're feeling the pain in lives lost and property destroyed. And we can't wait anymore. We don't need every dot connected, every question answered... we want action... and that includes those among us who consider themselves "undecided."

According to a 2012 survey conducted by Yale/George Mason University, 61 percent of "undecided voters" say global warming will be an important issue in determining who they will vote for.

Similarly, the polling released last week by Public Policy Polling found that undecided voters in eight swing states favor presidential and congressional candidates who support clean air and clean energy policies over those who don't. By a roughly 2-to-1 ratio, these voters believe that the Environmental Protection Agency needs to set standards to lower carbon pollution, rather than viewing such limits as bad for business and thus inappropriate.


The Governor of New York gets it. "We have a 100-year flood every two years now," Cuomo told reporters Tuesday while inspecting the damage to one of the world's best mass transit systems. "We have a new reality when it comes to these weather patterns." You may not want to listen to a blue state governor, but you might want to heed the warning of one of the world's largest reinsurance companies: Munich Re. In a press release accompanying a new report, "Severe Weather in North America," the company states plainly that "climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity."


More of our politicians need to come to grips with this new reality. Extreme weather is no joke, and no matter how you slice up the American electorate, we are overwhelmingly "pro-life," in the sense of the word used by Thomas Friedman in his column last weekend: We want clean air and water, we respect and care for all living things, and according to the same Yale/George Mason University poll cited above, we want our politicians to do more to combat life-threatening climate change.


Pundits are asking how Sandy might disrupt next week's election. I hope the answer is -- a lot. Climate change is not a hoax, it's deadly serious. If you are decided about climate change, you shouldn't be undecided about your vote.

 
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