On Thursday night, as New York and the surrounding area continued to suffer from flooding, power outages, gas shortages, and the destruction of lives and property, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the deadly consequences of climate change are now inarguable.
“We can argue about the cause for the weather change, and we can argue about whether the cause was human behavior or a natural cycle of weather patterns, but you can’t argue about the effect,” Cuomo said on Thursday’s The Rachel Maddow Show.
Though Cuomo said the consequences of climate change are more “inarguable” than the cause, he also made clear what he thinks the cause is. “Long-term, if you conclude it’s human behavior-influenced, which I do believe, then you want to eliminate that human activity,” he said.
Cuomo’s state has been severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy, triggering what show host Rachel Maddow referred to on Tuesday as “a new disaster.” Maddow ran through some of the most recent news about the devastation: At least 19 dead in the New York City borough of Staten Island, widespread gas shortages, and millions of people still without power.
Cuomo said there was no way the infrastructure of New York City could have been prepared for such an extreme weather event. “Manhattan has that elaborate infrastructure below ground, and New York does not historically have floods or hurricanes,” he said. The power grid and subway system were both designed without the possibility of extreme flooding in mind.
The governor was quick, however, to praise President Obama’s response to the crisis. “He’s called multiple times a day just into this state to find out what’s going on in New York,” he said, adding that FEMA’s response “has been fantastic.”
“I know what the federal government traditionally does, and I have to tell you, they’re doing an outstanding job in my opinion,” said Cuomo, who once served as President Clinton’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Cuomo’s appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show was not the first time he brought up Hurricane Sandy in the context of climate change. At a Wednesday press conference, he declared, “Anyone who says there is not a dramatic change in weather patterns is denying reality.”
“There’s a frequency in these extreme weather conditions, it’s getting worse, it’s getting worse all over the globe, getting worse all over the country, and I think we have to accept the reality,” Cuomo said on Thursday’s show.