NEW YORK -– With the presidential candidates grounded and news networks intensely focused on Hurricane Sandy, some suggested Monday that climate change and global warming — issues that were neglected during the presidential debates and that received scant coverage throughout the 2012 race — could finally be pushed to the forefront.
Foreign Policy’s David Rothkopf wrote that “Sandy will do more to draw attention to issues of climate change than all the candidates running for every office in the United States during this election cycle have done.” And The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert wrote that “Sandy makes the fact that climate change has been entirely ignored during this campaign seem all the more grotesque.”
Although Rothkopf and Kolbert each cautioned against attributing a single weather event –- even one as unusual as the oft-dubbed “Frankenstorm” –- directly to climate change, they and others have pointed out that warmer water temperatures and such extreme weather suggest a connection. “Some evidence that warming seas lead to worse hurricanes, so let’s hope Sandy reminds us of risks of climate change,” tweeted New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, who later sent his 1.3 million followers a link to the site Hurricane Sandy Speaks.
But while Sandy on Monday made many consider the potential dangers of global climate change — especially online and on Twitter — such concerns didn’t get similar attention on the cable networks that were covering the hurricane non-stop.
CNN began its rolling coverage of Hurricane Sandy at 4:30 a.m. and dispatched around 30 correspondents and anchors throughout the storm’s path. While CNN staffers braved harsh winds and rain for live shots on the beach or flooded streets, the network’s anchors and correspondents hadn’t mentioned “climate change” or “global warming” once by 4:30 p.m., according to a search using television monitoring service TVEyes.