Editorial : The storm is not over

An aerial view of the storm damage over the Atlantic Coast is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
An aerial view of the storm damage over the Atlantic Coast is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Utility trucks and first responders navigate flood waters on the main stretch of road in Peahala Park, New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Utility trucks and first responders navigate flood waters on the main stretch of road in Peahala Park, New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Residents walk past burned houses in Breezy Point, a neighbourhood in the New York City borough of Queens.
Residents walk past burned houses in Breezy Point, a neighbourhood in the New York City borough of Queens.
The community of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in this satellite image.
The community of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in this satellite image.
Residents survey the damage from Hurricane Sandy in Bay Head, New Jersey.
Residents survey the damage from Hurricane Sandy in Bay Head, New Jersey.
An aerial view of the storm damage over the Atlantic Coast is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
An aerial view of the storm damage over the Atlantic Coast is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
An aerial view of the Manhattan skyline as seen from Lower Manhattan in New York.
An aerial view of the Manhattan skyline as seen from Lower Manhattan in New York.
Remnants of rides at FunTown Amusement Pier rest on the shoreline three days after Hurricane Sandy came ashore in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Remnants of rides at FunTown Amusement Pier rest on the shoreline three days after Hurricane Sandy came ashore in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
A street in Queens, New York  in the aftermath of the storm Sandy.
A street in Queens, New York in the aftermath of the storm Sandy.
Two girls examine the wreckage of boats washed ashore in Great Kills, Staten Island, New York.
Two girls examine the wreckage of boats washed ashore in Great Kills, Staten Island, New York.

Hurricane Sandy has taken dozens of lives and inflicted enormous economic damage on the northeastern coast of the United States.

It has also resurrected questions about the politically contentious link between climate change and extreme weather.

The Pentagon regards climate change as a national security threat, and a scientific report prepared for the Obama Administration in 2009 warned of profound consequences for Americans if no action was taken. Since then, there has been unprecedented melting of the Arctic summer sea ice, and widespread drought has pushed up food costs.

Residents, including a child, are rescued by emergency personnel from flood waters brought on by Hurricane Sandy in Little Ferry, New Jersey.
Residents, including a child, are rescued by emergency personnel from flood waters brought on by Hurricane Sandy in Little Ferry, New Jersey.
Water pushed up by Hurricane Sandy splashes into the window of a building standing by the shore in Bellport, New York.
Water pushed up by Hurricane Sandy splashes into the window of a building standing by the shore in Bellport, New York.
The Bounty replica is submerged off the US's East Coast.
The Bounty replica is submerged off the US's East Coast.
Damage along the shoreline caused by Hurricane Sandy in Milford, Connecticut.
Damage along the shoreline caused by Hurricane Sandy in Milford, Connecticut.
A New York carpark is submerged.
A New York carpark is submerged.
Floodwaters from super storm Sandy rush into the Port Authority Trans-Hudson's Hoboken, New Jersey station through an elevator shaft.
Floodwaters from super storm Sandy rush into the Port Authority Trans-Hudson's Hoboken, New Jersey station through an elevator shaft.
Fire and rescue crews lead a boat of power workers through flood waters after their power station was over run by flood waters in New York.
Fire and rescue crews lead a boat of power workers through flood waters after their power station was over run by flood waters in New York.
A deluge of water floods the Battery Tunnel in Manhattan.
A deluge of water floods the Battery Tunnel in Manhattan.
A man stands in front of a flooded building in Manhattan.
A man stands in front of a flooded building in Manhattan.
Floodwaters surround a car parked on a street in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Floodwaters surround a car parked on a street in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Fire fighters gather in front of a partially collapsed four-storey apartment building in Manhattan. The building's facade collapsed after high winds hit New York City.
Fire fighters gather in front of a partially collapsed four-storey apartment building in Manhattan. The building's facade collapsed after high winds hit New York City.
A local resident navigates the flooded streets of Brooklyn.
A local resident navigates the flooded streets of Brooklyn.
A construction vehicle drives through the flooded streets of Brooklyn, New York.
A construction vehicle drives through the flooded streets of Brooklyn, New York.
Storm surf kicked up by the high winds from Hurricane Sandy floods through a home in Southampton, New York.
Storm surf kicked up by the high winds from Hurricane Sandy floods through a home in Southampton, New York.
Young boys play video games while in the sleeping area of a Red Cross shelter in Hampton Bays, New York.
Young boys play video games while in the sleeping area of a Red Cross shelter in Hampton Bays, New York.
A driver stops to watch storm surf kicked up by the high winds from Hurricane Sandy in Southampton, New York.
A driver stops to watch storm surf kicked up by the high winds from Hurricane Sandy in Southampton, New York.
A man walks into the wind across the Hudson River from the skyline of New York in Hoboken, New Jersey.
A man walks into the wind across the Hudson River from the skyline of New York in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Kiwi  Dave Turner, who's studying at Harvard, took this photo of some of the storm damage in his street in Cambridge.
Kiwi Dave Turner, who's studying at Harvard, took this photo of some of the storm damage in his street in Cambridge.
Kiwi Dave Turner said the tree took out power to his street. He said it was pretty wet and windy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the moment, just "like Wellington on a bad day".
Kiwi Dave Turner said the tree took out power to his street. He said it was pretty wet and windy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the moment, just "like Wellington on a bad day".
Men try to save a boat which became unmoored and washed up on shore due to high winds from Hurricane Sandy in Scituate, Massachusetts.
Men try to save a boat which became unmoored and washed up on shore due to high winds from Hurricane Sandy in Scituate, Massachusetts.
Streets are deserted as Hurricane Sandy comes ashore in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Streets are deserted as Hurricane Sandy comes ashore in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Siding was ripped off of this house in high winds from Hurricane Sandy in Scituate, Massachusetts.
Siding was ripped off of this house in high winds from Hurricane Sandy in Scituate, Massachusetts.
A crane hangs from a building after being damaged in winds from Hurricane Sandy in New York.
A crane hangs from a building after being damaged in winds from Hurricane Sandy in New York.
A wall of water batters what remains of the fishing pier in Ocean City, Maryland as Hurricane Sandy intensifies.
A wall of water batters what remains of the fishing pier in Ocean City, Maryland as Hurricane Sandy intensifies.
Residents of Rockaways, New York, survey the devastation caused by a fire which broke out during Hurricane Sandy.
Residents of Rockaways, New York, survey the devastation caused by a fire which broke out during Hurricane Sandy.
Two boys run down Foster Avenue while dodging high winds and waves from the effects of Hurricane Sandy in Marshfield, Massachusetts.
Two boys run down Foster Avenue while dodging high winds and waves from the effects of Hurricane Sandy in Marshfield, Massachusetts.
Residents walk along Broadway Avenue as they inspect damage from Hurricane Sandy in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.
Residents walk along Broadway Avenue as they inspect damage from Hurricane Sandy in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.
A marina floods onto the road as Hurricane Sandy hits Ocean City, Maryland.
A marina floods onto the road as Hurricane Sandy hits Ocean City, Maryland.
Bracing against the wind, a man wades through a street flooded during Hurricane Sandy in Ocean City, Maryland.
Bracing against the wind, a man wades through a street flooded during Hurricane Sandy in Ocean City, Maryland.
A truck drives through water pushed over a road by Hurricane Sandy in Southampton, New York.
A truck drives through water pushed over a road by Hurricane Sandy in Southampton, New York.
US Route 30, the White Horse Pike, one of three major approaches to Atlantic City, New Jersey, is covered with water from Absecon Bay in this view looking west, during the approach of Hurricane Sandy.
US Route 30, the White Horse Pike, one of three major approaches to Atlantic City, New Jersey, is covered with water from Absecon Bay in this view looking west, during the approach of Hurricane Sandy.
An Army vehicle makes its way down a flooded street in Ocean City, Maryland, as Hurricane Sandy intensifies.
An Army vehicle makes its way down a flooded street in Ocean City, Maryland, as Hurricane Sandy intensifies.
A wave crashes over the protecting sandbags in front of the houses on the east side of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. The area has been ravaged by several storms over the years and has suffered severe erosions problems.
A wave crashes over the protecting sandbags in front of the houses on the east side of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. The area has been ravaged by several storms over the years and has suffered severe erosions problems.

Yet President Barack Obama and Republican contender Mitt Romney ignored climate change during the presidential debates, the first time it has not been mentioned since Congress was briefed in 1988. The news media, generally, avoid describing any hurricane as a consequence of climate change.

Scientists are careful to concede that there are uncertainties. But they agree that global warming has added moisture to the atmosphere. The resultant excess rainfall is a major source of hurricane damage.

Global warming has raised sea levels, too, which could explain why Sandy's storm surge flooded the New York City subway system.

But the caveats are vanishing. Mark Fischetti, a senior editor at Scientific American, says Sandy has emboldened more scientists to directly link climate change and storms without the hedging.

In contrast, our own Government is becoming more complacent about environmental issues. This week it said it was stopping publication of the five-yearly State of the Environment report, a comprehensive stock-take of trends relating to land, water, air, plants and animals.

The Climate Change Response Bill has passed its second reading in Parliament. It further stalls the application of the emissions trading scheme to some sectors, including agriculture, and maintains the requirement for carbon emitters to pay for only half the cost of their emissions.

Green Party MP Kennedy Graham has said the Government is simply doing what other countries are doing, entitling us to claim we are doing our fair share.

If Sandy prompts the US Government to take more robust action (yes, it's a big if), Kiwi notions of doing our fair share would have to be hardened accordingly.

The Marlborough Express