In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Bill Clinton lambasted Mitt Romney for his position on climate change.
The former president said Tuesday that the deadly storm, which ravaged the northeast, proved Romney was wrong to make fun of President Obama’s 2008 vow to address climate change.
Romney “ridiculed the president for his efforts to fight global warming in economically beneficial ways,” Clinton said while campaigning for the president in Minneapolis.
During the Republican National Convention, Romney poked fun at the president, saying Obama “promised to begin to slow the rise of oceans and to heal the planet.” The Republican nominee said he was more focused on helping “you and your family.”
But politics aside, is climate change really to blame for Hurricane Sandy? Sort of, experts say.
Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geoscience and international affairs at Princeton University, said on MSNBC’s Hardball that while global warming did not cause the storm, it almost surely “made the impact worse.”
“Sea level has been rising for the last century due to global warming. And when this huge storm came along, add high tide with a full moon with a huge fetch of water gathered up over the Atlantic Ocean—it was pushing on a sea level which was higher than it otherwise would have been, and it was able to push the water further and further inland.”
The problem will only get worse in the years to come, Oppenheimer warned.
“Global warming will continue to cause sea level to rise, and probably cause such storms to become more intense until we reduce the emission of the greenhouse gases that are causing the problem,” he said.
Democratic Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, the ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee, said the hurricane frames the election as a contest between Mother Nature and the Koch Brothers, funders of Romney who are in climate change denial.
Markey said the Koch brothers, who are among the biggest coal magnates in the country, want Romney to win because he’ll do away with tax breaks for wind energy and roll back fuel economy standards.
It’s ironic, Markey noted, because as governor of Massachusetts, Romney said he believed in climate change.
But now, “no Republican can be nominated to run for president of the United States if they say they believe in climate science.”