HOBOKEN – Today, local leaders and activists gathered for a press conference at the Hoboken PATH Station to highlight the devastating impacts of extreme weather and climate change on Hoboken and throughout the state of New Jersey. They’re calling for action to mitigate the worst impacts of climate-fueled extreme weather. The press conference comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s historic national climate change plan announcement on June 25.
Extreme weather is affecting families all across America – from hurricanes to heat waves and from droughts to devastating blizzards These events take a toll on our families, our communities, and especially our economy. Climate change is causing these natural disasters to increase in frequency and intensity, experts say.
“The President is showing his personal leadership on climate change, and we need to stand with him. This is not only about the environment, it is about growing our economy and providing clean energy jobs,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The President’s plan is even more critical in New Jersey, where some do not recognize climate change and sea level rise. That is why it is so important here for the federal government to step up on these issues. When I met with the President on May 28 in Asbury Park, he said a climate initiative was coming soon and he kept his word.”
“Our high density urban coastal regions like Hoboken, Weehawken and Jersey City need protection from the next ‘Sandy’,” said Dr. Alan Blumberg, Director of the Davidson Laboratory/Center for Maritime Systems at Stevens Institute of Technology. “Because of the changing climate, the storms of the future, I believe, will be more frequent and more intense.”
In October 2012, New Jersey was devastated by deadly Superstorm Sandy – the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history – which left 131 dead and destroyed approximately 380,000 homes. It created a storm surge that broke the all-time record in New York Harbor. Sandy and 24 other extreme weather events over 2011-2012 caused damage in excess of $1 billion each — $188 billion total – and left more than 1,100 people dead. Just last week, New Jersey suffered from a horrendous heat wave, the latest in a series of extreme weather events in recent years that have included hurricanes, droughts, nor’easters and even a blizzard before Halloween. As a result of these and other events, 14 New Jersey counties have received natural disaster designations in recent years.
“Severe storms, extreme heat, summer droughts and unhealthy air days are becoming more and more frequent,” said Assemblyman Ruben Ramos (D-NJ-Hoboken). “We must embrace ways to help New Jersey communities deal with these problems and learn to prevent future damage caused by climate change and extreme weather. We have a moral obligation to future generations to leave a planet that’s not polluted and damaged by carbon pollution. President Obama’s plan is a sound one, and it’s up to those of us at the local level to stand up in support of efforts at the national level that will help our communities here at home.”
“President Obama’s new climate action plan is a big step to begin reducing extreme weather and detrimental effects caused by climate change,” said Hoboken Councilman Tim Occhipinti. “The science behind climate change is clear. As the average temperature increases, events like Superstorm Sandy – which knocked out power, hurt local businesses, destroyed homes and shut the PATH down – will sadly become more common. My 4th Ward constituents have to deal with flooding even during simple rainy days, so it’s that much worse here when a major storm hits.”
Poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans want climate action now. 65% of voters support “the President taking significant steps to address climate change now,” according to a February poll for the League of Conservation Voters.
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