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McKinstry: After Sandy climate change cannot be ignored

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo assesses water levels in

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo assesses water levels in Path Train Station at Ground Zero. (Oct. 30, 2012) Credit: Darren McGee

Today’s conversation: cleanup.

Tomorrow’s should be a bit more extreme: the weather.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in today's Hurricane Sandy presser said extreme weather is a reality, so it must be part of a “longer conversation” when rebuilding New York’s vulnerable infrastructure.

“The frequency of extreme weather situations is way up,” Cuomo after taking an aerial view of the damage inflicted on New York City, Long Island and Westchester County, adding that any notion that the next 100-year storm is, well, 100 years off, is just “shortsighted.”

Subways, tunnels, train lines and critical infrastructure are more vulnerable that we ever imagined. And it’s sure to be a multi-billion dollar fix.

So the governor is right when he says our infrastructure must be rebuilt with an eye on more extreme weather patterns like the one that just left a devastating blow

While Cuomo acknowledged climate change is a controversial subject and an divisive political issue (remember Al Gore and his 2006 flick “An Inconvenient Truth”), there can be no denying that we are facing severe weather events like Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene last year.

And as difficult as it may be, it might be best to keep the politics out of it, or at least to a minimum.

Whether Sandy was caused by global warming or is more a result of cyclical shift in weather patterns is tough to know for sure and open to debate, but there’s no arguing that a change in weather patterns is affecting communities along coastal communities.

That was Cuomo’s larger point.

The so-called 100 year storms – meaning one of its kind comes around once in a lifetime – are beating us up every few years.

The debate is sure to be stormy, but after Sandy’s devastation is eventually cleaned up, it ought to be a conversation more and more people are willing to have.