On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) made a weird comment about climate change:

Is this — a storm like this that is so strong and so unusual — a global warming incident? I think what is clear is the climate is changing, nobody knows if it is a [cyclical] or secular thing. I think each of these storms we have to learn to see if we can do some things better the next time.

Bloomberg has long been a leader on climate change, including helping to found C40, a group that focuses on how a shifting climate will affect cities. In light of that, questioning the cause seemed out of character.

Last night, he returned to form — and explained his somewhat nuanced position more fully.

There have been very strange weather patterns, very severe storms where they normally have not occurred. That much is recorded. You can look at the film.

Whether or not it is part of a long-term climate change or just a random collection of events, only time will tell. The argument that we’re damaging our planet is simply — Let’s assume that we decide we’re not damaging our planet and later on find out that we were.

It literally could be too late! And I think if you go and you talk to farmers who have lost all their crops because there have been droughts or places where you’ve had tornadoes or hurricanes or the families of those who were lost here, they would say: Hey — there’s something going on.

What is clear is the ice cap is melted and that’s very bad because then the heat of the sun gets absorbed in the water which raises the water temperature which hurts the reefs and the ecosystem of the reefs.

It’s not the sort of thing that you can ever say for sure. But the consequences of making a mistake in one direction are pretty severe.

It’s a hedge, to be certain, one that contradicts this week’s cover of the magazine that bears his name. But it’s a hedge along the lines of this famous video:

Bloomberg’s argument ought to resonate: If we do nothing, we’re betting nothing will happen. Things are already happening. So, cause aside, we should act. What’s the worst that can happen?

Update: Via Chris Mims, here’s New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo talking about climate change on Maddow last night.