When Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on parts of the Northeast in 2012, it exposed the dire need to strengthen New York City’s infrastructure to adapt to what was then a looming threat of climate change.
Nearly a decade later, the city is picking up the pieces after another climate nightmare that it was unprepared for. Within two weeks, the two storms — Henri and Ida — broke rainfall records in the Northeast. Residents in the Northeast were still drying out from Henri, which danced from state to state when Ida came through. Officials have confirmed that the floods and extreme weather had killed at least 46 people in the region.
What role does climate change play?
The extreme weather conditions and heavy rainfall are the kinds of scenes that scientists say the world will see more of human-controlled climate change.
Across the US, specifically, the heaviest downpours have been observed to be increasing in all regions, with the northeast showing the largest increase, according to the US National Climate Assessment. When torrential rains fall on these watertight surfaces, there is simply nowhere for the water to go but into overloaded storm drains. In the case of New York, floodwaters also spilled onto subway platforms and, tragically, into basement apartments, where many victims were trapped.
In terms of hurricanes, climate change is making them more dangerous. They are producing more rainfall, moving slower once they make landfall, and generating larger storm surges along the coast. Hurricane Ida was a prime example of those changes, and scientists say storms like this will become more common as the planet warms.
What can we do?
Climate adaptation won’t be easy – or cheap.
As a New Yorker, you can help fight climate change by doing your part to live a sustainable lifestyle. Here are a few eco-simple tips to try:
- Rethink your transit options. For example, consider mass transit and take the subway or bus instead of an uber, or driving alone. Yet, even better, travel by walking or take your bike when possible. If there’s no other option than to take your car, consider carpooling with a friend who has an electric vehicle.
- Reduce. Reuse. Recycle…. Be sure to look into your local recycling guidelines for more information.
- Get involved. Sign up to help tidy up your local parks and waterways and keep our recreational areas clean and healthy.
- Try a plant-based diet and buy food from a bulk store or farmer’s market to cut down on packaging waste and improve your health at the same time.
- If any of this seems too time-consuming, a quick win in reducing your carbon footprint is to sign up with an energy supplier who can provide 100% renewable electricity vs what you’re receiving from your local utilities such as ConEdison, Orange and Rockland Utilities, National Grid, NYSEG or RGE.
In addition to maintaining an eco-friendly lifestyle, there are things that New York can do from an infrastructure standpoint. New York Senator, Chuck Schumer is offering a one-two punch that focuses on resilience, that would build stronger subways, roads, and bridges to protect the city from future storms.
The second part would focus on reconciliation, which would address global warming by reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Governor Schumer says the deal would reduce carbon by 80% by 2030, and total carbon emissions by 50% by the same year.
Our goal at ABEST is to serve New York residents with 100% renewable electricity to help reduce their carbon footprint. Our focus has been to educate and help individuals do their part too and help fight against climate change by offering eco-friendly products and services. Renewable energy helps to reduce emissions by creating a way to move away from fossil fuels, which contribute, to the greenhouse gasses.