In the night of 29th to 30th October, 2012, Hurricane Sandy reached the isle of Manhattan in New York. Due to flooding, a transformer of Con Edison exploded on 14th Street, causing a huge power loss in Lower Manhattan. More than one million New Yorkers were left without power, some over eleven days long.
For many, climate change is an abstract phenomenon that takes place somewhere far away at the North Pole, but extreme weather also makes it visible from close by. Hurricane Frances, Rita, Ivan, Charley, Wilma, Ike, Sandy, Katrina: eight of the ten largest hurricanes ever in the United States took place in the last decade. And although climate change has not caused the hurricanes per se, the scientists are sure that they have been strengthened by it.
The biggest contributor to climate change is the energy supply of the earth. Through the burning of fossil fuels, for example in coal-fired plants, extra carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, which strikes the earth like a warm blanket. The problem is not only that the temperature on average is slightly higher, but also that the temperature is peaking more and more, so that, for example, crops fail.
Energy has a role to play in a better environment. Precisely because it is such a big cause of climate change, it can also be a large part of the solution. The people of New York showed that we can do it together: by sharing. During the power outage, the people who still received electricity shared that with the other residents, so that they too could reach their family and friends.
We’e the power to set this right.