Watching Superstorm Sandy unfold on CNN and Sky over the past few days has felt eerily like watching the sci-fi movie, The Day After Tomorrow. Made just 8 years ago, the movie depicts New York at the mercy of intensely violent weather: massive and brutal floods, hurricanes, tidal waves, etc.
We’ve been struck by the frequency of news conferences given Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Andrew Cuomo and other key disaster managers as they have kept their cities fully informed throughout this highly volatile situation. They’ve given us a master class in communication and we’ve been awed by their honesty and clarity.
There was a moment that particularly resonated with us when, during one of Mayor Bloomberg’s press conferences, he said that Sandy had to result in a re-examination of the effects of climate change and, particularly, what could be done to mitigate it. And Governor Cuomo said on Tuesday: I don’t think anyone can sit back anymore and say, ‘Well, I’m shocked at that weather pattern’.
Is Sandy a taste of things to come? isa fascinating article on CNN’s website showing how climate change is affecting weather patterns: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/10/31/us/sandy-climate-change/index.html?iref=allsearch. In short, and quoting directly from CNN’s article: “The melting of Arctic ice, rising sea levels, the warming atmosphere and changes to weather patterns are a potent combination likely to produce storms and tidal surges of unprecedented intensity, according to many experts.”
Certainly there is a growing body of evidence showing what we, along with many others in the cleantech industry, have understood for years now: the disappearance of summer ice cover in the Arctic is linked to the climate change that results in violent weather like Superstorm Sandy.
The movie was frightening then and the actuality is frightening now, not because a Sandy is not survivable (and how many other cities could have come out of such a storm shining as heroically as New York has done?) but because, in our highly efficient lives, weather is the one thing we cannot control. Isn’t it?
The greenhouse gases (such as CO2, sulphates, and other pollutants like unburnt hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide) which are emitted into the atmosphere by fossil fuels are the biggest contributors to the melting of Arctic ice, which contributes to rising sea levels, which contributes to the warming of the atmosphere, which changes the climate, which results in weather patterns that give rise to superstorms such as Sandy.
Clean burning biodiesel, by comparison, can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 80%, virtually eliminates sulphur emissions, and reduces other pollutants by between 40 and 90%. Biodiesel made from used cooking oil has other benefits too: it takes this waste out of the environment in the most effective way possible and it is sustainable, unlike fossil fuel.
Now how can we help you help yourself by helping the planet?