Archive by Author | adamw0017

A Prediction Come True

Earlier this year I wrote a post about how New York was lagging behind the rest of the United States in regards of preparing for flooding. I read an article written by Mireya Navarro talked about how far New York was behind and what a big storm could do:

Critics say New York is moving too slowly to address the potential for flooding that could paralyze transportation, cripple the low-lying financial district and temporarily drive hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

And sure enough, on October 25, 2012 Hurricane Sandy came barreling up the East Coast and caused Manhattan and ninety percent of Long Island to go dark. The storm also took the lives of around 130 people in the United States alone. The New York subway system, a lifeline for millions, was paralyzed and remained silent for days. The exact scenario Mireya Navarro talked about happened. She said that if a storm larger than Hurricane Irene – Hurricane Irene caused the city to evacuate and was just one foot away from shutting down the New York subway system – hit the coast, then New York wouldn’t be able to handle all that it would bring. This picture shows Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge in New York

Sandy

On my post I wrote about how shocked I was that New York City was such a big city that was so close to water, and yet they didn’t have the proper protection for a storm like Hurricane Sandy. I also talked about how if a big storm hit NYC they wouldn’t know how to handle it. Mireya Navarro said that before Hurricane Irene hit NYC the city ordered an evacuation and took other steps for people’s safety:

The city shut down the subway system and ordered the evacuation of 370,000 people as Hurricane Irene barreled up the Atlantic coast. Ultimately, the hurricane weakened to a tropical storm and spared the city, but it exposed how New York is years away from — and billions of dollars short of — armoring itself.

Some of the same steps were taken this year on October 25, but the subways flooded this time because of the size of Hurricane Sandy. I found it amazing that MTA(Metropolitan Transportation Authority) Chairman Joseph Lhota talked about how awful Hurricane Sandy was to the city and their subway system:

The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots. As of last night, seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded.

Mr. Lhota’s statement surprised me because he is the Chairman of the MTA and yet he and New York were so shocked about this massive storm crippling their subway system. Sandy wasn’t just one storm, one city, this is the entire world. Although not every big storm is caused by global warming, global warming is definitely a significant contributor to these worsening storms. I wonder if Chairman Joseph Lhota had any idea of the post that was written by Mireya Navarro. And if so, why wasn’t anything done?

The Other Side of Electric Cars

Electric vehicles can help reduce harmful greenhouse emissions, but a new study suggests that, without cleaner sources of electricity, the environmental benefits would be limited.

Wow! You may be wondering how this could be true. The Wall Street Journal released an article on October 10th called “Electric Cars: Less Environmentally Friendly than They Seem”. As soon as I saw that article I knew that it was something that would spark my interest. The author, Daniel Akst, also wrote about how the environmental cost of manufacturing electric cars is worse than manufacturing gas-powered cars:

In addition to dirty sources of power, the environmental advantages of electric vehicles are dampened by the global warming impact of manufacturing them, which is about twice the comparable impact of conventional vehicles.

The article also includes how even if the electricity was generated from a fairly clean source of gas there would only be limited benefits for the environment. Electric cars also can only go 100-200 miles before they need to be recharged. This limitation means that you would have to stop more often to “fill up” only to drive a shorter distance than a gasoline-powered car could go . Electric cars also are lagging behind gasoline-powered cars in convenience. They have heavy chargers, they take 4-8 hours to get fully charged, and 30 minutes for about 80% of a charge. This means that they are less convenient and also less environmentally friendly than they seem.

So which is better? They both have their pros and cons for the environment so it is very hard to tell how the pros and cons would even out. The pro for gasoline-powered cars is they don’t pollute as much to manufacture, but the con is polluting whenever it is producing exhaust. The pro for electric vehicles is that they don’t pollute while driving, but the cons are the environmental cost to make them and also having to charge with power form fossil fuels.

New York’s Rising Tides

After looking at many New York Times articles, one really sparked my interest. It was about how New York’s coast was rising and how New Yorkers were lagging behind as the seas began to rise. Mireya Navarro wrote about how New York lagging behind the rest of the nation in regards to keeping their people safe from flooding and the rising seas

But even as city officials earn high marks for environmental awareness, critics say New York is moving too slowly to address the potential for flooding that could paralyze transportation, cripple the low-lying financial district and temporarily drive hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

She also talked about how this event showed the nation about many other issues New York could have. She also talks about how far away New York is from protecting itself from something that could be so deadly.

Only a year ago, the city shut down the subway system and ordered the evacuation of 370,000 people as Hurricane Irene barreled up the Atlantic coast. Ultimately, the hurricane weakened to a tropical storm and spared the city, but it exposed how New York is years away from — and billions of dollars short of — armoring itself.

                  Hurricane Irene Over NYC

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What Can We Trust

After watching An Inconvenient Truth, The Great Global Warming Swindle, and The Big Swindle Movie, I am completely confused and I can see why the general public would be confused too. First, in An Inconvenient Truth, we were told that global warming was happening and was human caused. Then, The Great Global Warming Swindle told us that An Inconvenient Truth was wrong, and then The Big Swindle Movie said The Great Global Warming Swindle was erroneous. I am now confused on what resources I can trust.

I have seen many facts on websites like EPA.Gov  that say humans are responsible for global warming.

Over the past century, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

I have also seen facts on websites like Paul MacRae that say that humans shouldn’t be held responsible for global warming.

About 16 million years ago there were carbon dioxide levels of 400 to 600 parts per million. The coasts of Antarctica were ice-free in summer, with summer temperatures 11° Celsius warmer than today.

All of this information is some of the reasons that I’m confused.

This confusion still hasn’t changed my mind about what I think of global warming. I still believe that global warming is happening, but I don’t think that humans cause it.  I don’t know if I think this is true because I really believe humans aren’t causing global warming or if I don’t want to be the cause of something that could be so bad. Not wanting to be held responsible for something like global warming may be a reason that 97% of climate scientists think global warming is happening and only 47% of the general public believe humans cause global warming. I know that I wouldn’t want to be responsible for something that could be so bad for generations to come.

These are just some of the many ways that people are managing to confuse others of this generation (and generations to come) about the topic of global warming.