The Only Certainty with Climate Change is that Disasters are in the Forecast

Certainty with Climate Change

Certainty with Climate Change.

I had a professor once that was a retired oil engineer turned clean energy advocate who surprised the class one day by suggesting that we should not only be working on clean energy solutions but also preparing for the impact of climate change. To a fresh graduate student this sounded like maybe we had lost the battle before I was going to be able to get into the fight. Once I had time to think about what he was suggesting , I realized that he was right.

It seems to be human nature that we will not truly believe in a thing sufficiently to act on avoiding it until it has hurt us in some way. This is especially true of climate change and the current impetus to move towards clean renewable energy sources such as wind or solar. Even though we now know for certain that climate change is a result of human activities namely the building of our civilizations using fossil fuels we are resisting change at every turn.

It took a disaster at Fukushima in Japan to change the strategy of that small highly populated segregated society away from Nuclear power. In the last 10 years in the United States, hurricanes such as Rita, Katrina and Sandy have caused billions of dollars in damage not to mention the loss of life and loss of way of life. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is another example of this pain but yet this emergency and lessons supposedly learned seems to be receding from our memories.

Now in preparation for the next ” Sandy” and as a result of ” lessons learned” the U.S has decided to act with “foresight and purpose”.

Below are some excerpts from the U.S. Department of Energy press release regarding this preventative move.

“In addition to our mitigation and international efforts, the President’s Climate Action Plan calls on us to take measures today in order to better prepare for the effects of climate change we already see occurring here at home,” said Secretary Moniz.

Building on lessons learned from recent extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy, today we are announcing the establishment of a refined petroleum product reserve for the region surrounding New York Harbor and the Northern New England area to help ease the effects of potential future gasoline supply disruptions.


The sudden, massive gas supply shortage after Superstom Sandy resulted in interminable line, panic and delivered a gut shot to the region’s economy. That’s why we called for regionally-placed reserves to ensure an uninterrupted fuel supply in the event of future storms like Sandy,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer.

The Department of Energy, with foresight and purpose, has taken a great stride to meet that challenge today and I applaud their plan to establish a Northeast refined petroleum reserve right here in New York Harbor.

It is not that  disagree with such a move as much a marvel at the observation that when it comes to actions to reduce climate change we are very slow to act. However its seems that reactions to climate change such as building strategic gasoline reserves can happen very quickly without discussion of cost or necessity.

Here is the link to the whole press release. You decide.

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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