We here at EESI consider ourselves so fortunate that we escaped the unthinkable impacts of Hurricane Sandy being felt by our friends in New York and New Jersey. We watch with heavy hearts as we see the real-life horror of people's lives taken, livelihoods destroyed, and our shared infrastructure completely swamped, not by an act of terror, but by our changing climate. Whether it's the increasing frequency and ferocity of hurricanes in the East, wildfires in the West, droughts and floods and tornados in the Midwest, our climate is changing. We know it is changing, but we also know that we can have an impact on how much the climate will change, and how much that change will affect us.
Shall we spend all of our resources trying to hold onto the old ways of generating and distributing energy, and watch as events like Sandy become more commonplace? When we rebuild, indeed, when we build any new infrastructure or building, should we do it the same way we always have?
There is a better way. We have the technology. We have the resources. We have the people and brainpower. It is time for action. When our markets don't fully account for costs and benefits, our government, representing the people who elected its leaders, must encourage the markets to do so. There are solutions. We must implement them to reduce how much our climate changes (mitigation), and to limit how much climate change impacts us (adaptation).
Our generation's moon-shot challenge is energy transformation. We know this transformation can be accomplished. Taking bold action now to kick-start that transformation will create countless jobs, and make our nation stronger than ever, all while meeting the demands of the 21st century. We now have the technology for each building to generate electricity. Transformation of our grid to enable these changes, and to make it smarter, more resilient and more distributed, is a primary infrastructure challenge, and must be elevated at least to the level of our transportation system. When we rebuild or build new infrastructure and buildings, the effects of climate change and its future variability must be the assumption; not that things will be like they have been in the past. If we wish to thrive, indeed survive, we cannot continue to do things the way they have been done in the past.
The American people have shown time and again that we are at our best when challenged. We need to embrace the new challenges of the 21st century, and the changes that must occur in order for our nation to progress. Each of us, as citizens, can encourage our government representatives to address the challenges head on and to work together to solve these problems.
We will do this together – let's not allow any more death and destruction without resolving to take action in the names of those we’ve lost or who have been severely impacted – let's renew our fight against climate change today!
Thank you for all you do!