• Kimberley Greed
  • 30 October 2012

Falling into Sandy’s path: How climate change and America’s hurricanes affect you

Many people associate the term ‘climate change’ with an abstract and distant notion. It raises the concept of NIMBY-ism (Not in my back yard) which we all suffer from occasionally. Why should we concern ourselves with problems that will be encountered by other people, or those in the future?

Well, the effects of climate change are in actual fact very real and very immediate. Take hurricane Sandy for example. As I write this article the US Eastern coast is being ravaged by torrential rain, flooding and hurricane-strength winds. Following hurricane Katrina in 2005, we must ask what is causing such destruction to one of the most developed nations of the world.

This catastrophe may not be directly caused by climate change, but it is almost certainly fuelled by the effects of global warming. A recent article by the Guardian outlines how more atmospheric moisture and warmer sea temperatures are changing the nature of hurricanes – making them more unpredictable. Whilst we can rest assured that England is unlikely to experience such an event, can we completely disassociate ourselves from what is happening across the pond?

The New York stock exchange and NASQAD have now been closed (as I write) for 2 consecutive days – the first time this has happened due to poor weather since 1888. This has had a knock-on effect in London as trading dips to a worrying low, and the FTSE falls as a result. As we all learned during the financial meltdown, the interdependency of our economic systems inevitably means that we will feel the effects one way or another.

So the next time you leave a room and forget to turn off the light – consider the very tangible affects that this could have for cities across the pond, and most importantly, your pocket and your pension!