When Hurricane "Superstorm" Sandy hit New York, a large part of Manhattan— the wealthiest place east of the Taj Mahal— was without power for weeks. At least it wasn't unfashionable. According to a new report, blackouts are becoming the new normal.
The Department of Energy's new report answers the question, "What happens when you mix water and electrical sockets?" Actually, it's "How will climate change affect the nation's power grid?" Same thing. "In 2012, the United States suffered eleven billion-dollar weather disasters," they say, "the second-most for any year on record, behind only 2011." Hm. Someone better cover up all the plugs.
The national power grid has been cobbled together over the course of a century. Global warming means more storms, more flooding, and more power outages. The Northern US is projected to get wetter; the Atlantic is projected to produce stronger hurricanes. All in all, "The number of outages caused by severe weather is expected to rise as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, blizzards, floods and other extreme weather events."
The government and the energy companies are investing tens of billions, but if you think that's going to be enough, perhaps you have not looked at a life-size map of America lately. That shit is big.
[The full report [PDF]. Photo: AP]