Comments from EGA Retreat Become a Reality, 'Silver Lining' Might Be a New Drive for Serious Adaptation and Mitigation of the Problems

At the EGA Retreat this year, MTA Sustainability Initiatives Director Projjal Dutta discussed the New York Subway and transit trends. He mentioned many potential problems the subway could face with the increasing frequency and intensity of storms from Climate Change. Less than one month later, many of his projections became a reality as Hurricane Sandy landed on the East Coast. Tracy Austin, Executive Director of the Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas, speaks on the topic:

“Scenes from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy had an eerie déjà vu effect. I was immediately reminded of Projjal Dutta’s presentation at the 2012 EGA Retreat. Projjal’s overview of how the MTA is trying to address climate risks that threaten the subway system that so many New Yorkers depend upon, but that we also tend to take for granted, focused mainly on the amount of public expenditure that would be needed to protect the system from climate-related risks. But Hurricane Sandy has shown us in much graphic terms what’s at stake: the toll that climate change will have on human beings and our way of life here in the Big Apple. If there is a silver lining at all in this cloud, it is that ‘Sandy’ is a wake-up call about the urgency of the need to address climate change, through adaption as well as through mitigation. “

Related to Tracy’s notation of a potential ‘silver lining,’ New York politicians are at last openly acknowledging the presence and impacts of Climate Change, which will hopefully lead to protective measures for infrastructure like the New York Subway. As a start, Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo have both announced the need for new protective measures of the city and state in high-profile interviews and press conferences. Hopefully this change in the conversation will lead to new policies for adaptation and mitigation not only in New York and the region affected by Sandy, but in the U.S. as a whole. Right now, many dedicated organizations are responding to the immediate aftermath of the storm, providing aid and assistance to those greatly affected, including a noteworthy response by the Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas. If you are interested in providing immediate aid for those impacted, please contact us.