Power lines down. Climate impacts up.

Today, in my twitter feed, a window into the future:

July 4, 2011 – 10:45 p.m.

BC Hydro issued the following update regarding the power outage in the Surrey area this evening:

BC Hydro has been monitoring and working actively to address limited transmission line instability in one area along the Fraser River near the Port Mann Bridge that is due to high water levels. Safety and power reliability are our top priorities and we had stabilized the situation over the weekend.

Today, the situation deteriorated as a result of higher river levels and electricity infrastructure near the Port Mann bridge was affected.

With precipitation expected to increase across the globe, and some areas to be more affected than others, this is a circumstance we can expect to experience more: out of date  infrastructure impacted by climate changes (including extreme weather events).

We already, in many places, have infrastructure that is unable to cope with weather events today. It is costly to rebuild or retrofit, and given some predictions, we have a lot of this to do (depending on where you are… ach-Richmond-echmm).

The silver lining? As we begin to experience these impacts, people will slowly grow more of an apatite for climate change adaptation measures. So events like these (where no one gets hurt), help us to communicate this need in a way that people can actually relate.

  • Yeah, I was stuck in traffic for 2 hours because the power was out and people can’t figure out how to use a 4 way stop!
  • I had to finish writing a paper and my lap top died while the power was out!
  • I missed dancing with the stars!
Okay. I’m poking a bit of fun. But there are studies to show that extreme weather impacts such as flooding help people to believe the impacts of climate change are relevant to them… leading to more support for policies to address climate change and it’s impacts.
Hopefully we don’t have to wait until more dangerous climate change is upon us to really get our asses in gear.

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