(DGIwire) – It’s a common experience: we’re waiting for an elevator when the person standing next to us says, “Strange weather we’ve been having lately!” Small talk aside, this comment seems truer than ever. According to many climate change researchers, global temperatures are on a steady rise and polar ice levels are shrinking more quickly every year. Wildfires routinely sweep across southern California. But perhaps the most disturbing trend is the increase of powerful hurricanes and tropical storms.
Consider Hurricane Katrina, which caused $108 billion in damage according to the National Hurricane Center and took more than 1,800 lives. Following that was the massive tsunami, sweeping onto Japan’s coast, that caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Although it’s unclear how the resulting radiation will affect the surrounding populace—it was the second-largest meltdown in history, according to the International Business Times—more than 15,800 people died from the earthquake and tsunami alone, CNN reported. Superstorm Sandy reached further north than hurricanes had in years, causing damage of $68 billion as of March 2014, according to the National Weather Service.
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) also paints a grim picture of this new trend toward extreme hurricanes that will project higher wind speeds, more rain and a bigger storm surge in the coming decades. In the next century, maximum wind speeds could increase by two to 11 percent and rainfall by three to 31 percent. Those are just numbers, but imagine storms more powerful than Sandy or Katrina hitting the U.S. coast each year. They could have devastating effects on wildlife and human life, not to mention the cost of rebuilding cities. New Orleans has only just started to return to its pre-Katrina levels of economy and stability. Who knows what harm another superstorm could cause?
In order to minimize the risk and damage of future hurricanes, the NWF recommends that countries take the following measures:
- Reduce pollution to minimize future hurricane risk.
- Restore and increase protection for coastal wetlands, lowlands and barrier islands.
- Take global warming into account when choosing where to build houses and retail centers, and which materials and architecture plans to use when building.
Still, another step is possible. AMP Electric Vehicles, Inc. based in Cincinnati, wants to revolutionize delivery vehicles. Its Workhorse assembly line that once produced the acclaimed W42 and W62 chassis, now produces the W88 narrower track chassis, with a wide range of fuel options for fleet buyers, including an ultra-efficient 100 percent electric drive train.
AMP’s innovative and aptly named Workhorse E-GEN™ truck, with an extended-range electric drive, has many forward-thinking features. It can double a company fleet’s average miles per gallon by using battery-electric power combined with a small internal combustion engine. It incorporates a small spark-ignition emergency generator that recharges the battery pack automatically if the charge fall below certain levels, or when the vehicle is in “park” with the key out, and the emergency brake on. This means that during stops to take a delivery to the door, the vehicle is efficiently recharging.
Steve Burns, CEO of AMP Electric Vehicles, says, “We are seeking to introduce innovation into the delivery truck industry. If the use of electric vehicles becomes common, it could eventually translate into beneficial consequences for the environment and perhaps mitigate the worst effects of climate change.”
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