England’s home of cricket said it’s joining the fight against climate change to avert more damage from severe weather that has already cost millions of pounds and wrecked historic grounds where the sport is played.
Marylebone Cricket Club signed an agreement with EDF Energy Plc that shifts its electricity consumption to 100 percent renewable energy, according to a statement released Tuesday. The club’s Lord’s cricket ground made the move after new figures showed storms and flooding linked to climate change caused more than 3.5 million pounds ($4.3 million) of damage across 57 cricket clubs in a single stormy month.
“We know that climate change made the record wet weather in December 2015 considerably more likely,” said Piers Forster, director of the Priestley International Center for Climate, in a statement released by a group of civil society groups called The Climate Coalition. “U.K. weather will always bowl us the odd googly, but climate change is making them harder to defend against.”
Storm Desmond in December 2015 brought severe gales and heavy rainfall across Britain, causing power cuts and flooding thousands of people out of their homes. That winter was the second wettest since records began in 1910, with rainfall 160 percent heavier than experienced over almost three decades running to 2010, according to the U.K.’s Met Office.
England & Wales Cricket Board contributed more than 1 million pounds to clubs hit by flooding in 2016 and has earmarked an additional 1.6 million pounds for this year, it said. The Corbridge Cricket Club in Northumberland, the northernmost county of England, was just one of the 57 affected and was forced to demolish a 130-year-old club house following Storm Desmond.
Even though the London-based Marylebone Cricket Club wasn’t hit by Desmond, it wants to raise awareness of the impacts that climate change could have on the sport, said Russell Seymour, sustainability manager for MCC, in a phone interview.
Lord’s new Warner Stand is currently being replaced and will be fitted with solar panels for both electricity and hot water as well as a ground source heat pump to provide heating and cooling for the building, he said.
Climate-induced changes to weather could also “substantially” change the game of cricket itself by tipping the advantages for a bowler or batsman, he said.
“In the morning if it’s bright and sunny it might be easier for a batsman to score runs and then in the afternoon if it’s cloudier, humid or overcast, those conditions are better for a bowler, for example,” he said.