Infrastructure Must Catch Up With Climate Change

The worsening effects of extreme weather events are accelerating the deterioration of critical infrastructure, leaving communities more vulnerable.

1 minute read

August 4, 2022, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Sandbags in a flood with flooded buildings in background

Marc Bruxelle / Flood

Writing in Axios, Andrew Freedman highlights the urgency of building resilient infrastructure in a changing climate. Pointing to recent examples of flooding, fires, and heat waves devastating communities across the country, Freedman writes, “This summer has demonstrated again and again that our infrastructure is not sufficient to withstand the changed climate of today, let alone the impacts on the horizon.” 

“We have long designed our infrastructure as if the climate conditions and extremes of the past, such as the definition of a 100-year, 500-year or even 1,000-year flood in a particular location, would hold true in the future.” But predictive models about climate change may not accurately capture the rate of change, Freedman notes. “Some climate scientists and activists raise the possibility that climate change is already resulting in surprises missing in their models, such as the breaching of the once unthinkable temperature of 104°F (40°C) in the U.K., for example.” 

With extreme heat waves becoming more likely, fires growing more powerful, and floods affecting more places, upgrading and replacing aging infrastructure must happen at a much faster pace than previously thought.

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