Sci + Tech, Social Impact

US Govt. warns of systemic risks from climate change

As seen in the aftermath of recent weather-related disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, our infrastructure and built environment will experience an increasing number of systemic knock-on effects due to the impact of climate change and its shifting of the climatic norm. This upcoming report from researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in support of the National Climate Assessment, highlights the “cascading system failures” that could arise from the loss of key infrastructures with exposed vulnerabilities to the changing environmental factors.

For example, the loss of electricity after Katrina and Sandy meant that key pieces of the oil production pipeline were shut down, leading to nation-wide gas price hikes with the former and a region-wide shortage of supplies following the latter, resulting in gas lines resembling the worst of those seen during the energy crisis in the 1970s and further hampering relief efforts.

Read more: Island Press, Huffington Post