U.S. infrastructure is an aging, decrepit mess. Heat waves, storms, and wider temperature swings are adding to the problem - a very, very expensive one that puts millions at risk.
Note that just today, we cut $2.1 billion from the Dept. of Energy’s energy infrastructure investment programs.
The nation’s entire energy system is vulnerable to increasingly severe and costly weather events driven by climate change, according to a report from the Department of Energy to be published on Thursday.
The blackouts and other energy disruptions of Hurricane Sandy were just a foretaste, the report says. Every corner of the country’s energy infrastructure — oil wells, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants — will be stressed in coming years by more intense storms, rising seas, higher temperatures and more frequent droughts.
The effects are already being felt, the report says. Power plants are shutting down or reducing output because of a shortage of cooling water. Barges carrying coal and oil are being delayed by low water levels in major waterways. Floods and storm surges are inundating ports, refineries, pipelines and rail yards. Powerful windstorms and raging wildfires are felling transformers and transmission lines.
“We don’t have a robust energy system, and the costs are significant,” said Jonathan Pershing, the deputy assistant secretary of energy for climate change policy and technology, who oversaw production of the report. “The cost today is measured in the billions. Over the coming decades, it will be in the trillions. You can’t just put your head in the sand anymore.”
The high temperatures were accompanied by record-setting drought, which parched much of the Southwest and greatly reduced water available for cooling fossil fuel plants and producing hydroelectric power. A study found that roughly 60 percent of operating coal plants are in areas with potential water shortages driven by climate change.
Rising heat in the West will drive a steep increase in demand for air conditioning, which has already forced blackouts and brownouts in some places. The Energy Department’s Argonne National Laboratory found that air conditioning demand in the West will require 34 gigawatts of new electricity generating capacity by 2050, equivalent to the construction of 100 power plants. The cost to consumers will exceed $40 billion, the lab said.
Mr. Pershing, who joined the Department of Energy this year after serving for several years as the State Department’s deputy special envoy for climate change, said much of the climate disruption was already baked into the system from 150 years of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. He said that the nation must continue efforts to reduce climate-altering emissions, but that the impact of those efforts would not be felt for years. In the meantime, Mr. Pershing said, cities, states and the federal government must take steps to adapt and improve their resiliency in the face of more wicked weather.
President Obama referred to these vulnerabilities in his speech on climate change at Georgetown University on June 25. He said Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the Northeast in October, had provided a wake-up call, if one was needed after the run of climate-related disasters in recent years.
- studio630 reblogged this from climateadaptation
- definitelynotpie likes this
- ermichaels likes this
- toastedcoconut reblogged this from divacuppa
- jadedmushroom reblogged this from benevolentxmachine
- ma22 reblogged this from climateadaptation
- jera349 likes this
- adventuresofaphysicsgradstudent reblogged this from bobbycaputo
- thegoldenboyisaac reblogged this from ellisondubois
- thestarsonmycanvas reblogged this from climateadaptation
- checkerdandy reblogged this from sadabeuk
- suzilight reblogged this from climateadaptation and added:
- progressivebrittania reblogged this from climateadaptation
- the-nuclear-chaos reblogged this from ellisondubois
- drhoz likes this
- ma22 likes this
- marsthebringerofwar likes this
- manicpanicschmanic reblogged this from bobbycaputo
- sadabeuk reblogged this from scoticus
- xx-rapunzel-xx likes this
- thedoormouse reblogged this from silentlyfallen
- joaniwatson reblogged this from jeremy-ruiner
- bluej25 likes this
- nothingbutanswers reblogged this from climateadaptation
- nothingbutanswers likes this
- nerdier likes this
- lesliegale likes this
- thehatterandthecat reblogged this from inkandash
- inkandash reblogged this from jeremy-ruiner
- jeremy-ruiner reblogged this from moviesorientated
- moviesorientated reblogged this from climateadaptation
- areuworthey reblogged this from climateadaptation
- j-appleseed likes this
- omnipotentseal likes this
- beardedninjas likes this
- gargoylesstandingonsuperheroes reblogged this from swegener
- sashimigrade reblogged this from craziesunshine
- sushigrade likes this
- herblondness likes this
- winneganfake reblogged this from idlnmclean
- jgrassound reblogged this from maneatingbadger
- maneatingbadger reblogged this from climateadaptation
- highly-caffeinated reblogged this from sagansense
- hackr likes this
- joaquin-mata likes this
- idlnmclean reblogged this from sagansense
- rarymose likes this
- tufanus likes this
- tworoundsofacircle reblogged this from sagansense
- christopherin reblogged this from sagansense