Climate change and infrastructure

The US Government Accounting Office (GAO) released a report in January that calls into question the way energy companies are preparing, or not preparing, to deal with the many different aspects of climate change.

Multiple and often compounding effects of climate change are likely to threaten U.S. energy infrastructure, the GAO report suggests. There are a number of different effects listed that, when added together, are already creating problems for energy production and distribution companies. Warming trends are likely to wreak havoc on the U.S. electricity industry by driving up demand in spiky ways varying from season to season while water shortages in some regions will create problems for cooling electric power generators, reducing electricity supply while increasing consumers’ demand for electricity, the GAO said.  (GAO report link).

The report also sees a rough road ahead for other parts of the economy linked to energy from weather-related events–including floods, droughts, and storms.

Climate News followed the report with a more detailed look at industry perspectives. The report is based on US data, but most of the world’s energy production facilities and resource hubs are located in coastal areas, or areas that will be greatly affected by climate changes, so this is obviously a global set of issues to consider.