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New report warns of “cascading system failure” caused by climate change

March 9, 2014

Full Article at http://grist.org/climate-energy/new-report-warns-of-cascading-system-failure-caused-by-climate-change/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=update&utm_campaign=socialflow

By Kate Sheppard

From roads and bridges to power plants and gas pipelines, American infrastructure is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, according to a pair of government reports released Thursday.

The reports are technical documents supporting the National Climate Assessment, a major review compiled by 13 government agencies that the U.S. Global Change Research Program is expected to release in April. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory put together the reports, which warn that climate-fueled storms, flooding and droughts could cause “cascading system failures” unless there are changes made to minimize those effects. Island Press has published the full-length version of the reports, which focus onenergy and infrastructure more broadly.

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…Rather than isolating specific types of infrastructure, Wilbanks said, the report looks at how “one impact can have impacts on the others.”

Previous extreme weather events, which scientists warn may be exacerbated by climate change, offer insight to the types of failures they’re talking about. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, the loss of electricity in the region meant that several major oil pipelines could not ship oil and gas for several days, and some refineries could not operate. Gas prices rose around the country.

Full Article at http://grist.org/climate-energy/new-report-warns-of-cascading-system-failure-caused-by-climate-change/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=update&utm_campaign=socialflow

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