Climate Change: Energy Infrastructure Risks and Adaptation Efforts

images[2]According to the NRC and the USGCRP, changes in the earth’s climate–including higher temperatures, changes in precipitation, rising sea levels, and increases in the severity and frequency of severe weather events–are under way and expected to grow more severe over time. These impacts present significant risks to the nation’s energy infrastructure. Economic losses arising from weather-related events–including floods, droughts, and storms–have been large and are increasing, according to USGCRP. Adaptation–an adjustment to natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climate change–is a risk-management strategy to help protect vulnerable sectors and communities that might be affected by climate change. GAO was asked to examine the vulnerability of the nation’s energy infrastructure to climate change impacts. This report examines: (1) what is known about potential impacts of climate change on U.S. energy infrastructure; (2) measures that can reduce climate-related risks and adapt energy infrastructure to climate change; and (3) the role of the federal government in adapting energy infrastructure and adaptation steps selected federal entities have taken. GAO reviewed climate change assessments; analyzed relevant studies and agency documents; and interviewed federal agency officials and industry stakeholders, including energy companies at four sites that have implemented adaptive measures. Personal Author N/A
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