Climate Change & Infrastructure

Sea level rise. Wildfires. Droughts. Floods. Extreme heat. These and other climate impacts affect our nation’s already-aging infrastructure, including roads, bridges, power grids, water, and wastewater systems. The toll on public health and safety is enormous. Investing in infrastructure presents an opportunity to avoid even more intense impacts, and to build a low-carbon economy. Our experts explain what the risks and opportunities are, how we can build community resilience, and what we can do to advance climate-smart infrastructure.


California’s Infrastructure Earns a C-. We Need More Equitable and Climate-Safe Infrastructure Now

, Western states senior climate analyst

I count on the quality and reliability of our roads, water and wastewater systems, and electric grid to help me keep my daughter safe from harm and provide an environment where she can thrive. Many other parents do, too. These expectations seem reasonable. They will, however, become even harder to meet in the face of continued underinvestment and disinvestment in communities and more frequent and severe climate-related extreme events here in California and beyond. These issues must be key considerations in infrastructure decisions and solutions moving forward. Read more >

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Photo: John Rogers

Three Ways Federal Infrastructure Policy Can Speed Up Our Clean Energy Transition

, senior energy analyst

May thirteenth marked the beginning of Infrastructure Week and, as you might have heard, there might be at least one thing that Republicans and Democrats agree on: the need to invest in our nation’s aging infrastructure to remain competitive and build a more resilient, equitable system. This includes the electricity sector, where we must decarbonize our electricity supply, address growing threats to system resilience from climate change, and invest in the research and development of technologies that will power our growing clean energy economy. Here’s three ways a federal infrastructure policy package could help make this happen. Read more >

Photo: John Rogers
Photo: James Ferguson/Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Derrick Jackson
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Photo: AWEA

How Big is Gridlock in our Electric Grid?

, Senior energy analyst

Progress in electric power, particularly the growth of renewable energy and consumer choice, is looking like gridlock.  Look closer and we can see three fundamental issues: state policy vs. federal policy; changing perspectives on reliability, and how electric grid planning should accommodate the ongoing transition to renewable energy. We even have gridlock in the appointment and continuity of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that oversees much of the decision making in these spaces.

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Photo: AWEA
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Three Climate Priorities the New Congress Can Actually Deliver On

, director of gov't affairs, Climate & Energy

What can actually get done right now? Read more >

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U.S. Army Sgt. Brad Chambers of the California Army National Guard's 649th Engineer Company, 579th Engineer Battalion, 49th Military Police Brigade, from Chico, California, conducts search and debris clearing operations, Nov. 17, 2018, in Paradise, California. Photo: U.S. National Guard.

New National Climate Assessment Shows Climate Change is a Threat to our Economy, Infrastructure and Health

, Policy Director and Lead Economist, Climate & Energy

The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II, was released today. The much-anticipated report, prepared by a consortium of 13 US federal government agencies, makes clear that climate change is already here—as evident from the worsening flooding, wildfire seasons, droughts, and heatwaves the nation has been experiencing. What’s more, the report highlights that as climate change worsens, risks to our economy, infrastructure, health and well-being, and ecosystems will grow significantly. Urgent action is needed to lower heat-trapping emissions and invest in making our economy and our communities more prepared to withstand climate impacts. Read more >

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