June 2, 2020
With the current climate crisis comes the realization that infrastructure built on climate models of the past is no longer sufficient for weather events today. The concept of stationarity will need to give way to more flexible and adaptable engineering approaches that embrace deep uncertainty. In the Vice News article Our Infrastructure is Being Built for a Climate That's Already Gone examples of failed infrastructure are illustrated.
UREx SRN Executive Team member, Mike Chester contributed to the article by sharing his perspective on the difficulties in using past climate data to plan for the future. Chester shares that static infrastructure may continue to fail, and he cautions even worse failures during extreme events that can have cascading failure events as seen in the 2011 heat wave that led to more than 20 infrastructure failures in just 11 minutes for 3 states in the United States of America. He emphasizes the need to plan safe-to-fail infrastructure for the future. This article highlights the need for a deep ideological shift in how we think about infrastructure and how it interacts with the enviornment.