Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Infrastructure and Climate Change

PostedDecember 4, 2016

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Anchor Lede: The recent presidential campaigns focused a lot on improving our nation’s infrastructure, but hardly at all on climate change. The two issues may be more related than politicians think.

Randy Atkins: We assume that the past is a reliable predictor of the future, says Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University.

Katharine Hayhoe: Every aspect of our infrastructure, and our agriculture, and our water supply, and even our energy supply is built on the assumption that climate isn’t changing.

Randy Atkins: Hayhoe says that’s bad bet, and we should consider building all infrastructure like bridges.

Katharine Hayhoe: An engineer says, “When I’m designing this bridge, I’m going to take the worst case scenario and then I’m going to multiply that worst case scenario by two or four or even ten because I want to make sure that this bridge will withstand anything that comes its way over its lifetime.”

Randy Atkins: Hayhoe suggests that mindset keep future climate change predictions in mind. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.