We Need Climate Resilient Infrastructure

Remember those hot days last Labor Day weekend? Who could forget! Those hot, hot days led to electricity service disruptions across the state right when we were relying on electricity to keep us cool. That meant inconvenience for some people and for others, some seriously dangerous conditions. Hot summers are nothing new in LA, but the service disruptions at that scale was something we hadn’t seen in a long while.

The reasons that happened were complex, but we know for sure that climate change will continue to strain how we run our infrastructure, like our electricity system. If we don’t address climate change and rethink how we build our infrastructure to account for a hotter future, last year’s heat storm and power system problems will happen more and more frequently.

Let’s face it, infrastructure is a long-term relationship. That’s why instead of letting those ever-increasing impacts of climate change disrupt our lives, we need to reduce the risks that climate change creates by significantly cutting our emissions while also building infrastructure that’s ready not just for tomorrow’s climate, but also for the climate we can expect decades down the road. From more inland flooding to rising sea levels to wildfire, we need a strategy to build infrastructure that can deliver for the long term. We need climate resilient infrastructure. Our infrastructure must address head on the new reality of climate change and do so in a way that doesn’t pollute with the gases that cause climate change in the first place. The American Jobs Plan will deliver infrastructure that is climate resilient, instead of climate susceptible.

Where do we go from here? We now must plan and build infrastructure that withstands more than it did in the past. That means repaving roads with materials that absorb less heat and planting leafy trees along the sidewalks to create shade so the communities nearby can keep cool. That also means water systems that are prepared to deliver clean water to everyone in LA while also accounting for the increased chance of evaporation in the system. Nearly every aspect of infrastructure can be better designed to prepare for climate change. We are up for the challenge.

Rebuilding our grandmother’s infrastructure to meet our daughter’s future just doesn’t make sense anymore. That’s why we need climate resilient infrastructure.