Climate Hazards and Critical Infrastructures Resilience
by Stephen Flynn, Jerome Hajjar, Auroop Ganguly, Global Resilience Institute
In this piece, Flynn and Hajjar identify the three main problems currently hindering practice and research of resilience: the nature of climate and related stressors, defining stressor systems, and the evolving concept of resilience. They emphasize that previous solutions to climate change are not feasible anymore as the planet is entering into uncharted territory. Using three separate cases including the effects the Northeast 2015 blizzards had on air traffic control and Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the historic 2012 blackouts in India, the authors highlight how failures in one system can trigger cascading failures. They highlight two main issues with traditional risk assessment tools which are the complexity and interdependence of current infrastructure systems and the deep uncertainty associated with climate hazards. This helps illustrate the root causes of fragility and how better systems can be implemented in the future, so these results are not as severe and damaging, both physically and economically.