Current events in Japan have attracted a new focus on how federal energy programs are vulnerable to natural disasters. Considerable scientific research for renewable energy transition has looked at the way our energy options have been threatening the climate, but less attention was paid to another side of this equation.
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The scientific data reveals that climate change is currently bringing more climate and weather extremes. As an instance:
• For the continental United States, the very extreme precipitation events have observed again in total rainfall of approximately 20 percent during the previous 100 decades.
• The percent of the land area considered tender has risen from 15% to 25% of the world during the past couple of decades. These along with other climate trends are projected to continue during the next century, particularly if we carry on the business-as-usual method of relying heavily on fossil fuels to create energy.
• Power outages are getting more prevalent. Major weather-related electricity outages have risen from 5 to 20 every year from the mid-1990s to 50 to 100 every year throughout the previous five decades.
While changes in the electrical transmission grid and maintenance practices may explain a number of this growth, more regular climate and weather extremes are also probably contributing.
Approximately 4000 off-shore petroleum and gas rigs, 31,000 kilometers of pipeline, and over 25 on-shore petroleum refineries are situated in the Gulf of Mexico region frequented by hurricanes and tropical storms. The energy business is estimated to have dropped $15 billion annually.
• Coal transportation across the Midwest and Northeast will confront more flood disruptions. Heavy rain events in these areas have risen by 31 to 67% since the 1950s, a trend that will continue this century.
About 70% of coal is transported by railroad lines that have to navigate across or across rivers. A transition from coal to renewable energy resources could reduce the dependence on and corrosion of railroad, barge, and street infrastructure.