The effects of climate change are being felt more keenly around the world. From an increase in the frequency of floods and extreme heat damaging property to the ever stronger hurricanes in the Caribbean, the rise in the intensity and regularity of severe weather events is putting extreme pressure on the world’s infrastructure.

There is a clear necessity to build more climate resilient infrastructure. Those in the infrastructure industry need to take into account the long-term climate impacts to which such structures will be subject, including a consideration of weather pressures, optimal design and suitable materials.  The long-lived nature of infrastructure assets means that decisions made now will lock-in vulnerability for years to come if climate impacts are not considered properly.

Climate-resilient infrastructure can take many forms including resilient bridges in strong wind and storm prone areas, bigger and more resilient flood defences and buildings, especially in areas impacted by rising sea levels and earthquake resilient buildings designed to withstand tectonic plate shifts.

There is already a move toward climate resilient infrastructure designed with the aim of reducing the economic impact and mortality rate of climate change related events.  Many states and corporations are now encouraging the use of resilient infrastructure as a form of risk management. By way of example, Singapore plans to invest SG$100bn to safeguard the city including financing sea walls and resilient subway stations, whilst the Marshall Islands are dredging sand from a lagoon to build up Majuro against the rising sea levels which threaten to engulf it.

With environmental and climate change pressures increasing, there is a clear need for investment in infrastructures which are resilient to the ever growing impacts of climate change.

 Clyde & Co is hosting energy and infrastructure-themed tables in The Chancery Lane Project's virtual legal hackathon, running from 23 September to 18 December 2020. This post is part of a series of updates posted during the hackathon on business-relevant climate initiatives and innovative solutions to some of the challenges arising from climate change in the Energy or Infrastructure industries.