Adaptive Climate Response Cost Models for Infrastructure

TitleAdaptive Climate Response Cost Models for Infrastructure
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsChinowsky, Paul S., Kenneth Strzepek, Peter H. Larsen, and Arie Opdahl
JournalJournal of Infrastructure Systems
Date Published09/2010
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers
KeywordsAdaptation, Cost model, Infrastructure

The climate in Alaska is changing with temperatures and precipitation increasing, and experts say those changes will continue. The changing climate will, among other kinds of social and economic effects, damage public infrastructure throughout Alaska, adding to maintenance costs and shortening the lifespan of everything from schools to sanitation systems. The question of how much cost impact this change will have and when the costs are expected to occur is the question of significant concern and debate. One approach to answering this question is addressed in this paper. Based on a probabilistic model, the results in this paper estimate how much climate change will add to future costs of public infrastructure in Alaska. Based on a database of public infrastructure throughout Alaska and the estimated replacement costs and lifespans for the various types of infrastructure statewide, the model provides a first analysis of climate impact on infrastructure costs. As an additional refinement of the model, the paper presents two potential adaptation approaches to reduce the impacts of climate change on the adaptation process. Code adaptation and event adaptation are introduced as two potential processes, based on existing responses to natural disasters, that may be employed to adapt to climate change. These adaptation approaches have the potential to reduce climate change costs by 10–45%. This is significant when the total potential cost impact to infrastructure from climate change is projected to add 10–20% to infrastructure costs by 2030 and 10–12% by 2080 under different climate projections and taking design adaptations into account.