According to EU-CIRCLE Statement, it is presently acknowledged and scientifically proven that climate related hazards have the potential to substantially affect the lifespan and effectiveness or even destroy of European Critical Infrastructures (CI), particularly the energy, transportation sectors, marine and water management infrastructure with devastating impacts in EU appraising the social and economic losses. According to the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council, a 60 % rise in the cost of damage from extreme weather events across Europe has been estimated over a 30 year period. Europe‘s infrastructures have the largest merit in terms of monetary damages.

As European Infrastructures have lifelines that span in several decades, it is imperative to generate scientifically truthful and validated knowledge on the potential impacts of climate, as a viable pathway for making resilient infrastructures. The main policy objective, as underline in the national policy briefs, is to move towards infrastructure network that is resilient to today’s natural hazards and prepared for the future changing climate. Furthermore, modern infrastructures are inherently interconnected and interdependent systems, therefore extreme events are liable to lead to cascade failures.

Modern infrastructures are becoming more resilient comparing to the past. In the (Presidential Policy Directive 21, critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, February 2013), “resilience” is defined as the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions, including also the ability to withstand and recover from deliberate attacks, accidents, or naturally occurring threats or incidents.

In the last decade, an increasing number of natural disasters have adversely affected regional economies and millions of people all over the world. Our cities, in particular, have become more vulnerable because of the increasing rate of urban migration and greater concentration of high-value assets and critical government and business operations, many of them located in coastal and other areas naturally vulnerable to major disasters. The potential for severe and widespread impacts of extreme events has never been greater in society than today. Critical infrastructures such as telecommunications, electric power generation and transmission, chemical industry, water supply systems, transportation, ICT networks and emergency services have become the components of a larger interconnected system. A disruption in one infrastructure has ripple effects into other infrastructures and eventually impacts the community and the broader economy.

Link for download: Impacts of Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events on Critical Infrastructure: State of the Art Review and Taxonomy of Existing Knowledge