Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2021-07-29 09:31:25 –
Congress looks close to a trillion-dollar infrastructure deal that recognizes the threat of climate change and the need to make the US coast more resilient.
On Wednesday, a group of bipartisan senators who had been working on the plan for weeks announced an agreement on “major issues.” Later that night, the Senate voted 67-32 to move it forward in a procedural vote. It still faces some big hurdles.
Many of the details have not yet been disclosed or completed, but some have been revealed. The deal will bring $ 550 billion in new spending on roads, transportation, electricity and other physical infrastructure. This includes approximately $ 47 billion for flood and coastal resilience and funding to adapt ports and waterways to changing climates.
In the conversation, how climate change is affecting US infrastructure, what Congress will make it more resilient as sea levels rise, storms become more destructive, and temperatures become more extreme. I’ve been looking for a way to do it.
These three articles from our archive describe some innovations in resilient infrastructure.
1. Adaptive design lesson from the Netherlands
The Netherlands has been tackling flood risk for generations in the Netherlands, where most of the country is below sea level. They learned that one key to living with rising water is adaptive design, the construction of future-expandable infrastructure.
In the United States, adaptive design can mean building a levee wider than usual, so it’s easy to raise a levee in 20 years. Alternatively, it may mean leaving space for future water pumps in flood-prone areas, or installing locks that can be raised and lowered as needed.
Jeremy Bricker, a hydropower and coastal engineer at the University of Michigan, said:
He points out the cost of refurbishing the Folsom Dam in California, which was built in 1955. Adding a new spillway now to improve water management would cost about $ 900 million, close to the price of the original dam with inflation.
2. Incorporate nature: coral and mangrove
In some coastal cities, Army Corps of Engineers are developing plans for huge flood walls to provide protection from storm surges. The instinct is to build big now to handle the worst scenarios of the future.
But in Miami, the plan reveals two issues. Large walls may mitigate the damage of hurricane storm surges, but will block the multi-million dollar waterside views of the downtown area. And the 6-mile wall only protects the downtown area of Miami, only from surges. Water will still come in and everyone outside the wall will be vulnerable.
There are other ways to protect the coastline that are unobtrusive and take advantage of natural coastal storm control, writes the University of Miami engineer Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos and marine scientist Brian Haus.
Rhode-Barbarigos and Haus combine the strength of specially designed concrete structures with the conservation of corals and mangroves to develop a “green gray” infrastructure for effective, more natural-looking hybrid coastal protection. I have been involved.
“Life with water today doesn’t look the same as it did 50 or even 20 years ago,” they write. “In some parts of Miami, there are regular” sunny day “floods at high tide. Saltwater seeps into basements and high-rise parking lots, and tide floods are projected to occur more frequently as sea levels rise.
When a storm comes, a storm surge is added to its already high water. “
They add: “I don’t want to see Miami become a city surrounded by Venice and water. Miami believes it can thrive by leveraging a regional ecosystem with new green engineering solutions and adaptive architectures.”
3. Climate-friendly concrete
Concrete has also changed in response to changing climates. Scientists are developing ways to minimize corrosion of concrete structures when exposed to seawater, making the concrete itself more climate-friendly.
Cement, which binds concrete, accounts for about 7% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. This is a greenhouse gas that warms the environment and raises the ocean. Approximately 26 billion tons are produced nationwide every year, and production is increasing.
“Given the size of the industry and its greenhouse gas emissions, technology that can reinvent concrete can have a serious impact on climate change,” said Lucca Henlion, Duo Chan, and Victor, University of Michigan engineers.・ Lee and Volker Sick wrote.
Scientists are using new types of concrete to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released, such as injecting carbon dioxide to block greenhouse gases that could be released into the atmosphere in future bridges and buildings. I am developing. The Michigan team has developed carbon dioxide-injected concrete that requires less steel, is stronger, more durable, and is bendable.
Editor’s Note: This article is a compilation of archived articles from The Conversation, an independent source of non-profit news, analysis, and commentary by academic experts.