Costa Samaras, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said companies building energy infrastructure have to adhere to safety standards, but very few of the standards have been updated to account for how the climate is changing.
As a result, most new infrastructure isn’t designed to withstand the conditions it will face decades from now.
Take storm drains, for example.
The state says a drain has to handle a certain size storm, an engineer looks up how much average rainfall is associated with that storm in that spot and then determines how big the pipe has to be to carry that amount of water under a road.
“The challenge is that that information is based on the rainstorms in the 20th century,” he said. “That is fine if the rain patterns don’t change, but the rain patterns are changing.