Edited by Hugh Dyer and Maria Julia Trombetta
Chapter 17: Washing away energy security: the vulnerability of energy infrastructure to environmental change
Energy generation, extraction, refining, processing, distribution and delivery requires a complex, interlinked, costly and, sometimes, global infrastructure. However, much of that infrastructure lies in areas that are becoming increasingly physically unstable due to changes in the environment. Of particular concern are disruptions caused by, or exacerbated by, environmental change. Climate change is only one (albeit critical) component of the larger challenge of direct, man-made environmental change. Humans often make direct and major alterations to the environment. Recently, for example, massive population increases have had a dramatic effect on the physical environment. At the turn of the 20th century, there were around 1.65 billion people on the planet. At the turn of the 21st, there were around 6 billion. The result is more groundwater pumped up potentially creating subsidence, more deforestation leading to erosion, more developments in flood plains putting infrastructure in vulnerable location, etc.
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