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Business Perspective on Climate Change and Infrastructure. Lynette Cardoch, Ph.D. MWH Americas, Inc. Supervising Scientist, Sustainable Development. 4 th Assessment Report (2007). Future Warming Certain 1.8 o C to 4.0 o C Snow cover to contract Sea ice to shrink

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Business Perspective on Climate Change and Infrastructure

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Business perspective on climate change and infrastructure

Business Perspective on Climate Change and Infrastructure

Lynette Cardoch, Ph.D.

MWH Americas, Inc.

Supervising Scientist, Sustainable Development

4 th assessment report 2007

4th Assessment Report (2007)

  • Future Warming Certain

    • 1.8oC to 4.0oC

  • Snow cover to contract

  • Sea ice to shrink

  • Hot extremes, heat waves, and heavy precipitation more frequent

  • Tropical cyclones more intense

  • Precipitation to increase at high latitudes, decreases are likely in most subtropical regions, continuing recent trends

Precipitation intensity

Precipitation Intensity

Tebaldi et al 2006

  • Frequency of heavy precipitation events has increased over most land areas

  • Consistent with warming and observed increases of atmospheric water vapor (IPCC 2007)

Consecutive dry days

Consecutive Dry Days

Tebaldi et al 2006

  • More intense and longer droughts since the 1970s

  • Increased drying linked with higher temperatures and decreased precipitation

  • Changes in sea surface temperatures, wind patterns and decreased snowpack and snow cover (IPCC, 2007)

Co2 as a pollutant

CO2 as a Pollutant

April 2, 2007: EPA must reconsider their refusal to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions


  • Setback for automakers and for utilities with coal-fired plants

  • Bolsters California and other states climate-change regulations.

  • Insurance: applicability of pollution exclusions

“EPA has offered no reasoned explanation for its refusal to decide whether greenhouse gases cause or contribute to climate change,''

Justice John Paul Stevens (majority)

Business perspective on climate change and infrastructure

Temperature (blue)

Atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (red) Fedorov et al. Science 312, 1485 (2006)

Ghg emissions reductions trends

GHG Emissions Reductions Trends

“The debate is over. The science is in. The time to act is now.”

California Governor Schwarzenegger

"Global warming threatens our health, our economy, our natural resources, and our children's future. It is clear we must act. "

New York Governor Spitzer

With almost 1,200 miles of coastline and the majority of our citizens living near that coastline, Florida is more vulnerable to rising ocean levels and violent weather patterns than any other state. Florida Governor Charlie Crist

Manifestations in south florida

Manifestations in South Florida

  • Sea Level Rise

  • Hurricane Activity

  • Precipitation

Sea level rise

Sea Level Rise

Mean sea level trend miami beach

Mean Sea Level Trend: Miami Beach

  • 2.39 mm/year (0.78 ft/100 years)

  • Record: 1931 to 1981

Sea level rise in coastal zones

Sea Level Rise in Coastal Zones

  • Accelerated coastal retreat and erosion

  • Salt water intrusion into coastal freshwater aquifers

  • Associated wetland impacts, eg migratory routes

  • Broad impacts to

    coastal economy

Sea level rise in urban zones

Sea Level Rise in Urban Zones

  • Higher and more frequent flooding

  • Expanded flooding during severe storms and high tides

  • Bigger and Stronger Waves

  • Damage to coastal infrastructure

Insurance industry increased risk

Insurance Industry & Increased Risk

  • Insurers raise prices in response to higher risk

  • Becomes #1 political problem

  • State backed alternatives introduced with subsidized pricing

  • Corporate and liability exposures

  • Investments– where and how?

Most costly insurance losses 1970 2005

Most Costly Insurance Losses 1970 - 2005

1. Hurricane Katrina; floods, damage to levees and oil rigs (2005)

2. Hurricane Andrew (1992)

3. Terror attack on WTC (2001)

4. Northridge earthquake (M 6.6) (1994)

5. Hurricane Ivan; damage to oil rigs (2004)

6.Hurricane Rita; floods, damage to oil rigs (2005)

7. Hurricane Wilma; torrential rain, floods (2005)

8. Hurricane Charley (2004)

Extracted from The 40 most costly insurance losses 1970–2005,

High risk to water and wastewater infrastructure

High Risk to Water and Wastewater Infrastructure

  • Coastal and river-side facilities at risk of more severe flooding and inundation

  • Storm damage to facilities due to more intense hurricane and storm events

  • Reservoir modifications due to changing flood control, in-stream flows, sedimentation, and storage needs

Miami dade wasd concerns

Miami-Dade WASD Concerns

  • Sea Level Rise

    • Salt Intrusion

    • Flooding

    • Inflow & Infiltration

  • Tropical Storm Activity

    • Storm Frequency

    • Storm Intensity

    • Precipitation Patterns

  • Future Demand Forecast

    • Population Growth

    • Tourism Patterns

Miami-Dade Central District Wastewater Treatment Plant

Miami dade wasd

Miami-Dade WASD

  • Utility contributions include more energy efficient equipment, buildings, utilization of methane gas as a process energy source

  • Hardening of facilities to withstand hurricanes including enclosed emergency power at most facilities

  • Salt front monitoring

  • Membrane softening technology and alternative water

MWH Sunrise MBR Pilot Plant

(Broward County)

Business perspective on climate change and infrastructure

US and worldwide: about 10 % of generated electricity goes to water/wastewater pumping, and treatment

Business perspective on climate change and infrastructure

2006 Gulf


Conventional flood management

Conventional Flood Management

Excessively expensive, high embedded energy, high operational energy, high carbon footprint!



  • San Marcos Square, Venice, Italy



  • Policy

  • Buildings

  • Housing

  • People

Managing risks

Managing Risks

Assess vulnerability

  • Identify critical utility thresholds

  • Use climate change scenarios

    Assess adaptation strategies

  • Apply risk management tools

  • Adopt adaptive management

  • Promote flexibility

  • Explore phased response options

  • Test your systems

    • Better? Worse? New Problem?

Managing risks1

Managing Risks

  • Water conservation

  • Diversification of sources (including recycling and rainwater use)

  • Florida population growth

    • New sources

    • Indirect potable recycling

    • Desalination

    • Energy-intensive

Optimization through leed

Optimization through LEED

  • The LEED Green Building Rating System provides point incentives to achieve a higher level of standard by optimizing the design choices

Optimize Energy Use -

Daylighting and Energy Efficiency can be modeled for optimal performance

Recycled Content -

Materials selected based on Life Cycle Cost comparisons

Vineyard WTP

Sacramento, CA

We can do it



Build conventional buildings

Build LEED certified “green” buildings

Build housing developments

Build sustainable, multi-use communities (“smart growth”); lowers transport use

Design and build conventional highways

Employ context-sensitive transportation design, multimodal transportation;

Use off-the-grid energy and water supplies

Obtain energy from renewable sources. Water usage reduction, recycling.

Use conventional construction materials

Use recycled materials – now much more economically feasible and available

Design for constructability, utility

Design for constructability, utility, flexibility, deconstruction, reuse; Lifecycle analysis -C2G

Send construction waste to landfills

Extensive recycling of construction wastes (50-75%) -- Landfills do much now; LEED stds. available for contractor use on-site

We Can Do it


Auckland wastewater treatment

Auckland Wastewater Treatment

  • Improved Dissolved Oxygen (DO) instrumentation

  • Reduction in total nitrogen released into the Manukau Harbour

  • Annual savings of 4.5 M kWh, 3,156 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

  • Annual saving of $550,000

Eeca award november 1 2007

EECA Award(November 1, 2007)

  • New Zealand's biggest celebration of innovation and achievement in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors

  • MWH’s groundwater heatpump solution

  • Commended for its “innovative approach combining standard componentry into leading edge technology.” he project has resulted in

  • Substantial energy consumption reductions and lower costs to the airport.



“For far-sighted companies, the environment may turn out to be the biggest opportunity for enterprise and invention the industrial world has ever seen.”

– The Economist

Business perspective on climate change and infrastructure

Emerging Political and Business Consciences for Action

  • A low carbon economy is inevitable

  • We need the right market framework

  • Many Corporates, Cities and States are acting

  • Low Carbon investments are growing

    • Wind: Capacity Growing at 20% a year

    • Solar: $69B a year investment by 2020

    • Biomass, Geothermal, Small Hydro: UK Use up 50% by 2010

    • Clean Fuels: market to grow 3x in 10 years

    • Clean Tech: 5th largest VC sector in US

    • Carbon Markets: $5B in 2005, 1B tons CO2e in pipeline

The climate group

The Climate Group

  • International group of proactive companies, states and cities

  • Demonstrating that cuts in greenhouse gases can be achieved while growing the bottom line

  • Works to accelerate international action on global warming with a new, strong focus on practical solutions

Mwh has made a climate change commitment

  • Common global mission, varied regional responses

  • Champions, pilots, review and learn, share globally

MWH has made a Climate Change Commitment

  • Engage and work with our clients

  • Carbon Footprint

  • Help to educate our local communities



  • There is an urgent need for legislators, utilities, regulators and industry to show leadership:

    • Risks associated with climate change

    • Exploring different water futures

  • Water supply and the uncertainty surrounding climate change is driving innovation in the global water industry

  • No time like the present



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