Climate Change and Energy Supply and Use

Tom Wilbanks, Dan Bilello, David Schmalzer, and Mike Scott
Created: 9/23/2013 -


This technical report on “Climate Change and Energy Supply and Use” was prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in support of the U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA). Prepared on an accelerated schedule to fit time requirements for the NCA, it is a summary of the currently existing knowledge base on its topic, nested within a broader framing of issues and questions that need fur- ther attention in the longer run (also see the on-line version of the report, which includes figures in color:

The report arrives at a number of “assessment findings,” each associated with an evaluation of the level of consensus on that issue within the expert community, the vol- ume of evidence available to support that judgment, and the section of the report that provides an explanation for the finding.

GCRP, 2009, indicates that the US energy sector is large and complex, with impres- sive financial and management resources, capable of responding to major challenges. It is accustomed to strategy development and operation in the fact of uncertainties and risks, both environmental and political. No sector has better capabilities to respond to challenges posed by climate change impacts.

Current knowledge indicates that such challenges tend to focus on climate-change- related episodic disruptions of energy supply and demand related to extreme weather events at a regional scale, on exposures related to risks in especially vulnerable areas, and on implications of changes in temperature and precipitation patterns – extremes as well as averages – for supply and use systems that are sensitive to climate parameters.

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The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) coordinates and integrates federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society. The USGCRP began as a presidential initiative in 1989 and was mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (P.L.


National / Federal
Sector Addressed
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Infrastructure retrofitting and improvements
Governance and Policy
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Air temperature
Infrastructure damage
Storms or extreme weather events
United States