Climate Critical Resources

Example of port protector model run for Kingston, Jamaica, showing elevations in meters and structure selections. Numbers represent elevation and bathymetry data points (meters). Red polygon = port polygon; Green polygon = start/end polygon, Dark blue = natural elevation (no structure needed), Yellow = T-Floodwall, Red = Caisson Breakwater, Light Blue = Rubblemound breakwater.

We present a method to forecast the resource demand for climate critical resources that aggregates local estimates of resource demand based on a minimum credible design and apply the method for construction adaptation projects with a particular focus on the cement demand for constructing defenses for the largest seaports. We find that, for this particular application, the method creates an estimate of the global resource demand and supports an assessment of the impact of this resource demand on the suitability of currently known adaptation methods and resource capacity. We also find that significantly better resource capacity data are needed to support the generation of credible forecasts of the demand for the climate critical human, equipment, and material resources required for construction and other adaptation projects.

Adaptation projects raise unique challenges because many similar projects will need to be done in many locations simultaneously. Such a global demand for resources is unprecedented and may affect the pricing or even the ability of private and public entities to carry out the projects necessary to sustain their businesses or infrastructure development. We find that existing methods to forecast resource demand and capacity do not consider this phenomenon of a global change affecting many localities and the resulting demand for resources in all those localities. Therefore, there is little basis to allocate funding for adaptation projects or to determine R&D priorities.

For published paper, see:

Becker, A., N.T.L. Chase, M. Fischer, B. Schwegler, and K. Mosher, A method to estimate climate-critical construction materials applied to seaport protection. Global Environmental Change, 2016. 40: p. 125-136.