Energy companies may shoulder a large portion of the blame for the warming planet – after all, they are responsible for around 40% of global emissions – but a new study shows that they will also suffer a great deal of the consequences as the climate changes. As floods, droughts and extreme weather become more commonplace, many energy plants will find that they are vulnerable, which could threaten energy supplies across the globe.

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Nuclear power plants, such as the Fukushima plant, have already proven to be more vulnerable to natural disasters than we expected. As droughts get worse, many plants will find that they don’t have enough water to cool the nuclear reactors. Other plants, including coal plants, are vulnerable to flooding, which could knock out entire electricity distribution networks. Without some careful planning, many areas could find themselves without energy as dramatic climate change starts to have an impact.

Related:  EPA Calls for Massive 30% Cut in Power Plant Emissions by 2030

The report, which was completed by the World Energy Council, urges energy companies to take a look at their systems in order to plan for the future. For instance, securing water supplies and building redundancy into power networks would go a long way towards protecting infrastructure. Companies could also benefit by expanding into multiple power sources like wind and solar, and by creating smarter power grids that are better at distributing power in an efficient way.

Unsurprisingly, there isn’t much evidence that power companies are getting the message. Fossil fuels still dominate the market, but globally, companies will need to spend hundreds of billions of dollars just to keep the existing systems running. Why not take some of that money and direct it into more sustainable directions, instead of doubling down on an archaic system that is only going to increase the very climate change that is threatening power infrastructure to begin with?

Via The Guardian

Lead image via Shutterstock, image via Roger Wollstadt