|Title||Planning for Climate Change Impacts at U.S. Ports, White Paper.|
|Year of Publication||2008|
|Institution||United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)|
Over the coming decades, climate change is likely to cause sea levels to rise, lake levels to drop, more frequent and severe storms, and increases in extreme high temperatures. These effects can have mild to severe impacts on port infrastructure and operations, depending on their geographical setting and design. Ports are critical to the trade and transportation networks of the United States. Specifically, ports handle 78% of all U.S. foreign trade by weight and 44% by value. The United States' ports also represent billions of dollars in capital improvements and new investments. While the risk that climate change poses to ports is unclear, what is clear is that ports need to better understand climate change, how it may impact them, and what they can do to ensure reliable services for their customers.
The purpose of this paper is to help raise awareness of the effects of climate change, so that ports can work with government, industry and communities to make more informed adaptation decisions. To date, port authorities have more likely addressed climate change in the context of reducing the "carbon footprint" of freight transportation. Commendably, port authorities are increasingly working with their business partners to reduce the carbon and other harmful emissions from marine vessels, cargo handling equipment, trucks, and trains. However, most ports do not appear to be thinking about, let alone actively preparing to address, the effects of climate change.