The world’s roads aren’t ready for a warmer planet


The historic heatwave that sweltered Western Europe this summer has caused transport chaos. Railroad tracks buckled, airport runways ruptured, and major roads buckled. On July 18, the busy A14 motorway in Cambridge, England, was closed after developing a bizarre crest which, while attracting skateboarders, would be disastrous for fast cars and their passengers.

The same thing happened to happen across America, Australia, China and Africa. With rising average temperatures and increasingly frequent and intense heat waves, infrastructure and especially roads are increasingly vulnerable to human-caused global warming. A 2017 study assessing the impacts of the climate crisis on critical infrastructure found that by 2080 heatwaves would account for around 92% of total hazard damage in Europe’s transport sector alone, largely partly because the roads were built for cooler times.

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