The Role of Codes, Standards, and Related Instruments in Facilitating Adaptation to Climate Change

  • Paul Steenhof
  • Erik Sparling
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 42)


Society has developed numerous mechanisms for mitigating risks associated with the potential failure or underperformance of built infrastructure. An important subset are the codes, standards, and related instruments (CSRI) that establish tenets of reasonable practice with respect to the planning, engineering, construction, and management of built infrastructure. After introducing CSRI as fundamental risk management tools for society, this chapter identifies some of the ways in which climate change could begin to undermine these same critical functions of CSRI in the future. It investigates how CSRI and the processes involved in their development must change in order to properly account for climate change, and thereby allow CSRI to play a proactive role in facilitating adaptation on the part of planners, engineers, builders, and managers of built infrastructure. The chapter concludes by offering a number of recommendations for future work in the area of climate change and CSRI. Canada is the region of focus for this chapter, but the issues discussed are relevant for developed nations generally, since all developed nations rely upon CSRI to help set levels of safety and performance in relation to built infrastructure.


Climate change Adaptation Codes and standards Risk CSRI Infrastructure Built infrastructure Risk management Weather Design values 


  1. American Society of Civil Engineers [ASCE] (2008) Report card for America’s infrastructure. Cited 2 Jul 2009
  2. Auld H (2008) Adaptation by design: the impact of changing climate on infrastructure. J Public Work Infrastruct 1(3):276–288Google Scholar
  3. Auld H, MacIver D (2004) Cities and communities: the changing climate and increasing vulnerability and infrastructure. In: Fenech A, MacIver D, Auld H et al (eds) Climate change: building the adaptive capacity. Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment Canada, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  4. Auld H, MacIver D (2006) Changing weather patterns, uncertainty and infrastructure risk: emerging adaptation requirements. In: Proceedings of Engineering Institute of Canada Climate Change Technology Conference, Ottawa, May 2006. Updated version as Occasional Paper 9, Adaptation and Impacts Research Division, Environment Canada, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  5. Auld H, Klaasen J, Comer N (2007) Weathering of building infrastructure and the changing climate: adaptation options. Adaptation and Impacts Research Division, Environment Canada, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  6. Boe JL, Hall A, Qu X (2009) September sea-ice cover in the Arctic Ocean projected to vanish by 2100. Nat Geosci 2(5):341–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bowker P (2002) Making properties more resistant to floods. Proc Inst Civ Eng Munic Eng 151(3):197–205Google Scholar
  8. Bruce J, Martin H, Colucci P et al (2003) Climate change impacts on boundary and transboundary water management – report submitted to Natural Resources Canada. Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program, Natural Resources Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  9. Canadian Standards Association [CSA Standards] (2007) Climate change and infrastructure engineering: moving towards a new curriculum. CSA Standards, OntarioGoogle Scholar
  10. Carter H, Rausch E (2006) Management in the fire service. National Fire Protection Association, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  11. Chang SE, McDaniels TL, Mikawoz J et al (2007) Infrastructure failure interdependencies in extreme events: power outage consequences in the 1998 Ice Storm. Nat Hazard 41(2):337–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. CSA (2010) Infrastructure in Permafrost: a guideline for climate change adaptation. CSA Standards, MississaugaGoogle Scholar
  13. CSA Standards (2008) Adapting Canada’s northern infrastructure to climate change: the role of codes and standards. CSA Standards, OntarioGoogle Scholar
  14. Denault C, Miller RJ, Lence BJ (2007) Assessment of possible impacts of climate change in an urban catchment. J Am Water Resour Assoc 42(3):685–697CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Environment Canada (2008) Ice storm. Government of Canada. Cited 25 Jun 2009
  16. Fowler HJ, Slankinsop S, Tebaldi C (2007) Linking climate change modelling to impact studies: recent advances in downscaling techniques for hydrologic modelling. Int J Climatol 27(12):1547–1578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gainham C, Davis G (2007) Wet weather woes – Hamilton’s storm event response. Influents – Official publication of the Water Environment Association of Ontario. Spring 2007(2):54–56. Cited 25 Jun 2009
  18. Grigg N (2003) Water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure management. CRC Press, FloridaGoogle Scholar
  19. Holubec I, Auld H, Fernandez S et al (2009) Climate (temperature) design criteria for permafrost regions under climate change. Environment Canada, Government of Canada, DownsviewGoogle Scholar
  20. Infrastructure Canada (2006) Adapting infrastructure to climate change in Canada’s cities and communities: a literature review. Government of Canada. Cited 25 Jun 2009
  21. Kharin VV, Zwiers FW (2000) Changes in the extremes in an ensemble of transient climate simulations with a coupled atmosphere-oceans GCM. J Clim 13(21):3760–3788CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kleindorfer PR, Kunreuther HC (1999) Challenges facing the insurance industry in managing catastrophic risks. In: Froot KA (ed) The financing of catastrophe risk. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  23. Laprise R (2008) Regional climate modelling. J Comput Phys 227(7):3641–3666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Liso KR (2006) Integrated approach to risk management of future climate change impacts. Build Res Inf 34(1):1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Livezey R, Vinnikov K, Timofeyeva M et al (2007) Estimation and extrapolation of climate normals and climatic trends. J Appl Meteorol Climatol 46(11):1759–1776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mailhot A, Duchesne S, Caya D et al (2007) Assessment of future change in intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) curves for southern Quebec using the Canadian regional climate model (CRCM). J Hydrol 347(1–2):197–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Maoh H, Kanaroglou P, Woudsma C (2008) Simulation model for assessing the impact of climate change on transportation and the economy in Canada. Transp Res Rec 2067:84–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mills E (2003) The insurance and risk management industries: new players in the delivery of energy-efficient and renewable energy products and services. Energy Policy 31(12):1257–1272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Myer M (2008) Design standards for U.S. transportation infrastructure: the implications of climate change – report submitted to Transportation Research Board. Cited 2 Jul 2009
  30. Nash J, Ehrenfeld J (1997) Codes of environmental management practice: assessing their potential as a tool for change. Annu Rev Energy Environ 22(1):487–535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Natural Resources Canada (2007) From impacts to adaptation: Canada in a changing climate 2007. Government of Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  32. Nelson FE, Anisimov OA (2002) Climate change and hazard zonation in the circum-Arctic permafrost regions. Nat Hazard 26(3):203–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ohmura A, Wild M (2002) Is the hydrological cycle accelerating? Science 298(5597):1345–1346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Policy Research Initiative (2009) Climate change adaptation in the Canadian energy sector. Government of Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  35. Prodanovic P, Solobodan S (2007) Development of rainfall intensity, duration frequency curves for the city of London under the changing climate – report for the city of London, Ontario, Canada. Cited 2 Jul 2009
  36. Sanchez-Silva M, Rosowsky DV (2008) Risk, reliability and sustainability in the developing world. Proc Inst Civ Eng Struct Build 161(4):189–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sandick D (2007) Basement flooding: lessons from Edmonton and Toronto. Risk Management, Dec 2007 edition:9–11Google Scholar
  38. Schiermeier Q (2006) Arctic stations need human touch. Nature 441:133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Smith SL, Burgess MM (2005) Recent trends from Canadian permafrost thermal monitoring network sites. Wiley, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  40. Steenhof PA, Gough WA (2008) The impact of tropical sea surface temperatures on various measures of Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. Theor Appl Climatol 92(3–4):249–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tighe SL, Smith J, Mills B (2008) Evaluating climate change impact an low-volume roads in southern Canada. Transp Res Rec 2053:9–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Torys LLP (2008) Legal liability as a driver of and barrier to climate change adaptation in infrastructure projects. Torys LLP, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  43. van Oldenborgh GJ, Drijfhout S, van Ulden A et al (2009) Western Europe is warming much faster than expected. Clim Past 5(1):1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zhang Y, Chen W, Riseborough D (2006) Temporal and spatial changes of permafrost in Canada since the end of the Little Ice Age. J Geophys Res 111(D22):14Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSA StandardsOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations