There is now long-established global scientific consensus that climate change will damage human and natural systems with lasting impacts. Earth is already responding more quickly than predicted to rapidly shifting, pervasive radiative forcing, and our future depends on our ability to adapt to and mitigate this response. Climate change-induced disruptions to human-environment interactions occur via impacts such as sea level rise, storm surge, tropical cyclones, and degradation of ecosystems and resources. Many of these impacts threaten energy infrastructure and electricity production in the Gulf Coast of the United States. Houston represents a geopolitically-relevant model city to better understand the impacts of climate change in low-lying coastal zones in the subtropics, where, globally, the highest development rates are occurring.
Research in this area spans forecasting climate change-related stressors on human systems (e.g. flooding impacts to infrastructure, drought impacts to agriculture) and geoengineering, as well as using past changes in human-environment interactions to contextualize the rates, amplitudes, and consequences of current and future climate change.