If confirmed as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson will face a broad array of challenges. One may be to lend the administration consistency, while closing at least some of the deals that President-elect Trump has promised.
Policymakers generally agree on the need to rebuild America's infrastructure. But the country is far behind in this area. Why? Transportation projects take time and money. And it's hard to predict how a project will affect its surroundings.
The Arctic is more accessible than it once was, but it's still a formidable place to travel. An emergency involving a cruise ship or a downed plane could stress the search-and-rescue system. But modest investments and planning measures can make a big difference.
Until recently, infrastructure engineers could use data on past weather to predict future climate. But this is no longer an option. More and more, engineers must consider the effects of climate change. Failure to do so would threaten public safety.
The rental affordability crisis was caused by declining incomes since 2000, the slowing of new construction, households getting smaller, and the seven million foreclosures during the recession. It is a national problem in need of a national solution.
For Flint to recover from this latest disaster, it will be critical for the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to invest in and implement strategies to build on existing community resilience and strengthen Flint's ability to bounce back.
As sea levels rise and extreme weather events become more common, evacuation routes in coastal areas will become more important. Transportation engineers need to be more proactive as they try to anticipate damage to pavement, bridges, and culverts.
Without the crude oil export ban, producers could sell their product abroad without discounting it, and the Gulf Coast refineries could specialize in the heavier oil for which they are optimized. On the whole, the global refining industry would likely enjoy efficiency gains.
The framework for the Paris negotiations is in sync with what science tells us about how to make effective public policy decisions. This alone makes them historic and may provide a model for both local and global action on more than climate alone.