New issues paper examines infrastructure's role in net zero emissions

Infrastructure will play a critical role in supporting Australia’s transition to net zero emissions according to a new paper released in partnership by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA), ClimateWorks Australia and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC).

Infrastructure contributes around 70 per cent of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Issues Paper: Reshaping Infrastructure for a net zero emissions future.

Infrastructure assets built today will still be operating in 2050 when countries like Australia are expected to reach net zero emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement. Despite this, emissions reductions in line with a net zero emissions future are not effectively prioritised in infrastructure planning, design, procurement and operations across sectors, according to the report.

The purpose of the Issues Paper is to progress a new conversation to better understand the challenges and opportunities in reshaping transport, energy, water, communications and waste infrastructure for a net zero emissions world.

Infrastructure bodies, governments, professional and industry associations, investors, designers, builders and operators have a shared responsibility to support the transition to net zero emissions within their own scope of influence, and collaborate with the broader sector to deliver solutions.

The paper concludes that emissions reduction strategies need to be coordinated with parallel efforts to build infrastructure that is resilient to the impacts of forecast climate change.

It finds that infrastructure unprepared for a net zero emissions future risks becoming ‘stranded’ due to significant and unanticipated losses of value and faces restricted pools of financing. On the other hand, there are growth opportunities available for infrastructure assets that are prepared for, and enable, the transition to a net zero emissions Australia.

The full report is available here.

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