Rethinking infrastructure will be critical in the transition to a net zero emissions future, according to a new report.
The issues paper found that infrastructure contributes to around 70 percent of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.
The paper was published by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA), in partnership with ClimateWorks Australia and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC).
Ainsley Simpson, CEO of ISCA, said that infrastructure is facing pressure from both the public and private sector to prepare for the 2050 emissions targets that state and federal governments have committed to.
“Most infrastructure built today will still be operating in 2050. By this point, all Australian states and territories are aiming to be at net zero emissions,” she said.
“In addition to state and territory commitments, private investors are increasingly aligning their portfolios with net zero emissions.”
Infrastructure influences 15 per cent of Australia’s emissions directly and 55 per cent indirectly, according to ClimateWorks Australia.
Senior project manager Mr. Michael Li said that direct emissions occur across the life-cycle including in procurement, construction, operations and decommissioning — but the majority of are associated with the end use of assets and the activities they enable.
“For example, providing public transport infrastructure close to population centres can reduce local road transport emissions,” he said.
ISCA, ClimateWorks and ASBEC say they will be engaging directly with stakeholders to build consensus on the role of infrastructure in curbing Australia’s emissions to achieve net zero.
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