Climate-Smart Infrastructure – Smart Climate Adaptation Investment?

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climate-smart infrastructure and flooding in Asia

Ensuring New Infrastructure is Climate-smart” by James Rydge, Michael Jacobs, and Ilmi Granoff is a series of a working paper that the Global Commission on the Economy published.

The bill is steep. It is an investment of US $90 trillion if global growth needs to be achieved in relation to building climate-smart infrastructure. A good chunk of this investment is needed in developing countries, the paper suggests.

According to the paper, investment targets should be on the integration of climate change risks to infrastructure planning and policies. Particularly, improving the resilience of infrastrastructure against the impacts of climate change, while on the other hand, folding investments in activities and industries that rely on carbon as fuel. The benefits of doing these are obvious, a cleaner environment and a reduction of GHG emission.

The paper mentions that several institutions are already taking steps to stop investing in carbon-fueled industries however, there is still much work to be done. Financial institutions like banks and private investors need to do so as well. It recommends that members of the G20 implement the integration of climate change to their national policies and plans.

The G20 or Group of Twenty is the 20 international fora for the governments and central bank and governors from 19 countries and the European Union. They account for 90 per cent of the gross world product, 80 per cent of the world trade, and two-thirds of the population.

Member countries of the G20 consist of the United States of America, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, India, South Africa, China, Japan, South Korea, France, United Kingdom, among others.

In short, they are the main players and a single group that when united can influence the direction of the world’s economy and its climate.

In the past, infrastructure and climate policies are treated separately. Recently, more attention is given to climate change and we are seeing it being integrated with policy-making and infrastructure planning.

And this is what climate-smart infrastructure is about. These are infrastructures designed not only to produce less carbon but are also less-carbon dependent. Steps that are taken to keep the Paris Agreement, a promise to maintain if not reduce a global temperature rise below 2 degrees above the pre-industrial levels.

Climate-smart infrastructures are those that use more renewable energy, urban areas and transport systems designed to encourage the use of public transport rather than dependence on individual transport, according to the paper.

If the global community is aiming to design or construct climate-smart infrastructures, then this is an exciting opportunity for international communities, private and public sectors, national and local governments to come together to share their best practices in integrating climate change into infrastructure.

For more information on climate-smart infrastructures read the reference below and click on the link:

Rydge, J., Jacobs, M. and Granoff, I., 2015. Ensuring New Infrastructure is Climate-Smart. Contributing paper for Seizing the Global Opportunity: Partnerships for Better Growth and a Better Climate. New Climate Economy, London and Washington, DC. Available at:

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