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Transport contributes around 11% of greenhouse gas emissions and the sector is also vulnerable to climate change. High temperatures can melt roads and distort rail lines while sea-level rise can disrupt coastal transport infrasructure. At the community level, cities and precincts can help mitigate climate change and adapt to changes by promoting active lifestyles with walking and bicyling replacing powered transport for short-distance travel and making cities more compact. Significant cost and health benefits can accrue from reduction of diseases associated with low physical activity and air pollution can also be mitigated. Increased provision and electrification of public transport based on renewable energy can decarbonise these services. The electification of sea and air transport present challenges but significant development work is underway with expected early availability of electrically powered short-haul aircraft. Phase-out of internal combustion engine cars and other vehicles is scheduled in several countries as battery-electric and hydrogen cars, buses and heavy transport vehicles emerge. Governments can help the transition with a range of policy initiatives.
Without progress on mitigation, the costs of adaptation to climate change will become prohibitive. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates the cost of adaptation in the water sector alone could exceed USD 50 billion/annum as droughts become more intense and frequent as well as causing more severe rainstorms, flooding and cyclones, and increasing water scarcity in cities. Climate change also risks melting glaciers and snow, upon which over 2 billion people depend for part of their water. Many urban water systems have been built without adequately factoring in the risks of climate change. These risks are already impacting cities: extreme droughts, or sewer systems overwhelmed by storms, sending raw sewage into streets, rivers and drinking water. Declining water availability risks higher energy and carbon intensity of water. This chapter gives a number of climate change mitigation strategies that also yield significant climate adaptation co-benefits and explores how pursuing these strategies can help improve sustainable development goals of improved productivity, public health, new jobs in water/energy efficiency functions and better social equity outcomes.
This chapter outlines the case for the global green building movement to embrace integrated ‘climate-smart’ green building design, construction and operation, which optimises new and existing buildings to achieve both mitigation and adaptation goals synergistically and cost-effectively. The climate-smart building agenda is a high priority for this sector because it can help improve the well-being, productivity and health of occupants, and provide other social equity benefits, thus helping, simultaneously, to achieve other UN Sustainable Development Goals. Focus extends to precincts, the building blocks of cities, interfacing Building and Precinct Information Modelling. Overview is provided of leading sustainability assessment and rating tools for design of buildings and precincts. The chapter identifies key stakeholders and decision makers, and how each can best play their part to enable needed changes in this sector to achieve a net zero-carbon resilient future. It examines the role of governments in addressing major market and informational failures and what policies are needed to underpin efforts by all these key actors to achieve decarbonisation of the built environment sector.
Industry is a major contributor to climate change. Many industrial sites, supply chains and customers are vulnerable to climate change and policy and consumer responses to climate change. Profits from industrial production depend on consumer demand, and how products are provided. Powerful forces such as digitalisation, dematerialisation, decentralisation, electrification, efficiency improvement and circular economies influence production and emissions Industrial firms face pressure from regulators, investors and customers. However, there is enormous potential to capture multiple benefits through aggressive, innovative decarbonisation strategies that target growth markets and involve cooperation along supply chains. Economic productivity and business competitiveness improvement can cut business costs and reduce extreme weather risk exposure, whilst positioning manufacturing companies for fast-growing markets in low-carbon resilient products and services. The chapter overviews policies national and subnational government policymakers can consider to support transition to a zero-carbon resilient industrial sector.
Human activities in forests contribute more than one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Forests face serious risks from climate change due to more intense and frequent mega-fires, drought and loss of ecosystem resilience resulting from biodiversity loss, which in turn impact the provision of ecosystem services. Priorities for mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change are: avoiding emissions by protecting carbon stocks in natural ecosystems; sequestering carbon through restoration of degraded ecosystems; and reducing emissions through transferring wood production to plantations on existing cleared land, improving efficiency of wood processing, reducing waste, producing higher value wood products with longer lifetimes, substituting emissions-intensive building materials with wood, and recycling. Many co-benefits arise from forest management strategies for mitigation through protection and restoration. Effective governance and policy are critical to supporting and incentivising these mitigation and adaptation strategies to invest in restoration of native forests and development of plantation forests. Alternative policy development frameworks are discussed.
The Introduction highlights the opportunities for a healthier and wealthier society following a transition to a low-carbon economy but also notes the serious consequences of inaction. It outlines the aim of the book to help policy-makers with practical guidance and summarises the various sections of the book including: the technologies available, economic projections for a low-carbon Australian economy and comparisons with two emerging giants – Indonesia and India, the sectoral analysis encompassing cities and their precincts, industry and manufacturing, tranportation and regional environments, land use, forestry and agriculture.
The transition to a low-carbon economy will increase mineral commodity demands by up to tenfold by 2050. Improving the quality of lives in developing countries will further increase resource demands. Mineral ores are critical for manufacturing low-carbon technologies. The projected increase in demand provides a major business opportunity, in turn providing a driver for the required investment to move to low-carbon mining, processing and recycling. To improve efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of mining and metals recycling, the industry can take advantage of solar photovoltaics, wind and batteries, and renewable energy power purchase agreements, and reduce flaring, venting and fugitive emissions. Adaptation to cope with extreme weather events is critical to ensure materials can be delivered to low-carbon technology producers. Reducing exposure to climate risks through an integrated adaptation–mitigation approach lessens operational, maintenance and insurance costs. This chapter reviews tools to help the sector simultaneously achieve both climate mitigation and adaptation cost-effectively.