The latest IPCC assessment report, AR6, concludes that temperatures will continue to rise until at least 2050 under all emissions scenarios. Rising temperature means extreme weather events like heavy rainfall, flooding, stronger typhoons and hurricanes, droughts, and heat waves will become more frequent and intense.
With this warning from the IPCC, what is the construction industry doing to prepare for these events?
Although climate change effects vary across the globe, the poor and developing countries are most vulnerable and suffer the most from its impacts because they have low capacity and resources to respond to and withstand disasters. Recovery in these countries is also prolonged.
The Global Infrastructure Hub says there is a US$15 trillion shortfall in infrastructure by 2040 worldwide, and 75% of the infrastructure needed will still be built, most of it in developing countries. This data shows that climate change presents resilience opportunities in developing countries when building their infrastructure.
The article from New Civil Engineering says that infrastructure’s long life of around 50 years or more means that high upfront cost, understanding physical climate risks (PCRs), and embedding resilience in planning and construction is vital for the asset to meet expected levels of service, as well as its social outcomes (enhance the connectivity of people, goods, and services), and financial return.
As climate change hazards increase, is there a tool that infrastructure owners and managers use to evaluate infrastructure resilience against climate risks?
According to the article, there has not been a standard approach to appraising infrastructure against climate threats until now with the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment’s (CCRI) Physical Climate Risk Assessment Methodology. CCRI claims that their market-first methodology launched this July “pulls together best practices from asset management, engineering, finance, and climate resilience sectors, providing infrastructure asset developers, investors, and regulators with a robust step-by-step process that quantifies the impact of PCRs on asset performance.”
Using the methodology will “allow asset managers and owners to make informed decisions – from asset design and through the whole life cycle of the project – on how best to adapt new and existing infrastructure assets to reduce the material impacts of extreme weather events”, the article says.
Until now, not enough attention has been given to the long-term cost of destruction, nor the financial rewards gained when asset owners invest in resilience at the start, because of the reduced cost of adaptation needed at a later stage of an asset’s life.
The article notes that applying the CCRI methodology to five real-world infrastructures, including a wind farm in East Asia and a hydropower plant in Africa, resulted in a “resilience dividend.”
Investing in resilience offers asset managers and owners medium- to long-term benefits as assets continue to provide an expected level of service while protecting vulnerable communities from climate change impacts.