Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change on Physical Infrastructure. Thursday 12 March 2009. Presentations by Emeritus Professor Len Stevens AM FTSE And Mr Michael Nolan, Associate Director Sustainability & Climate Change, Maunsell Australia Pty Ltd.
Thursday 12 March 2009
Emeritus Professor Len Stevens AM FTSE
Mr Michael Nolan, Associate Director Sustainability & Climate Change, Maunsell Australia Pty Ltd
Len Stevens is Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of
Melbourne. He has wide experience in the theory and practice of Civil
Engineering with direct involvement with the design, construction and
rehabilitation of large infrastructure projects.
He has played a significant role in developing the suite of building
standards which are currently in use under the direction of the Building
Code of Australia and which will be key elements for the adaptation of
infrastructure to climate change impacts.
Em Professor Len Stevens AM FTSE, University of Melbourne
Assessment of Impacts of Climate Change on Australia’s
Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Review of major climate change features
Identification of critical infrastructure sectors
Outline of risk assessment methodology
Conclusions and Recommendations
Warming of 0.1 to 0.7°C is projected by 2020, rising to 1.1 to 6.4°C by 2100
Likelihood of global warming in 2100
consistent with the climate sensitivity,
carbon cycle uncertainties and a range
of emissions scenarios summarised in
IPCC (2007). The diagram shows the likelihood of exceeding a given level of
Note: Sea level rise
to 79 cm is projected
Transport: road, rail, air, sea
Energy: gas, electricity, oil
Mining: production and distribution
Built Environment: domestic, commercial, essential services, agricultural, coastal
Water: storage, distribution, domestic, irrigation, industrial, waste, drainage
Communication: fixed line, wireless
Loading and strength of built environment
Electrical powerdemand and generating capacity
Rainfall and drainage capacity
Sea level rise and protection
Demand and supply of water
Assessment methods based upon an internationally accepted probabilistic methodology - see AS/NZS 4360:2004 - by assessing:
Likelihood of a demand event, L,
Consequence of that event on infrastructure capacity, C,
Risk to physical and economic activity, R,
After which adaptation requirements, physical and economic, A, can be assessed.
ATSE Conclusions and Recommendations
Impacts on infrastructure
Most, but not all, sectors of Australia’s physical infrastructure are reasonably well placed to respond to possible climate change impacts via application of suitable adaptation strategies. Costs can be estimated for specified infrastructure.
Adaptation should, where possible, be integrated with normal maintenance and upgrade programs.
Most vulnerable sectors related to energy and water issues – often already at serious risk without climate change.
Major potential impacts on infrastructure often arise from combination of projected climatic events
In essential sectors, the implementation of effective adaptation strategies may require intervention by governments to ensure that planning is fully integrated.
Examples may include the generation and distribution of electrical energy, water storage and supply, or inundation of low lying coastal area developments.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) should have oversight responsibility for issues relating to the impact of climate change by establishing a national body, such as a “National Climate Change Adaptation Task Force (NCCAT)”
Produce Guidelines for national policy solutions for climate change adaptation
Identify and facilitate research needed to support the policy solutions
Under NCCAT guidance, relevant government authorities should:
Undertake comprehensive risk assessment for specific existing critical infrastructure facilities considered vulnerable to climate change
Implement comprehensive strategic planning controls for future specific installations potentially vulnerable to climate change
Michael is an environmental professional with fifteen years experience
managing sustainability and environmental change outcomes for business,
government and educational institutions. He has extensive experience in
sustainable infrastructure, energy, greenhouse and climate change
adaptation, water and behaviour change.
Michael led the climate change impacts to infrastructure in Australia for the
Garnaut Climate Change Review and project managed several climate
change impact, risk assessment and adaptation projects relating to water,
power, transport, buildings and communications infrastructure,
organisations and settlements.
Adapting Infrastructure to Climate Change Impacts