Global Partnership Positions ASCE to Lead Climate Change Mitigation Effort

December 11, 2019
Gregor Robertson, former Vancouver Mayor and now ambassador for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, signs his support to the new International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure, during ASCE’s 2019 International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure. PHOTO: Jason Dixson Photography

ASCE has announced a new partnership with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy as part of the recently launched International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure.

The collaboration, announced this week at the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP 25, aims to advance practical solutions to adapt infrastructure to a changing climate, close the resilience investment gap and break down barriers to action across the globe.

“Our climate is changing before our eyes and poses a challenge to every country around the world,” said ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith.

“Addressing the impacts of climate change is going to require a holistic and cross-jurisdictional approach. Civil engineers are uniquely positioned to provide the technical expertise needed to make sustainable infrastructure projects a reality around the world,” Smith said.

Over the next 50 years, the global population will face unprecedented challenges – from rising seas to more frequent extreme weather events – happening against a backdrop of significant societal changes and advances in technology. With these global trends already posing well-documented challenges, ASCE and the Global Covenant of Mayors signed an agreement to advance a coalition focused on the following actions:

• Identify, prioritize and better understand the gaps and barriers for the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of sustainable and resilient infrastructure

• Cultivate and unlock the full potential of untapped partnerships and investments to reduce the effects of extreme weather events, create sustainable and resilient infrastructure and enable better decision-making and outcomes

• Identify and outline practical plans of action and resources for implementing strategies that will achieve realistic short-term goals and have measurable, long-term effects

The Global Covenant of Mayors is the largest alliance for city climate leadership in the world, uniting a global coalition of more than 10,000 cities and local governments.

The new International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure’s 2020 activities will include:

• Recruiting additional partners that are leaders in the infrastructure resilience field

• Sharing knowledge and training on global best key practices

• Connecting city leaders with engineering leaders and professionals

• Leveraging tools, standards, systems and data to measure and enhance sustainability and resilience

• Working to enable critical financing and technical assistance needed to address infrastructure funding gaps for improving sustainability and resilience

Through the development and facilitation of the recent global leadership summit that led to this collaborative agreement, I am proud to have played a part in bringing the Global Covenant and ASCE together in a way that will serve currently vulnerable urban dwellers and infrastructure across the globe,” said Tom Lewis, ASCE’s chair for the November 2019 Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure Leadership Summit and a sector president from global engineering firm WSP.

“There is no single organization that can tackle the scale of the climate emergency and infrastructure resilience challenges alone – which is why we need innovative alliances like this one to leverage the throw weight of existing organizations and lead the way.”

2 Comments
  • Processes for improvements to adapt to the effects of climate change need to begin as soon as possible. This will be needed along coastlines where environmental issues need to be considered. This step will take along time and has to be started so that adequate adaptations are in place.

  • I am not onboard with the Climate Change hysteria. There has been much fraudulent data reported. Even if the climate is changing, there is so little data on past climate that I am not convinced that it isn’t a natural cycle. If a cycle, the effect of man’s activities is wrongly blamed. Sacrifices in reducing carbon footprints or measures to eliminate fossil fuels may have little effect and not worth the pain.

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