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Policy Statement 488 - Greenhouse Gases

ASCE Policy Statement                                                                                                      488

  

GREENHOUSE GASES 

 

Approved by the Energy, Environment and Water Policy Committeeon March 22, 2012
Approved by the Transportation Policy Committee on March 22, 2012
Approved by the Committee on Sustainability on March 12, 2012
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 4, 2012
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 20, 2012

 

 

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the following public and private sector strategies and efforts to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from existing and future infrastructure systems:

  • Establishing sustainable, long-term infrastructure development and maintenance plans at federal, state and local levels that promotes reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and timely adaptation to the effects of climate change, while maintaining or enhancing natural, economic, and social resources;
  • Establishing clear and reasonable targets and time frames for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced by infrastructure systems over their entire life cycles by making cost-effective use of existing technologies.  These improvements should cover all sectors, and include both stationary and mobile systems and emission sources;
  • Researching and implementing new technologies and materials to further improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Encouraging the use of lower greenhouse gas emitting energy-generating sources such as nuclear, hydropower, wind and solar;
  • Incorporating additional incentives for the short term development and implementation of high efficiency and low or zero greenhouse gas emitting technologies and cost-effective carbon capture and storage of emissions from large stationary sources that can’t easily be displaced;
  • Stimulating private investment in greenhouse gas reducing technologies by establishing a market value for greenhouse gas emissions over the long term;
  • Encouraging the use of all tools, including financial mechanisms, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • Encouraging actions by other countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Exploring the utilization of natural systems (e.g., forests, oceans, and subsurface void spaces) as greenhouse gas (carbon) sinks via sequestration as well as developing other greenhouse gas mitigation technologies (e.g., carbon dioxide capture and conversion through phase shift).


Issue

If current trends continue, by the end of this century atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations could be twice what they were at the beginning of the industrial revolution.  These increased concentrations could contribute to climate change, including severe precipitation events, increases in global average temperatures, droughts (and associated wildfires), floods, and rising sea levels.  With time, these changes could become more pronounced with attendant weather, disease, and national/global economic disruptions.  Efforts to reduce the rate of greenhouse gas emissions are desired where possible.
 

Rationale

Civil engineers are integral to the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and renewal of infrastructure systems.  Improvements in the design, construction, and maintenance of our infrastructure systems can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions during their construction and life cycle.

 

ASCE Policy Statement 488 
First Approved in 2001