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Counting the Cost of Carbon

28th July, 2010
Low Carbon is the only way to go, say the Institute of Civil Engineers. We need to build this into our infrastructure and planning for generations to come, or face an uncertain future...

Counting the cost of carbon  - how the infrastructure must change in the South West 

The UK has no choice but to move towards a low carbon economy if we want to avert climate change says the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

Following the launch of the national report, Barry Griffiths, Regional Director of ICE South West said: “ The scientific community informs us that reducing carbon emissions is a key factor in the fight against climate change. The government needs to turn rhetoric into action through making low-carbon decision-making a cornerstone of policy.”

In its latest State of the Nation commentary, the Institution of Civil Engineers has turned its attention to the need for a “Low Carbon Infrastructure”. ICE wants to see carbon reduction become as much a decision-making factor in new projects as funding and environmental impact.

Mr Griffiths continued: “We have some tough but necessary decisions ahead of us. We must look at the carbon picture as a whole - from the introduction of new low-carbon technologies in transport and power supply, to home and remote working and video-conferencing. We need to radically change our behaviour.

“Some of these choices could prove unpopular so it is crucial that the public understands the need for the introduction of a carbon tax or road charges and water-metering. However to balance these measures, investment into low-carbon public transport and smart meters is also vital.

“The government must take a long-term view of new technologies, investing in those that are possibly perceived to be costly as well as currently commercially viable. It’s not simply an economic argument any more.”

Looking at the nation’s infrastructure in terms of carbon reduction is a challenge that the engineering profession is uniquely positioned to meet. Engineers are involved in every stage of procurement and management – designing, constructing and operating the systems that maintain our energy, water, waste and transport networks.

ICE’s annual State of the Nation reports – Energy, Transport and Critical Infrastructure papers have already been published this year – are hugely influential and seen as indicators to future national policy.