Government policy to cut embodied carbon emissions is a relatvely new feld. This research has investgated the policy landscape, both internatonally and here in Australia, to identfy what has been implemented to date. It is clear that policy has a key role to play, as does strong acton by industry, if we are to reach an emissions trajectory consistent with the Paris Agreement.
The signifcance of embodied carbon as a proporton of our carbon budget will contnue to grow as the transiton of the electricity sector contnues to build momentum. Operatonal emission reductons have over a decade’s head start, but there is opportunity to now implement informed policies with the support of industry and the beneft of internatonal examples. The constructon sector ecosystem is complex. So too are the industrial processes that produce big-ticket constructon materials like cement, steel and aluminium. Appreciatng this complexity is central to good policy development. It shows that system-wide change is needed to reach net-zero embodied carbon. Fortunately, many partcipants in the constructon and material supply industries are already cutng emissions to align with a net-zero future. Working with progressive industry members to co-develop government policy will contribute to meetng the required pace of change and help de-risk policy development.
The report recognises government as both a driver and enabler of change. Government can drive change through procurement policies that reward and require embodied carbon reductions through low emission construction materials and practices. Furthermore, government can enable change by supporting the development of required tools (such as taxonomy laws, inventories and calculators, and an independent carbon database), supporting skills development (for professions, trade, and researchers), and supporting the development of circular economy structures.
Research on the project was conducted by Presync, Climate-KIC Australia, and WWF-Australia. The work is funded by the Federal Government via the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and its Major Projects Implementation Team (MPIT) interjurisdictional program. Lead Authors are Hudson Worsley, Monica Richter, and Alex Nassar. You can view the entire report below: