Working Towards Net Zero Emissions – Role Of Geo-Professionals

PKW Geosolutions Pty Ltd and Coffey Services Australia Pty Ltd

The global movement in climate change protection is to work towards Net Zero Emissions by around 2050. Net zero emissions refers to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero, or as close to zero as possible and offsetting any remaining emissions (e.g. clean energy projects).

This paper outlines some of the steps geo-professionals should take to understand the project Sustainability and Resilience requirements, and areas where we can influence design and construction to meet or exceed those requirements. Sustainability, in relation to geotechnical and geo-environmental work, is an integrated process that balances the social, environmental and financial aspects of planning, design and construction, while managing risk, safety, quality and durability to acceptable standards. Resilience is the ability to cope with uncertain yet extreme events and climate change that may occur over the life cycle of the infrastructure, and to allow expeditious recovery and reconstitution of critical services with minimum impact to public safety and health, the economy, and national security. Geo-professionals are at the forefront of being able to contribute towards sustainable and resilient infrastructure in areas ranging from innovative investigation techniques, use of alternative sustainable resources, reuse of existing foundations, minimising waste, and efficient designs to minimise construction time and materials. Some examples are given in this paper to illustrate where geotechnical designs have contributed to achieving sustainable outcomes.