What are infrastructure transition pathways?
Transition pathways set a course toward shifting infrastructure development and service delivery to achieve decarbonisation and global climate targets in the push toward net zero and realising the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Why are infrastructure transition pathways important?
Infrastructure influences most of the SDGs and is responsible for 79% of total greenhouse gas emissions and 88% of adaptation costs. Significant and fast changes in infrastructure development and service delivery are needed. These changes can include shifts towards certain types of infrastructure assets and services or shifts away from other assets and methods for service delivery. Currently, there is limited awareness of what these changes (i.e. infrastructure transition pathways) should be. There is also a lack of transparency of current long-term infrastructure priorities for each of these changes.
There is an urgent need for clear links between national, long-term infrastructure plans and the climate goals and SDGs. G20 governments are incorporating infrastructure transition pathways into long-term infrastructure plans, with most governments focusing on the pathway of ‘substantially increasing the share of renewable energy’.
How many infrastructure transition pathways are there?
‘Infrastructure transition pathways’ can be identified in many ways. For this work, infrastructure transition pathways are qualitative statements that reflect the changes needed in infrastructure development and service delivery to achieve global climate and United Nations SDG targets. The transition pathways were based on those commonly observed across G20 economy infrastructure plans.
We've identified 15 transition pathways across categories including: increase the share of renewable energy, increase the share of low-emissions vehicles, increase technological carbon removal, replace coal in power generation with low carbon non-renewables, increase the operational efficiency of buildings, and reduce the carbon intensity of steel and cement production.
About this report and our work
The GI Hub prepared a report for the G20, examining what governments are doing to incorporate infrastructure transition pathways into their infrastructure plans and achieve more sustainable future infrastructure.
The objective of this work was to fill two information gaps:
- Identify the infrastructure transition pathways to achieve global climate and SDG targets.
- Gain access to data insights from infrastructure plans on long-term infrastructure priorities and their alignment with infrastructure transition pathways.
By filling these gaps, the report aimed to create greater transparency to support private sector investment in sustainable infrastructure and guide policymakers and practitioners as they develop their infrastructure strategies.
From the analysis we prepared for the G20, we distilled 15 broad actions – or transition pathways – that must be taken for infrastructure development and delivery to advance achievement of climate targets and SDGs. We are continuing to develop and release this work for use by governments and industry, while continuing to progress our research in consultation with stakeholders. You can see the work at Transition Pathways for Sustainable Infrastructure.