Commission adopts new guidelines on how to protect future infrastructure projects from climate change – Regional Policy

New Technical Guidance on Climate Change Protection for Infrastructure Projects – 571 European Cities Vulnerable to Climate and Weather-related Hazards

The guidelines will help integrate climate considerations into future infrastructure investments and projects, from buildings and network infrastructure to a wide range of built systems and assets. In this way, European institutional and private investors will be able to make informed decisions on which projects are considered compatible with the Paris Agreement and the EU’s climate goals.

The guidelines adopted today will help the EU to implement the European Green Pact, comply with the requirements of European climate law, and allocate EU funds to more green goals. The guidelines are aligned with a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by -55% of net emissions by 2030 and with a goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, following the principle of “energy efficiency above all” and the principle of “doing no significant harm” and meeting the legislative requirements of many EU funds, such as InvestEU, the European Connectivity Mechanism (ENM), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Cohesion Fund (CF) and the European for a Just Transition (FTJ).

The effects of climate change are already having an impact on long-lived assets and infrastructure, such as railways, bridges and power plants, and these impacts are set to intensify in the future. For example, the construction of buildings in areas that can be affected by sea level rise requires special attention; Similarly, the heat tolerance of railroads must be calculated based on the maximum design temperature, not historical values. It is therefore essential to clearly define – and therefore invest in – the infrastructure prepared for a climate-neutral, climate-resilient future.

Climate change immunization is a process that integrates climate change mitigation and adaptation measures into the development of infrastructure projects. The technical guidelines adopted today outline common principles and practices for identifying, categorizing and managing physical climate risks during the planning, development, implementation, and monitoring of infrastructure projects and programmes. The process is divided into two pillars (mitigation and adaptation) and two phases (detailed examination and analysis), and the documentation and verification part of climate change immunization is an essential component of the rationale for investment decisions.

Specifically, for infrastructure older than 2050, the guidelines state that final operation, maintenance and decommissioning of any project should be conducted in a climate-neutral manner, which may include economic considerations, such as material recycling or re-conversion. The resilience of new climate change infrastructure projects should be ensured through appropriate adaptation measures, based on an assessment of climate change risks.

More technical guidance on climate change vaccination for investments other than infrastructure is available in UNHCR Communication (2021/C 280-01).

context

The new Technical Guidelines on Climate Immunization for Infrastructure Projects have been developed by the Commission in close collaboration with potential implementing partners of InvestEU, as well as with the European Investment Bank Group.

The guidelines are primarily intended for project promoters and experts involved in the preparation of infrastructure projects. It can also be a useful reference for public authorities, implementing partners, investors, various stakeholders and other actors.

Building on lessons learned from major climate change immunization projects in 2014-2020, this guidance also integrates climate change immunization into the processes of project cycle management (PCM), environmental impact assessment (EIA), and strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and includes recommendations for members to strengthen countries Immunizations against climate change at the national level.

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