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New US, European guidelines embed sustainability

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The Biden administration in the US has released updated guidance for renewable energy and infrastructure projects requiring a greater consideration of sustainability in project design.

Called Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change, the guidelines are designed to help Federal agencies “better assess and disclose climate impacts as they conduct environmental reviews.”

The White House said the aim was to “deliver more certainty and efficiency” in the permitting process and advanced the President’s commitment to “restore science” in Federal decision making as the world responded to the climate challenge by building resilience infrastructure.

Issued through the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the updated guidance also improves transparency in the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions including an understanding of the appropriate use of the “social cost” of greenhouse gases in projects.

Key guidelines include recommendations include the integration of climate change considerations into early state planning of projects, and that agencies quantify the expected greenhouse gas emissions for the expected lifetime of projects based on available data.

There are also recommendations to use these projected emissions assessments to understand potential climate change impacts from projects, and to use the “best available information and science” in their assessments.

“Disclosing and reducing emissions will ensure we’re building sustainable, resilient infrastructure for the 21st century and beyond,” said CEQ chair Brenda Mallory.

“These updated guidelines will provide greater certainty and predictability for green infrastructure projects, help grow our clean energy economy, and help fulfill President Biden’s climate and infrastructure goals.”

The guidelines come as the US embarks on the Biden administration’s US$3 trillion infrastructure plan, which will see a massive investment in roads, bridges, rail and water infrastructure.  

The US move also times in with separate guidelines in Europe from peak football administration body UEFA, for professional football clubs to factor sustainability in the design of new football stadiums.

The guidelines cover key subjects such as the purpose, location, design, conception and construction, pitch and landscaping of stadiums. They address the use of embedded technology in stadium infrastructure and pitch quality, the management of event related waste, and health and safety issues.

Endorsed by the European Commission, the guidelines will help national associations, leagues, clubs, stadium and infrastructure managers, local authorities and other football stakeholders to embed ESG practices in the “football infrastructure lifecycle” by 2030.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said the “best preparation for tomorrow is doing our best today.”

“These guidelines offer many innovative solutions and principles, whether you are planning to build new facilities or refurbish existing ones,” he said.

“If football comes together and bundles its power to drive sustainable change, it will have a powerful and long lasting impact.”

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