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Call for the built environment to lead the charge against climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a special report on the impact of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and warned that limiting global warming will require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities.

It states that global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

Responding to the IPCC report, the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has remarked that as buildings account for approximately 30 per cent of carbon emissions, the built environment will be a “vital catalyst for change in the wider economy”.

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC said: “This report from the IPCC is a wake-up call for governments and businesses across the globe.

“One of the goals of the international 2015 COP21 climate deal was to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. This latest IPCC report points to the urgency and scale of action required to achieve this, which should be keenly reviewed by every single board room. There is no doubt that business leaders need to make bold decisions today to transition to a low/no carbon economy that can sustain future generations.

“The construction and property industry in the UK is an economic juggernaut, and our buildings account for approximately 30 per cent of carbon emissions. It is also the industry with the most cost-effective means of reducing carbon emissions so it will be a vital catalyst for change in the wider economy.

“At UKGBC we know that built environment businesses can, and must, lead the charge against climate change. Our Advancing Net Zero programme is a collaborative initiative to drive the transition to a net zero carbon built environment by 2050 – which would be commensurate with the 1.5°C limit.

“Only by all working together to effect change at speed and at scale will we stand any chance of rising to the challenge.”







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