Building industry leaders to governments: It’s time to lead on climate

15 Oct 2021

2 min

Mario Cucinella Architects is among the 80+ largest and most influential architectural, engineering, and construction firms and professional organizations that issued the 1.5oC COP26 Communiqué – a challenge to sovereign world governments to step up their commitments to reducing carbon emissions from the built environment to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5oC carbon budget. 

In a future where global population growth will force us to continue to build massively to meet the demand for new homes, it is necessary to ask ourselves where will we find the resources to do so and the energy to maintain these buildings.

Buildings are in fact the largest source of the world’s carbon emissions globally and account for approximately 40% of total emissions, and when accounting for the embodied carbon of building interiors, systems and associated infrastructure, that percentage is substantially higher. Decarbonizing the built environment is therefore essential if we are not to exceed the 1.5oC target.  

According to a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), unless there are immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5oC will be beyond reach.

To meet climate agreements, a paradigm shift in the world of design and architecture is necessary, which is only possible by triggering a true re-evolution.

Sustainability requires continuous research to ensure that buildings become energy producers, with zero carbon emissions and without resorting to fossil fuels or the consumption of limited natural resources. To achieve this we try to focus on many inputs, from pre-carbon traditional knowledge, when buildings made the best use of available resources, to new technology, to create buildings that can reduce their carbon footprint, aligned with international objectives and with a positive impact on society.

The building industry is leading on climate; it’s time for governments to do the same. The time for action is now. As nations meet at COP26, they have the opportunity to commit to higher emissions reductions goals that align with the 1.50C target.

Solutions from the design sector must go beyond esthetic but instead combines energy efficiency with empathy to the spirit of people and places, posing a promise to our collective future. The window of opportunity to take decisive action to limit global warming and avoid the worst impacts of climate change is closing.

Leading building industry groups from around the world are committing to the Paris Agreement’s 1.5oC target, It is our responsibility to challenge governments to do the same through the 1.5oC COP26 Communiqué, to leverage collective intelligence and to pass the knowledge to new generations of professionals committed to the environmental cause.

The groups include more than 60 large and influential international architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, planning and construction firms, collectively responsible for more than $300 billion in annual construction, along with two dozen organizations representing more than one million building industry professionals worldwide.

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