Building Industry Leaders to World Governments: It’s Time to Lead on Climate

Leading building industry groups commit to 1.5oC Paris Agreement target, challenge governments to do the same 


SANTA FE, N.M., Oct. 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — More than 60 of the largest and most influential international architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, planning, and construction firms, collectively responsible for over $300 billion in annual construction, along with two dozen organizations representing over one million building industry professionals worldwide, issued a Communiqué to government leaders headed to the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) challenging them to step up their emissions reduction targets for the built environment. The firms and organizations are signatories of the 1.5

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C COP26 Communiqué — an open letter to sovereign governments demonstrating the firms’ and organizations’ commitment to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5

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carbon budget and demanding governments do the same.  

According to a recent 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 — the threshold needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change — will be beyond reach. Many nations are still operating under insufficient emissions-reduction targets that put the planet in more serious danger. Recent analyses from the United Nations and Climate Action Tracker found that none of the world’s major economies — including the G20 —  have a climate plan that would meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement. 

Buildings are the largest source of the world’s carbon emissions globally and account for approximately 40% of total emissions. 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 to not exceeding the 1.5oC target.  

“Those responsible for planning, designing, and constructing the global built environment are leading and transforming our sector so that it is a major part of the solution to the climate crisis,” said Edward Mazria, founder and CEO of Architecture 2030. “It’s long past time for governments to accelerate the pace of emissions reductions so that we don’t exceed the 1.5oC target.” 

For example, in the United States, the building sector has not increased its energy consumption since 2005, even though the U.S. has added more than 50 billion square feet of buildings during that time. Today, carbon emissions in the entire U.S. building sector continue to decline each year and are currently down 30% from 2005 levels. 

Government leaders from around the world will be convening for climate negotiations at COP 26 October 31 through November 12 in Glasgow, Scotland. Leading up to the convening, Communiqué signatories aim to demonstrate their support and actions to eliminate carbon emissions from the built environment and embolden governments to do the same. 

“The AIA is committed to advocating for energy-efficient, resilient, and zero carbon buildings in our cities, suburbs, and rural communities. It is imperative that world leaders meeting in Glasgow fully commit to adopting aggressive building policies, incentives, and codes that meet the 1.5oC carbon budget. As our nation’s leaders set ambitious targets, architects are making them a reality,” said Peter Exley, President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).    

“The 60 member firms of the AIA Large Firm Roundtable have signed the Communiqué because we want to let governments know that our profession is committed to the mitigation of the adverse effects of climate change. Accordingly, our member firms have committed to design practices that embrace the principles of 1.5oC now,” said Griff Davenport, Chair of the AIA Large Firm Roundtable and CEO of DLR Group. 

“IFLA enthusiastically supports the 1.5oC COP26 Communiqué,” said Pamela Conrad, Vice Chair of the Climate Change Working Group of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA). “This is aligned with the recently launched IFLA Climate Action Commitment that represents 77 nations around the world and shows the steps landscape architects are taking as global citizens to limit planetary warming to 1.5oC.”    

The independent, non-profit organization Architecture 2030 spearheaded this unprecedented joint initiative from the world’s leading architectural, landscape architecture, engineering, planning, and construction leaders by inviting select firms and professional organizations to reach a collective commitment to decarbonize the built world by 2040, in line with the 1.5°C climate target. Signatories include (see full list below): 

For more statements from signatories about their commitments to meet the 1.5oC climate target and the actions they are taking, visit: cop26communique.org/media.  

COMMUNIQUÉ LANGUAGE 

We are organizations, firms, and sub-national governments responsible for planning, designing, constructing, and developing the built environment globally. 

We are taking specific actions that fully harness our capacity to affect significant carbon emissions reductions in order to retain a 67% or better probability of meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5ºC budget of 340-400 GTCO2; a 50-65% emissions reduction by 2030, and zero CO2 emissions by 2040. 

The built environment is the largest source of the world’s carbon emissions with buildings responsible for approximately 40%, and when accounting for the embodied carbon of building interiors, systems, and associated infrastructure, that percentage is substantially higher. Our professions and industries are transforming and taking significant action to mitigate and adapt to climate change. By showing what is possible, we are emboldening others to do the same. 

We call on all sovereign governments to ramp up their Nationally Determined Contributions, and 2030 emissions reduction targets, to limit planetary warming in line with the remaining global 1.5ºC carbon budget. 

1.5oC COP26 Communiqué Signatories: 

FIRMS 

ORGANIZATIONS 

ABOUT Architecture 2030: Architecture 2030 is a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization established in 2002 in response to the ongoing climate emergency. Our mission is to rapidly transform the built world from the major emitter of greenhouse gases to a central solution to the climate emergency. For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the leadership and designed the actions needed to achieve the CO2 emissions reductions for a high probability of limiting planetary warming to 1.5°C. 

 

Video – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1653274/COP26_Communique.mp4
 

Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1641130/COP26_logo_wpurple_Logo.jpg
 

 

 

 

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