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New report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


GABC article


Nora Steurer, Global ABC

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Global Warming of 1.5 °C - Summary for Policy Makers

This week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report on the need to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, highlighting the impacts if we miss this scenario even by half a degree Celsius.

The IPCC report makes clear that buildings and construction is an essential action area for keeping humanity on a 1.5°C pathway, calling for ‘rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industry’ and stating that reducing energy demand is a key measure. According to the report, transforming the buildings and construction sector is key for both climate change mitigation, reducing the sources of global warming (GHGs) as well as adaptation, ensuring humanity is prepared for climate change impacts. The report outlines the high energy efficiency scenario with high emission reduction before 2030 including in buildings and construction as the more sustainable one with the least trade-offs.

Buildings and construction account for nearly 40 per cent of energy-related CO2 emissions. Policy guidance, building codes, and private sector action for energy efficiency are essential for mitigating climate change. On the adaptation side, disaster risk reduction and infrastructure improvements are key. Even in the 1.5°C scenario by 2040, 50 million people in countries such as Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, the United States, and Vietnam will be exposed to increased coastal flooding, highlighting that targeted infrastructure improvements and safety measures can’t come soon enough. 

The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC) contributes to several recommendations outlined. Together, GlobalABC members, including national and local governments, private sector, and civil society, strengthen capacities and provide an enabling environment for climate action in the buildings and construction sector: We work on promoting conducive policy frameworks, science-based targets aligned with the Paris agreement goals for the private sector, financial incentives, and common data as analytical basis.

The report concludes that global initiatives like the GlobalABC are essential for mobilizing actors to address climate change, stating that ‘International cooperation is a critical enabler for developing countries and vulnerable regions’ and that ‘Partnerships involving non-state public and private actors, institutional investors, the banking system, civil society and scientific institutions would facilitate actions and responses consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.’

The GlobalABC Global Roadmap outlines a path for the buildings and construction sector to become a key climate solution. The GlobalABC’s flagship report, the Global Status Report 2017, provides a snapshot where the buildings and construction sector stands compared to where it needs to go: Total floor area is expected to double by 2060 with more than half constructed in the next 20 years, the majority of which in countries without mandatory building codes. This time window is our sweet spot for united action. The Global Status Report 2018, to be launched this December, will highlight exemplary action to tackle these challenges while calling for increasing ambition beyond current levels and detailing pathways to a sustainable buildings and construction sector helping countries globally to meet the 1.5°C goal.

We have an opportunity to take action that will lead to more jobs, greater prosperity, and better lives for all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilience. We must harness the buildings and construction sector’s potential as driver towards global change. Will you help us?

Join the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction as an active member and be a champion for green building.

Download the IPCC’s full report to learn the strategies for staying on a 1.5°C course and read the Global Status Report 2017 to discover how sector-specific intervention accelerates progress. The Global Status Report 2017 was recently quoted in a financial times article on greener buildings.

Engage political, business, and civic leaders in being champions for green buildings too!

Look out for the Global Status Report 2018 in December.

Thank you for your continued action in addressing one of the most complex challenges the world faces.

Kind regards,

Nora Steurer for the GlobalABC Secretariat

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