The climate activism nonprofit and more than 60 architecture and design firms are asking the public and private sectors to commit to 1.5 degree C Paris Agreement targets.
The following is a press release from Architecture 2030 and building industry signatories calling on other industry leaders and on governments to commit to meeting the 1.5°C Paris Agreement targets. Read their Communiqué here. Architecture 2030 founder Edward Mazria, FAIA, and president and chief operating officer Vincent Martinez, Hon. AIA, are regular contributors to ARCHITECT.
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°C COP26 Communiqué—an open letter to sovereign governments demonstrating the firms’ and organizations’ commitment to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5oC 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 1.5°C— 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 1.5°C 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 1.5°C 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.