The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report shows how significant a role the built environment sector can take in cutting carbon emissions.
The report published yesterday warns that climate change is “widespread, rapid, and intensifying”. It says that scientists are “observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system” and “many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion – such as continued sea-level rise – are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years”.
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at UKGBC, responded to the report saying it should be “a massive wake-up call for governments across the globe”.
Hirigoyen says it “reinforces the growing evidence base that too many commitments are being missed, and that current pledges must be scaled up and matched with plans to deliver urgent change”.
Hirigoyen added: “With 21-22 per cent of the UK’s total carbon emissions (including imported emissions) directly controlled by the built environment sector, it is clear that our sector has a significant role to play. Tackling this challenge will be tough, but it also represents a huge opportunity to deliver valuable green jobs and better, healthier places. Built environment businesses can, and must, lead the charge.
“As COP hosts, the UK Government must show clear leadership and embed ambitious climate action across all its flagship policies, from planning reform and tougher building regulations to home retrofit incentives and ‘levelling up’. Delays to key initiatives, such as the heat and buildings strategy, have led to considerable uncertainty in the industry. The sooner the direction of travel is made clear, the quicker the costs of new technologies will come down, which is vital for consumers.”
Matthew Fell, CBI chief policy director, said: “If anybody still had any doubts as to the scale of the climate crisis, this report must surely put those to bed. COP26 must be the trigger for more, urgent action from countries around the world. It requires joint efforts by governments, businesses and consumers.
“Committing to and achieving net zero is paramount and the UK must look to lead by example, establishing the policy and tax frameworks to make it possible. Businesses understand the vital role they must play and many are putting net zero plans in place. We need to see more of those commitments and action on the pledges made, as soon as possible.”