After more than three decades of talk about the potential of building green, we’ve still failed to change the way we design and construct buildings so that the built environment stops being a dominant contributor to runaway climate change.
The Earth has already warmed about 1C since the 19th century and it’s on track to rise another degree. This second degree would push stable civilisation to the very brink. In its recent report, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for “urgent and unprecedented changes” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) so that we avoid reaching 2C. While 1C may sound incremental, the action required to stop it is not.
C40, an urban climate action advocacy organisation, was founded on the idea that cities are ideally positioned to stop the GHG juggernaut. And cities are starting to increase their formal policy commitments. In January, Vancouver joined other cities in declaring a state of climate emergency, a signal that urgent action is required.