So what was / is Climate Week Paris and how relevant to the built environment?

You couldn’t have missed the #CWParis hashtag and tweets from the Business Climate Summit in twitter streams over the past few days. The Climate Week Paris business meeting hosted by The Climate Group was scheduled six months before Paris hosts the UN conference where almost 200 countries are set to seal a (yet another) global climate change pact.

Key events included a Business & Climate Summit and Climate Finance Day, with world’s leading companies and policymakers brought together to demonstrate that low carbon makes good business, and good environmental sense

There were calls from many company executives at Paris urging governments to introduce more carbon pricing systems, such as a carbon tax or emissions trading schemes.

Relevance to built environment

With the Built Environment contributing the (rule of thumb) 40% of Carbon emissions, and a huge influence on business operation the sector had a presence through advocacy organisations and businesses with large built environment assets, but from reports seen and feeds followed, there was a very low presence from built environment providers – if any!

A high level session on transition to a ‘Low Carbon Built Environment’ (with a panel led by Christiana Figueres @CFigueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and chaired by Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Director of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership) discussed how “architect, town planners and engineers, collaborating with the construction, real-estate, materials & technology and financial communities, could showcase solutions for the built environment that can be deployed in Europe and inspire worldwide action”

One of the main points addressed was the lack of visibility suffered by the construction sector, as topics like energy efficiency and net positive standards are often seen as highly-technical and not understood by the general public.

Key to meeting the global goal of decarbonisation by 2050 is seen as the transition of new and existing buildings to EU Net Energy Standards . The EU Standard Requires “Member States shall ensure that by 31 December 2020 all new buildings are nearly zero-energy buildings; and after 31 December 2018, new buildings occupied and owned by public authorities are nearly zero-energy buildings”

Marks and Spencer (M&S) announced that they joined RE100, a global initiative for major companies committing to 100% renewable power, through their Plan A programme to lower carbon emissions from their activities and building operations.

The World Green Build Council promoted and launched its BuildUpon report during Climate Week Paris, aiming to create a building renovation revolution in Europe. See the Imagine a Built Environment that Enables a High Quality of Life for All  report

The BuildUpon report includes two notable actions,

  • identifying and engaging with ‘Unusual Suspects’, those not as yet engaged in the low carbon built environment dialogue.
  • A proposed open source wiki for information, the RenoWiki, a comprehensive summary of renovation initiatives across the 13 project EU countries, “to bring clarity on how national renovation strategies can strategically build upon the current landscape and how identified solutions might be scaled-up across other countries”

And, as reported in the Guardian Article “in an unprecedented alliance, 25 global news publishers have agreed to share climate change content to raise awareness in the runup to the next UN summit and agreed to scrap licensing fees for climate change content so that members of the alliance can freely republish articles.”

A call then to the Built Environment news publishers to do similar, to share climate change content and bring that content out from behind paywalls?

(I am grateful for informative tweets, sharing news and links from Climate Week Paris from friend , @WeMeanBusiness, @GuardianSustBiz, @SDDecleve @ClimateGroup and others in Paris)

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