Paris target at risk if sustainability not embraced, says new report

09 Oct 2018

9 October 2018

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has welcomed a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which calls for immediate action from all sectors of the economy to stop global warming climbing above the critical 1.5 degree-threshold by 2050.

GBCA CEO Romilly Madew said the report illustrated the urgent need for a concerted international effort in tackling climate change and working towards a more sustainable built environment.

“Around a quarter of carbon emissions come from our buildings and we know these can be eliminated by using existing sustainable technologies and achieving best-practice benchmarks such as the GBCA’s Green Star certification,” Ms Madew said.

“This report again illustrates that implementing sustainable technologies is essential if we are to keep global warming within the 1.5 degree target outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.

“The GBCA is committed to ensuring Australian buildings are high-performing and sustainable and our growing membership is testament to the increasing understanding that sustainability is not just good for the environment, but also for the bottom line.

“In addition to helping meet our emission reduction targets, an increasing focus in Australia on energy security and affordability makes low emissions buildings a winner for businesses, tenants, owners and the community.

“Our Carbon Positive Roadmap for the built environment, released earlier this year, sets out the clear steps required for commercial, institutional and government buildings and fitouts to decarbonise and proposes a range of policy positions for industry to support. It calls for upgrades to energy efficiency requirements in the National Construction Code and an expansion of requirements for the mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency.

“It is heartening to see Australian businesses and organisations are also setting a global example, with AMP Capital Wholesale Office Fund, Frasers Property Australia, GPT Wholesale Office Fund, Integral Group, Stockland’s retirement living and logistics divisions, Cundall, and the City of Sydney among the first groups to sign up to the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.”

Central to the report is the call for the elimination of coal-fired electricity by 2050 as well as a substantial reduction in the use of natural gas, with electricity markets encouraged to transition to renewable, low or zero emissions technology.

Based on more than 6,000 scientific works, the report will inform the United Nations’ Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland, in December, where governments from around the world will assess the Paris Agreement.

“This report is a call to action for government, business and the wider community,” Ms Madew said.

“Climate change is everyone’s business and the GBCA is committed to working in partnership with industry and government to help manage risks to our communities associated with future economic, environmental and social change.”