The Carbon Challenge

Few people doubt the pressing need to reduce and offset carbon emissions these days.

The urgency of the task was reiterated, for example, during April 2022, in a report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This document revealed what had to be done if the official global warming target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels was to remain realistic and irreversible catastrophic problems were to be avoided. These could include droughts, pandemics, the extinction of further animal species and land masses being submerged by rising seas.

The report said worldwide emissions of greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide, had to peak by 2025 and reduce by 43 per cent before 2030.

Instead, the IPCC said emissions were on course to rise by 14 per cent this decade and temperatures to increase by an average of 3.2 degrees before the end of the century.

The importance of carbon dioxide in reversing these trends is obvious, as it accounts for over three-quarters of the greenhouse gasses the world produces.

It’s also evident that buildings must play a fundamental role in this reversal, as they account for about 30 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Yet the IPCC report revealed that emissions from buildings actually increased by 50 per cent in the 30 years to 2019.

Construction sector organisations’ reputations therefore increasingly depend on them being seen to reduce carbon emissions. This is reflected in the intensifying pressure they’re coming under from groups such as the government, the public and investors, as we approach 2050, by which time the law says the UK must have net zero carbon emissions.

| The Carbon Challenge |