The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) debuted yesterday in Glasgow, bringing together more than 190 world leaders, with the aim of accelerating action to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement and UN's Convention on Climate Change. Leading architecture organizations and figures are attending the two-week summit to show the AEC's industry's commitment to reduce carbon emissions and urge decision-makers to implement clear targets to achieve global climate goals.
This year, the climate change conference dedicates an entire day (on November 11th) to Cities, Regions &Built Environments, bringing the AEC industry in direct conversation with world leaders and in the heart of the negotiations. Sixty of the world largest architecture, engineering and construction firms, together with some of the most important architectural organizations, have signed the 1.5oC COP26 Communiqué, an open letter to governments demonstrating their commitment to meet Paris Agreement and calling on governments to do the same. The Communique is supported by Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA), American Institute of Architects (AIA), RIBA and BIG, Arup, Perkins& Will, SOM, Studio Gang, Gensler are among the firms who sign the open letter.
We're attending COP to demonstrate that the built environment is ready and willing to make the changes needed to remain within planetary limits – but we need government's help, we can't do it alone. - RIBA President Simon Allford.
Over the last three decades, these global summits brought climate change to the forefront of decision-making processes. In 2015 the COP21 accomplished a significant achievement with the agreement to limit global warming to values below 2 degrees Celsius and aim, in fact, for 1.5 degrees. This year's event is expected to have a similar impact, as it coincides with countries updating their plans for reducing emissions for the first time in the last five years, as agreed upon during the Paris Agreement. The summit asks leaders to establish goals in line with reaching net zero by 2050, accelerate phasing out coal, drastically reduce deforestation and speed up the switch to renewable energy and electric vehicles. It also aims to convince decision-makers to deliver on the promise o raise at least 100 billion dollars in climate finance every year, to support the green transition worldwide.