A call to action for cities, business and industry in the built environment
Reflections on the first Global Stocktake
Author: Will Wild, Built Environment Lead, Climate Champions Team
(5 minute read)
Last Friday, the rather un-engagingly titled “Technical dialogue of the first global stocktake: Synthesis report” quietly made its way onto the UNFCCC’s website.
This understated release somewhat contradicts its significance.
The report impressively consolidates the most extensive international review of our collective efforts towards addressing climate change to date. More precisely, our efforts in meeting the Paris Agreement.
The summary in short; we are not on track, the built environment has a critical role to play, international cooperation is essential, and success relies upon the interdependent action of governments, cities, business and industry.
This report will set the context within which the next five years of climate diplomacy sits – this is a big deal – and in turn, the report will shape the direction of future regulation, policy and finance everywhere.
Here’s a few extracts not to missed…
Headlines: no surprises
Emissions goals not on track.
“global emissions are not in line with modelled global mitigation pathways consistent with the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement”
(Section 9, page 5)
“There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”
(Section 30, page 7)
A need to mainstream adaptation measures, particularly for those most vulnerable.
“increased adaptation action as well as enhanced efforts to avert, minimize and address loss and damage are urgently needed to reduce and respond to increasing impacts, particularly for those who are least prepared for change and least able to recover from disasters.”
(Section 29, page 7)
Finance for developing countries remains a critical enabler.
“scaled-up mobilization of support for climate action in developing countries entails strategically deploying international public finance, which remains a prime enabler for action…”
(Section 48, page 9)
Built Environment: a critical sector
Buildings and cities remain critical to mitigation efforts both directly and as an enabler for the energy transition.
“The share of emissions from cities is estimated to be 67–72 per cent of global emissions…”
(Section 123, page 21)
“Ambitious implementation of measures to address GHG emissions from… buildings… can reduce emissions… while reducing costs and delivering co-benefits. ”
(Section 20, page 6)
“Electrification, energy efficiency and demand-side management, as well as energy storage, are also important elements in net zero energy systems.”
(Section 19, page 6)
“Both existing and yet-to-be-built buildings can be net zero emissions by mid-century if they use low-carbon construction materials, reduce energy demand and implement mitigation options in design, construction, use and retrofits.”
(Section 123, page 9)
Unlocking finance for low carbon and climate-resilience development to the tune of trillions of dollars.
“It is essential to unlock and redeploy trillions of dollars to meet global investment needs, including by rapidly shifting financial flows globally to support a pathway towards low GHG emissions and climate-resilient development.”
(Section 203, page 9)
International cooperation: more needed
Referenced over 30 times in the report, the call for more “international cooperations” could not be clearer.
“more effective international cooperation involving non-Party stakeholders is critically important in supporting countries’ efforts to accelerate progress.”
(Section 22, page 6)
“More effective and strategic international cooperation on technology development and transfer and innovation would enable rapid systems transformations…”
(Section 58, page 10)
Reflecting on this call, the upcoming ‘Buildings Breakthrough’ initiative will provide a platform to direct intergovernmental collaboration on the priorities of our sector. 24 countries are already aligned behind the initiative ahead of COP28.
Non-party stakeholders*: called to action
(*non-party stakeholders = you, me, and anyone who isn’t a national government.)
The report makes clear that national governments cannot do this on their own and highlights the critical role of non-party stakeholders across many sectors and actions.
“Mitigation measures by non-Party stakeholders will be an important factor for success in achieving the Paris Agreement goals.”
(Section 129, page 22)
“The demonstrable implementation of commitments and actions by non-Party stakeholders can strengthen Parties’ efforts for systems transformations. Rigorous accounting and accountability are needed to lend credence to non-Party stakeholders’ contributions”
(Section 85, page 14)
As international climate diplomacy signals the emerging direction of regulation, policy and finance, industry leaders are starting to take note, increase their ambition, and align their transition with a net-zero and resilient future.
Last Friday’s Global Stocktake report underscores our mission here at BuildingToCOP to accelerate the built environment’s vital, yet overlooked, potential as a pivotal catalyst for a more sustainable and equitable future.
Follow the sector’s response to this Global Stocktake report here with the BuildingToCOP coalition as we build to COP28.