If we want to limit our planet's rising temperature, global greenhouse gas emissions need to be curbed — yesterday.
A new report by C40 Cities, a network that connects 97 global cities to act on climate change, stated that changes in the construction industry could curb emissions by 44% until 2050.
Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm have already agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their construction sites.
Who is already leading the way?
If we're to limit Earth's temperature rising by only 1.5 degrees Celcius, the world's leading scientists have remarked that global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak by 2020.
The C40 World Mayors Summit is a pivotal moment for cities to demonstrate their climate leadership & share strategies for action 💥 Mayors are moving climate change from the sidelines to the heart of public policies 👉https://t.co/CM4Uy4713k pic.twitter.com/GN0DP1xOh7— C40 Cities (@c40cities) October 5, 2019
New data published in time for the C40 World's Mayors Summit this week disclosed that 30 cities around the world have already reached this important point. These cities are as follows:
Athens, Austin, Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Copenhagen, Heidelberg, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Milan, Montréal, New Orleans, New York City, Oslo, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Rome, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver, Venice, Warsaw, and Washington, D.C.
The above cities have, on average reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 22%. Copenhagen alone has reduced emissions by 61%.
The cities that have not yet achieved their peak limits are, either already halfway there, or have made concrete commitments to reaching them by next year's deadline.
Construction and climate
One of the major ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is by changing our current construction sector.
The #cities100 report is live! 🎊— cities100report (@cities100report) October 2, 2019
Go to https://t.co/VVeMQNhGVP to learn how cities around the world are taking #ClimateAction in 100 different ways.
Thanks to @Realdaniadk and @C40Cities for a great collaboration and congratulations to all the cities featured! pic.twitter.com/CkuuZsfKum
The C40 report, published by C40 Cities, Arup — an independent company of designers, architects, engineers, technicians and more — as well as the University of Leeds, points toward six sections to reduce the climate impact of construction in cities:
- Implementing efficiency in material design
- Enhancing existing building utilization
- Switching high-emission materials to sustainable timber where appropriate
- Using lower-carbon cement
- Reusing building materials and components
- Using low, or zero-emission construction machinery
If these changes are observed, air and noise pollution will drop, which in turn would improve the health of those living in these cities, as well as the environment.
Furthermore, these changes would create new job opportunities as part of the growing and evolving construction economy.
The Mayors of Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm have already announced their decision to reduce the use of fossil fuels on construction sites and civil works. Some of the regulations they have pledged to put in place are as follows:
- Purchase biofuels and emission-free machinery for the city’s own use.
- Demand fossil-and emission-free solutions in public procurement and city-supported projects.
- In Oslo, all city-owned machinery and municipally or owned construction sites will operate with zero emissions by 2025.
The construction sector is only one of many that add to the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Food, clothing, aviation, building, and others, including construction, account for 10% of these emissions.