Climate crisis | “70 countries” commit to reviewing ways of building on the planet

(Paris) Favor renovations over new constructions, reuse materials: at least 70 countries committed on Friday in Paris to review and adapt their ways of constructing buildings in order to curb global warming, while protecting buildings from heatwaves and hazards weather report.

The environment or construction ministers of signatory countries – including Canada, the United States, Ivory Coast and Saudi Arabia, but not China – adopted a “Chaillot declaration”, named of the palace in Paris in which it was finalized, during the first “World Buildings and Climate Forum” organized by the United Nations environment agency and the French government.

“The declaration remains open to more support and has the potential to bring together more countries in the coming weeks,” underlined the French Ministry of Ecological Transition, which hopes to garner new signatures by the next world urban forum in Cairo. and COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan, in November.

Standards, real estate financing, materials, energy… The aim is to decarbonize the building industry, which emits a lot of greenhouse gases responsible for the rise in global temperatures. But also to make buildings more resilient in the face of storms, floods and heatwaves which are increasing, particularly in the most vulnerable countries of the South.

For the first time, all the planet’s builders, architects, engineers, design offices and materials manufacturers came together with diplomats and international donors to discuss the climate issue.

Regina Gonthier, who chairs the International Union of Architects (UIA), publicly affirmed the profession’s commitment adopted last summer to “prioritize the rehabilitation of existing buildings in a virtuous manner rather than constructing new buildings”. A small challenge in a sector sometimes dominated by the egos of creators.

“Redirect financial flows”

It’s urgent. Construction is a sector “where global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise” and which “is not on track to achieve decarbonization by 2050,” the statement said.

Ligia Noronha, Under-Secretary General of the UN, recalled that “the participation of the private sector will have to reach more than 24 billion euros in 2030 to reach net zero”: “We must redirect financial flows”, as well as “a conducive regulatory framework”, she declared.

But “110 countries do not have mandatory standards for energy efficiency,” lamented the executive director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol.

The UN predicts in particular a doubling of the surface area built by 2060 in the world as well as a near doubling of the consumption of raw materials, the majority of which would be allocated to construction.

Currently, the sector is responsible for 21% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 37% of CO emissions.2 linked to energy. It also represents 34% of energy demand, for heating or cooling, and captures half of the world’s consumption of raw materials, according to the declaration.

Furthermore, 100 billion tonnes of construction waste are generated by demolitions and renovations each year, most of which is not reused, and 35% of which ends up in landfills.

By 2060, the doubling of built-up areas is expected to add more than 230 billion built square meters. In Africa, they could triple, and even quadruple in rapidly urbanizing countries, the document indicates.

In 2021, if 40% of countries (79 out of 196) had an energy code, only 26% had mandatory construction standards, the document highlights.

Among the commitments made by the participants, it will be necessary to save water and energy, reduce air conditioning installations as much as possible by favoring air circulation inside buildings, but also to develop training of the workforce. work to achieve this titanic task.

The Brazilian Minister of Cities, Jader Barbalho Filho, stressed that the solutions applicable to the South are different from those for the North, noting in particular that his country needed 6 million affordable housing units for its population.


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