Institute welcomes climate focus for built environment

The Australian Institute of Architects has welcomed the ‘Buildings Breakthrough’ at this year’s international climate forum, COP28, and urged Australia’s involvement in the partnership.

With world leaders gathered in the UAE, the Institute said the launch of both the Buildings Breakthrough and the Concrete and Cement Breakthrough have renewed focus on the potential for transformation in the building and construction sectors.

According to COP28, the sector accounts for nearly 40 per cent of global energy-related CO2 emissions, 50 per cent of extracted materials, and one third of global waste.

Institute National President Stuart Tanner called on the Australian Government to join the global collaborations, which could support sustainable decarbonisation of the industry.

“The launch of these frameworks is a vital step to the transformation of the built environment through coordinated responses from national governments and international cooperation,” he said.

“As one of the most urbanised nations in the world, cities are critical to Australia’s decarbonisation journey. Australia should step up and accelerate the net-zero transition of our built environment.

“The Breakthrough mission to ensure the built environment is sustainable, affordable and achievable resonates with our goals at the Institute.”

This week, the ‘Breakthroughs’ announcement said it would encourage government finance for healthier, sustainable and equitable cities and towns, with a framework for countries and businesses to strengthen their climate action.

The Buildings Breakthrough was launched with the support of 27 nations – not including Australia – and aims for near-zero and resilient buildings as standard by 2030. The Cement Breakthrough set a goal for near-zero cement protection established and growing across the world, also by 2030.

Separately, the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships for Climate Action (CHAMP) initiative announced nearly USD $500 million in climate finance for urban infrastructure. The Local Climate Action Summit comprising mayors and governors also committed US$467m for urban climate action for better city planning and development in line with climate action.

The Institute also welcomed Australia’s commitment to the Global Cooling Pledge to reduce the use of energy for cooling, however, reaffirmed its opposition to carve outs for geographic areas such as those recently announced in South Australia.

The Institute will continue to call for urgent action to face the challenges of climate change. It is partnering with other industry bodies including the Green Building Council of Australia and ASBEC to develop practical solutions and achieve deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, waste minimisation and sustainability.

As the peak body for architects, the Institute has consistently advocated for a national climate and energy plan to support global efforts to limit temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-Industrial levels.

The peak body is seeking a new national policy for the built environment to expand the scope of the National Construction Code, with goals for all new buildings and renovations to be net zero for operations by 2030, all existing buildings to be operationally net zero by 2040 and for all states and territories to have a nationally consistent methodology for mandatory embodied emissions measurement and reporting within two years.

This year’s global forum on climate change, COP28, featured a dedicated day for the built environment.

Media contact: Rosanne Barrett on behalf of the Australian Institute of Architects | M 0425 420 024 |

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