With six weeks to go until COP26, engineering alliance Actuate UK has issued a stark message to world leaders gathering in Glasgow, urging them to tackle the climate crisis now “before it is too late”.
The body, which represents eight of the UK’s major engineering services trade bodies, says the construction industry is committed to helping in the fight against global catastrophe – but leaders must have “the courage and vision” to make it happen. And it has repeated a call from its recent manifesto for the widespread rollout of renewables technology toreduce the carbon impact of buildings across the globe.
Leaders will meet for the UN Climate Change Conference – also known as COP26 – from October 31 to November 12, to discuss how to hit climate change targets, including securing net zero by mid-century and keeping global warming to below 1.5 degrees.
Fiona Hodgson, CEO of SNIPEF, echoed the call for immediate action, saying it was vital for leaders to commit to action now. She said: “There is no doubt that the construction industry has the skills and innovation at its fingertips – we just need those in power to have the courage to make the green revolution a reality and agree to roll out such innovation on a mass scale.
Alan Wilson, Managing Director of electrotechnical trade association SELECT, said any potential action should follow the net zero pledges contained in the Actuate UK manifesto, which was published earlier this year. He said: “We have already called for efficient heating and cooling in buildings, improved indoor air quality and a fast vehicle charging infrastructure – all things that are within reach and can bring about change if we are bold enough to make them happen.
“Actuate UK itself is committed to making a difference, with our members pledging to see net zero targets achieved in existing buildings through retrofit activities, and to assist with the uptake of low-carbon technologies across government, industry and operators.
“In addition, we are committed to demonstrating how carbon emissions from the materials, construction and the use of a building over its entire life, including its demolition and disposal, will comprehensively affect standards, quality, education and training. Such examples can, and should, be followed by others around the globe so we can make a difference together.”
Chris Yates, CEO of the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations, another leading Actuate UK member, said it was also vital for the industry to make its views known to bring about change. He added: “All of us who work in the engineering services have a duty to make our voice heard and repeat the message that the technology and techniques that can make a difference to tomorrow are already here and need to be rolled out today.
“Without these voices being heard, and our leaders making real change at COP26, we will just continue to sleepwalk into disaster and leave a legacy that no one will be able to repair.”
Formed in February 2021, Actuate UK bridges the gap between products, installation and end use. It demands decision makers to listen to the professionals whose skills turn vision into a practical reality for everyone.