BuildingToCOP Coalition keeps the focus on the built environment

The Building to COP Coalition is a group of sustainability-focused built environment NGOs and organisations working together, alongside the UN High Level Climate Champions, to achieve a zero emissions future at COP conferences.

The #BuildingToCOP campaign began with the formation of the Coalition in 2021 for COP26: “Convening a powerful coalition of stakeholders, the monthly sessions elevate the built environment as a critical climate solution,” says the Coalition.

According to the stats released by the Coalition, by 2050 1.6 billion urban dwellers will be regularly exposed to extreme high temperatures, over 800 million people living in more than 570 cities will be vulnerable to sea level rise and coastal flooding, and by 2060, the world’s building stock will double and almost 70% of the global population is projected to live in urban areas.

Despite this, under $3 of every $100 spent on new construction goes to efficient buildings. Out of the 186 countries that have submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 136 countries mention buildings, 53 countries mention building energy efficiency, and 38 specifically call out building energy codes. Most countries do not include full building decarbonisation targets and certain areas such as building materials are under addressed.”

The Coalition suggests that businesses and sub-national governments should join the Race to Zero, which is outlined in three steps:

All countries include full building decarbonisation targets, concrete policies and measures and related implementation mechanisms in their NDCs.

1,000 cities and at least 20% of the largest built environment businesses by revenue committed to the UN’s Race to Zero.

The sector’s stakeholders unite behind a single voice and ambition towards shared goals: By 2030, 100% of new buildings must be net-zero carbon in operation and embodied carbon must be reduced by at least 40%, and by 2050, all new and existing assets must be net zero across the whole life cycle (see UNFCCC Human Settlements Pathway).

“The built environment sector has the opportunity to lead the resilience agenda, placing adaptation on par with mitigation through how we design, manage and occupy buildings and infrastructure for the worlds’ people. Regardless of where you live or where you do business, we all need to build resilience to climate change,” says Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin UN High-Level Climate Action Champion for Egypt at COP27.