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COP27: Can construction keep 1.5 alive?

Photo: Wichien Tepsuttinun |

Premierline explores what the construction industry needs to see in order to keep the COP27 agreement.

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP27, took place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November last year. It was a gathering of world economies who came together to discuss the climate.

One of its major breakthroughs came in the form of an agreement which sees COP member countries commit to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels.

This will be achieved through a package of decisions which will see each country play a particular role in contributing to this goal, with wealthier countries working to support developing nations in achieving it. This is because developed nations have recognised their part in contributing to the devastating environmental impacts we are now seeing across developing nations.

COP27 and construction

It’s clear that internationally, the construction industry has a major impact on global emissions. It is widely accepted that up to 40% of global emissions come directly as a result of building and construction and therefore it’s an industry that is going to be heavily scrutinised over the coming years. Businesses and governments worldwide have a responsibility to help change the impact construction has on the planet.

How can we assure this? There’s got to be a shift in the way the industry operates, from sourcing materials to developing innovative building practices, such as moving from building new to focusing more on the repair and maintenance of existing buildings and structures to limit the amount of resources needed on building projects, even if it costs more to do so.

Funding and support needed

Government funding and support is going to be needed if legislators want to ensure the UK is able to meet its climate commitments. The UK is a major player within the United Nations and is expected to set a precedent to other COP member states. The government needs to support its own industries, as well as the industries of developing nations, to help achieve the overall goal.

Importantly, the funding needs to hit the right places to ensure every penny is being spent on green and sustainable initiatives so the industry can move away from using fossil fuels to using renewable energy and more sustainable building materials.

Decarbonising is one thing, but legislators also need to consider how buildings in the future can ensure decarbonisation is a long‑term reality – what’s the point in building carbon-neutral buildings now if they are only going to be inhabited by people who are eating up fossil fuels in the future?

By working together in the present, builders, governments and COP member parties can improve the emissions of the global construction industry and can take the leap of faith that is needed in order to secure a better future for our planet.

A more sustainable construction industry is something we all want to be a part of.

Premierline Business Insurance Brokers is a long-established insurance partner to the Chartered Institute of Building. If your business insurance is due for renewal and you’d like an independent review, please call your CIOB insurance team on 0330 102 6171 or email [email protected].

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