Although the worst possible effects of climate change have been signalled for some time, the special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5ºC, issued by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday, stressed the urgency with which these possibilities need to be confronted.
In the report, the world’s leading climate scientists warned that it is possible that only 12 years remain in which the increase in temperatures due to global warming can be kept at 1.5ºC. Beyond that level, an increase of even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. We have just 12 years to make massive changes to global energy infrastructure to limit global warming to moderate levels.
Keeping to the preferred cap of a 1.5ºC temperature increase above pre-industrial levels will mean "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society",
not just in terms of energy, but changes to how transportation, buildings and industries operate. The report acts as a reminder of the harsh challenges we face in terms of preventing the worst impacts of climate change, the need for engagement and action from all stakeholders, and the importance of the Paris Agreement as a backbone for driving change.
World Economic Forum research has found that buildings are responsible for 25-40% of the global total of energy consumption, contributing significantly to the release of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere. In fact, 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to buildings.
The importance of viewing buildings as holistic entities, where both the quality of construction and the quality of materials are considered carefully is obvious. The increasing need for buildings to be as efficient as possible, in terms of their energy use, is an area where Kingspan can deliver solutions, as the manufacturer of high-performance insulation that stands the test of time and the most thermally efficient insulation products commonly used. Kingspan products combined with intelligent and thoughtful optimised envelope design, such as natural lighting, energy generation and water conservation solutions can significantly lower the energy footprint of the building, minimising the global warming impact of a building’s construction.
Mark Harris, Building Technology Director explains: