WorldGBC reacting on COP24: Open letter to the European Commission

The end of the last year was accompanied by the annual event, the Conference of Parties (COP24), this time held in Katowice, Poland where the talks on climate change challenges took place. Among other things, discussed was also the vision for climate neutral Europe. In reaction to that, World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), in an open letter, calls for recognition of unparalleled potential of the built environment sector which could significantly add to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement as well as the EU2050 long-term strategy.

Addressing the results of the recent report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), buildings account for :

36% of all emissions

40% of energy and 50% of raw material extraction

1/3rd of all potable water usage

18 million construction jobs in the EU

Based on this fact, the EU2050 should and has to prioritize the reduction of operational carbon emissions in buildings. At the same time, it must recognize the full life cycle impacts of the built environment sector. WorldGBC sees resolution in strengthening the cooperation between the European Commission and countries, cities, companies and even citizens to deliver renovation strategies in building sector. Otherwise, the success in net zero emission economy is not reachable.

Main points made by WorldGBC:
  • Prioritizing the Reduction of Operational Carbon Emissions, particularly through Increased Energy Efficiency: it is predicted the EU will miss its 2020 energy efficiency targets because Europe’s buildings are not being renovated at the rate and depth needed to achieve the targets. Crucial is the cooperation of stakeholders to deliver long-term renovation strategies increasing the rate and depth of renovation, enabling the delivery of a highly efficient and decarbonized building stock. Covered must be also wider socio-economic impacts of renovation: improved health and wellbeing, reduced fuel poverty and increased local economic activity
  • Addressing the full life-cycle impacts of the Built Environment sector: as to achieve a net zero emissions circular economy while
    Level(s)” being considered a potential creator of a “common European language” around life-cycle performance in terms of emissions, resource and water efficiency, resilience, health and comfort

Find the open letter in full here.