COP21: Built Environment crucial to attaining CO2 emissions targets

COP21: Built Environment crucial to attaining CO2 emissions targets

On 26 Dec , 2019 03:13 AM

Date: Tue, 24 November 2015

COP21: Built Environment crucial to attaining CO2 emissions targets

RICS to join governments, industry and civil society groups in Paris for crucial UN climate talks.


The built environment has a vital role to play in helping governments meet their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions targets. These targets are going to be central at the end of the month when 196 governments meet in Paris for a crucial climate change summit hosted by the United Nations. The meeting, called the 21st Conference of the Parties or COP21, is of particular significance because world leaders and negotiators must agree on a new climate deal aimed at curbing the damaging effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate.


As a global professional body working in the public interest, RICS will be in Paris to join stakeholders from governments, industry and civil society to support efforts to reach an agreement. The commitments made in Paris could have far-reaching repercussions for the built environment, and the global economy more generally.


“The property sector has a huge influence on the global financial system. We want to leverage this influence to support the efforts of governments as they negotiate a new climate deal in Paris. RICS is a natural partner for the United Nations. We have worked with the UN before on creating a framework for businesses to act more responsibly in relation to their real estate assets. And we want to build on that relationship by supporting governments as they make adaption and mitigation commitments to curb the effects of climate change.”                            – Sean Tompkins, RICS Chief Executive Officer


Buildings are some of the biggest emitters of CO2 accounting for one-third of global greenhouse gasses.  Commercial and residential buildings also account for 40% of the world’s energy consumption. RICS is working with its members in the land, real estate and construction sectors to find solutions across the property lifecycle to support more sustainable business practices.


“India is at the forefront of using renewable power for its energy consumption with current plans to quadruple its renewable energy capacity to 175 giga watt by 2022, cut fossil fuel subsidies and drastically reduce carbon emissions. For COP21, India is looking to garner financial and technical support to help itself reduce carbon emissions. The real estate sector in India is one of the top most contributors of CO2, and with demand still growing at a rapid pace for housing and commercial sector, this situation is getting severe. RICS in India has been advocating Action Areas for sustainable development especially creating successful and sustainable future cities, creating talent and use of modern technologies for construction,” Mr. Sachin Sandhir, Global Managing Director - Emerging Business, RICS said.


Governments negotiating at COP21 are under pressure to produce an international climate agreement that balances environmental ambitions with the global economic realities.  RICS, with its global network of professionals in more than 140 countries and with the international professional standards it is developing with other organisations, wants to give governments the ‘Confidence to Commit’. RICS wants governments to be confident in the knowledge that the progress made towards their commitments to reduce CO2 emissions can be measured through the tools and expertise the organisation provides around the world.


COP21 is all about commitments for governments as they finalise a climate deal. We want to support these efforts by making our own commitment to influence our members, their clients and the wider built environment sector. The commitments we make will have an impact well beyond COP21 and they must be central to our sector’s response to the challenges posed by climate change.”                                                                                                                        – Sean Tompkins, RICS Chief Executive Officer         


RICS will also use the Paris summit to contribute to shaping the global agenda by participating the UN Environmental Programme’s (UNEP) first ever Buildings Day on 3 December 2015 in Paris. As part of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, our common goal is to address the impact of buildings on the climate, not just on the occasion of COP21 but far beyond.


For more information:

Ø  RICS at COP21 in Paris: and follow #RICSCOP21

Ø  From 2 – 6 December 2015: Chevon Erasmus Porter, Global Communications and External Relations Advisor on or Tel: +44 (0) 20 7695 1601 or Mobile: +44 (0) 777 256 7136

Ø  From: 7 – 9 December 2015: Laura Lindberg, Public Relations Manager for Europe on or +32 4 8647 3345

Note to editors:

Read our thought leadership on COP 21:

·         Impacting on the future of every person on the planet by Sean Tompkins, RICS Chief Executive Officer

·         The cost of change: saving the climate is not cheap by Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist

·         Collective action: achieve more, and faster  by Curt Garrigan, Coordinator, Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)


About RICS:

RICS promotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. Our name promises the consistent delivery of standards – bringing confidence to the markets we serve. We accredit 118,000 professionals and any individual or firm registered with RICS is subject to our quality assurance. With offices covering the major political and financial centres of the world, our market presence means we are ideally placed to influence policy and embed professional standards. We work at a cross-governmental level, delivering international standards that will support a safe and vibrant marketplace in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure, for the benefit of all.

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