AIA says UN must deliver new international climate change agreement

November 18, 2009

AIA urges UN to deliver “ambitious and effective international response to climate change” in Copenhagen.

The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) will deliver 15 strong ‘calls for action’ at next month’s United Nations conference in Copenhagen, demanding that the forum delivers clear international standards for measuring emissions, and sets incentives to drive and reward sustainability in the built environment.

The AIA has developed the call-for-action statement with Architecture Canada, the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Commonwealth Association of Architects.

The AIA statement highlights “the crucial roles architecture and the built environment can play in reducing the climate change impact on the environment,” with buildings and cities currently accountable for almost half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Institute National President Melinda Dodson said the statement encourages “governments, architects and the broader community to act on extensive research which shows the significant contribution the built environment can make to emissions mitigation – if comprehensive efforts in energy efficiency are pursued.”

The UN must plan for the unavoidable impacts of climate change, the statement adds. It says that the UN needs to set emissions targets, encourage the development and implementation of sustainable design, with a carbon price in place to drive change.

As well as encouraging changes in urban planning – including risk management in the face of climate uncertainties – the statement asks for a program to improve existing stock, including energy efficient refurbishment and retrofitting.

Institute CEO David Parken stated that the challenge facing the profession today was to maintain and improve current standards of living, while also eliminating dependence on fossil fuels and reversing environmental damage. Adding that the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012, Parken said, “the next 36 months are crucial, and definitive international action is required to build a new international climate change agreement”.

*Image* courtesy ["akeg":]

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