Friday, November 20, 2015

Building and Real Estate Companies Join Call for Action on Climate Change

The U.S. Green Building Council and the Carbon Leadership Forum are collaborating with Ceres to spearhead the Building and Real Estate Climate Declaration campaign. (Credit: Ceres) Click to Enlarge.
As Paris readies for the COP21 International Climate talks, more than 53 building and real estate companies, including Thornton Tomasetti, Skanska and JLL, announced today that they have signed on to the Building and Real Estate Climate Declaration, a business call to action that urges policymakers to seize the economic opportunity of tackling climate change.  The declaration was recognized before thousands of industry leaders and experts at the closing plenary of the annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo taking place in Washington, D.C. this week.

The Building and Real Estate Climate Declaration is a collaborative effort among the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Carbon Leadership Forum and Ceres.  It is a companion to Ceres’ Climate Declaration, launched in 2013, which has more than 1,660 signatories nationwide, including iconic brands such as Gap Inc., General Mills,, Disney, Apple, and Starbucks.  The building and real estate sector firms have signed their own Building and Real Estate Climate Declaration, to call attention to the specific risks and opportunities associated with climate change on the built sector industry, which is a major economic driver in the United States and produces 39 percent of carbon emissions annually.

“The Building and Real Estate Declaration is the first collective statement of the building community on climate, and it signals we are ready to get to work, both sustainably and profitably,” said Roger Platt, president, USGBC.  “Our community knows that buildings represent the lowest cost and greatest potential to reduce carbon emissions.  The Climate Declaration will give visibility to buildings as a critical climate solution.  We’ve proven that by acting sustainably, we can leverage innovation and efficiency to driven economic growth.”

“These building and real estate companies recognize the financial upside of tackling climate change today, both for their own bottom lines and the overall economy," said Anne Kelly, director of policy and BICEP at Ceres, a nonprofit sustainability advocacy organization.  “They recognize that strong policies are essential for tackling climate change at the scale and pace that’s needed.  We urge negotiators at COP21 to follow their lead.”

The building and real estate industry faces multiple climate change impacts.  Extreme weather, sea level rise, coastal erosion, floods, and wildfires are contributing to rising insurance rates and premiums in sought-after coastal real estate.  Hundreds of billions of dollars of property are at risk of inundation from sea level rise and storm surge alone.  In the construction sector, extreme heat can lead to lower labor productivity, curtailed hours and extended construction schedules.

The cost of property damage from extreme weather events in the United States topped $19 billion across 35 states in 2014.

Read more at Building and Real Estate Companies Join Call for Action on Climate Change

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