Practices

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Buildings and climate change adaptation: A call to action

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Image by Ante Hamersmit from Pixabay

This report is the first output of the GlobalABC “adaptation” working group, launched at COP24 in Katowice.

 

During the Global- ABC meeting in Rabat in October 2018, the representatives of the Kingdom of Morocco and GlobalABC members expressed their mutual wish to see the challenges of climate change adaptation and the benefits of initiatives in the real-estate, building, and construction sector be put in the spotlight, as up until now they have not been given due attention.

 

The report was coordinated by the Green Building Observatory (OID, Paris) with the support of the French Ministry of Ecological Transition.

 

Climate change is regarded as the major issue that humanity will face this century.

 

Extreme weather events and failure to implement climate-change mitigation and adaptation actions are the two greatest risks that the global economy will face in terms of their likelihood and impact, according to the World Economic Forum (2019).

 

The built environment is particularly at risk from climate change, and as such so are the people living and working within buildings.

 

Governments and all actors along the buildings and construction value chain therefore need to take action, as climate risks pose a real threat to the lives and economic activities of people.

 

Buildings as long-term assets should be resilient to climate change, and also to other future risks such as pandemics and potential behavior changes.

 

The report is divided into: 

 

PART 1: Why Does Adapting Buildings to Climate Change Matter?

 

The first section of the report deals with global challenges regarding adaptation of the built environment: definitions and relevance, macro-economic impacts (costs of adaptation vs non-adaptation) as well as the strong links between adaptation and mitigation in the RBC sector.

 

PART 2: Adapting the RBC Sector to Climate Change

 

The second section highlights ongoing and necessary changes in the RBC sector to better integrate adaptation challenges: processes based on the building lifecycle, risk assessments, regulatory frameworks and stakeholder engagement, i.e. creating an enabling environment for change.

 

This section introduces concrete actions to this end.

 

PART 3: Frameworks of Action

 

The third and most important section presents a framework for suggested action for key actors in the RBC sector.

 

It summarizes specific challenges faced by each actor in adapting buildings to climate change and identifies the current global state of their practices along with recommendations for each stakeholder group in order to improve the adaptation of buildings to climate change.

 

The action plan was informed by surveys and interviews held with relevant stakeholders and has been reviewed by sectoral organisations.

 

Five challenges and five recommendations are presented, selected in order to focus on the most critical issues.