Climate Change and Construction Overview

Climate change: the construction industry

The world’s climate is changing rapidly. Leading scientists, most nation states, their politicians and many corporations agree that climate change is the biggest threat to humanity. Global infrastructure resilience, economic development, food security, trade flows, and human health all stand to deteriorate under current projections and this will have a profound impact onbusinesses.TheUK government has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. EU and UK regulators have emphasised that the physical transition and liability risks from climate change and their associated impacts are becoming an increasing area of focus. In July 2019, the UK launched the Green Finance Strategy which indicates that the National Infrastructure Commission will be examining the resilience of the UK’s infrastructure and integrating climate considerations into the next National Infrastructure Assessment.

Also, under the Strategy, BEIS will be supported by the Infrastructure and ProjectsAuthority to seek to apply a“green filter” to the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline. Banks and insurers are taking notice of climate change and sustainability, impacting investments in the construction industry, and it is expected that all listed companies and large asset owners will be required to disclose in line with the TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) recommendations by 2022. contributes around 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint, with new construction accounting for 14%. There are already substantial decarbonisation efforts well underway in the construction industry and it will be important over the coming years to continue to address this at all stages of a project from design, procurement and construction through to ongoing operation. According to the UK Green Building Council, the built environment

The construction industry accounts for 11% of worldwide energy related CO2 emissions with 8% of CO2 emissions contributed by cement production 1 11%


Buildings account for 28% of worldwide energy related CO2 emissions 1



Energy use in the construction industry represents 6% of total worldwide energy consumption 1

The UK construction industry is responsible for around 3% of the UK’s

total CO2 emissions and 40% of the UK’s energy consumption 2

1 UK environment – Global Status Report 2017 2 Office for National Statistics

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