Graz Declaration for Climate Protection in the Built Environment

An intact natural environment is not only vital for humankind but also provides the basis for further social and economic development. For more than 30 years, the international scientific community has provided a strong body of evidence on the increasingly high atmospheric concentrations of man-made greenhouse gases (GHG) and the need to reduce these in order to limit the damages and risks caused by global warming. The UNFCCC has endorsed this and has started international processes for collectively reducing these harmful GHG-emissions. However, the most recent IPCC report conclusively shows that much more action is urgently needed if global warming is to be kept within 1.5°C increase. These actions must occur in a much shorter time-span.

The operation of buildings is responsible for approximately 40% of Europe’s energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions, making them the single largest cause of energy consumption and GHG-emissions. In addition, there are energy consumption and emissions caused by the manufacturing of construction products for creation and refurbishment of buildings and constructed assets. Urgent actions are needed to cut energy consumption and GHG-emissions caused in construction product industry as well as in the construction, facilities management and real estate sectors. Therefore, the reduction of life cycle related carbon footprint of construction works shall become an imperative.

Good examples already show that it is feasible to create a net-zero GHG-emission built environment. In addition to addressing climatic and environmental concerns, these projects also engage with wider societal concerns expressed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These positive examples are proof of technical, social and economic feasibility. There is an imperative to adopt these practices widely.

The objectives of limiting global warming require translation into actions for the specific sectors and actors

Find and sign the Declaration here: https://www.tugraz.at/events/sbe19/graz-declaration/graz-declaration/

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