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Climate protection requires action as soon as possible; CONSTRUCTING EXCELLENCE.

WE work in one of the biggest industries in the world, and because of what we do, we have the most potential to make a difference on protecting the environment.

One of the biggest differences that can be made lies within our industry, in house-building.

The Climate Change Act, the first legally binding framework for tackling climate change, was introduced back in 2008. It sets legally binding targets, creates new powers, changes the institutional framework, establishes systems to ensure accountability and addresses resilience to climate change.

It is most notably known for the commitment to cut emissions of greenhouse gasses by at least 34% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels - something we've all been slowly working towards.

Last week, the Committee on Climate Change responded to a Government request to reassess the UK's long-term emissions targets. The published report suggested the UK can end its contribution to global warming by setting a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, which will require outstanding levels of energy efficiency alongside zero-carbon electricity and heat supplies.

The target referred to as 'net zero' would be met by some sources of emissions being offset by removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.

The report suggests that foundations are in place to implement the policy throughout the UK. A net-zero target will deliver on the commitment that the UK made by signing the Paris Agreement.

It is achievable with known technologies within the expected economic cost that Parliament accepted when it legislated the existing 2050 target for an 80% reduction from 1990. However, this is only possible if credible, well-designed policies are ramped up significantly.

The Government welcomed the report but has yet to accept the recommendations.

We need to make the changes and start delivering them as soon as possible. It's predicted that the industry has just over 10 years to make sure all new buildings are net-zero carbon producers by 2030.

Catriona Lingwood is chief executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 9, 2019
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