The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has called for immediate action to keep global warming within the 1.5 degree target outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement. A new IPCC report has underlined the importance of stopping global warming from climbing above the critical threshold by 2050. The report, which calls for sustainable technologies to be adopted across all sectors of the economy, has been welcomed by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

GBCA CEO Romilly Madew says a concerted international effort is needed to tackle climate change and work towards a more sustainable built environment.

According to Madew, a quarter of carbon emissions come from buildings and can be eliminated by using existing sustainable technologies and achieving best-practice benchmarks such as the GBCA’s Green Star certification.

She reiterates GBCA’s commitment to ensuring Australian buildings are high-performing and sustainable, with the organisation’s growing membership testament to the increasing understanding that sustainability is not just good for the environment, but also for the bottom line.

Madew notes that an increasing focus on energy security and affordability will  not only help meet Australia’s emission reduction targets but also make low emissions buildings a winner for businesses, tenants, owners and the community.

GBCA’s Carbon Positive Roadmap for the built environment, which was released earlier this year, sets out the clear steps required for commercial, institutional and government buildings and fitouts to decarbonise, and proposes a range of policy positions for industry to support. It calls for upgrades to energy efficiency requirements in the National Construction Code and an expansion of requirements for the mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency.

Several Australian businesses and organisations including AMP Capital Wholesale Office Fund, Frasers Property Australia, GPT Wholesale Office Fund, Integral Group, Stockland’s retirement living and logistics divisions, Cundall, and the City of Sydney are among the early signatories to the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.

The IPCC report calls for the elimination of coal-fired electricity by 2050 as well as a substantial reduction in the use of natural gas, with electricity markets encouraged to transition to renewable, low or zero emissions technology.

The report is based on more than 6,000 scientific works, and will inform the United Nations’ Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, where governments from around the world will assess the Paris Agreement.