“The world needs to intensify its efforts (…) to contain climate change in the magnitudes dictated by science —as much as 1.5º Celsius— “, said the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, during the opening of the Climate Action Summit, held in New York last September. “The road we are taking at this moment faces a global warming of at least 3º Celsius by the end of the century,” he added, and concluded: “This is not a Climate Negotiation Summit; you cannot negotiate with nature; This is a Climate Action Summit».
About 2,000 cities were represented among the main actors of the conference. After all, they consume more than two thirds of the energy available in the world, contribute proportionally to the greenhouse effect and climate change, and are places where their effects reach a greater number of people. During the Summit, delegates from these 2,000 cities committed themselves to giving climate risk a place in decision-making, planning and investment, to create, until 2030, at least 1,000 financeable viable and climate smart urban projects. But not only the city representatives came. Banks and companies, civil society organizations and governments at all levels, also pledged to finance and build a new generation of sustainable cities.
The “Carbon-free buildings for all” initiative was presented, with the aim of decarbonising the construction sector of the participating countries. These committed during the Summit that the buildings they build after 2030 will be 100% carbon-free, and that all those existing in 2050 acquire that same brand.
The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, announced his project to create the Alliance for Climate Ambition. 59 countries indicated their intention to join the initiative, with the elaboration of a climate action plan, while another 11 have already started internal processes to reinforce their ambitions in this regard and incorporate them into their national plans. In addition, 65 countries and the European Union joined 10 regions, 102 cities, 93 companies and 12 investors in a firm commitment to the implementation of infrastructure and the necessary investments to make their carbon dioxide emissions zero in the 2050 year.
Public and private institutions, as well as the alliances of the countries present at the Summit, announced numerous international initiatives, not only in the field of construction, to combat climate change. The International Finance Corporation, the European Investment Bank, the Global Environment Facility and other private organizations also pledged to align their construction sector financing with the Paris Agreement and national climate policies.
Achieving the goal that all new buildings have zero carbon footprint from 2030, will require an investment in the construction of sustainable buildings, according to UN estimates, of 83.7 trillions euros in global terms, almost the Global GDP of 2018, more than 4 times that of the United States and 7 times that of China in the same year. 70% of that development, according to the same estimates, will take place in urban areas.