In Paris in late 2015, the 21st annual Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change took place. At this historic event, 195 countries reached an unprecedented agreement to combat climate change by accelerating and intensifying the transition to a near-zero carbon global economy this century: the Paris Agreement on climate change, otherwise known as L’Accord de Paris. The central element of this agreement is the aggressive scientific objective of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels and of pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.
Buildings account for about a third of climate change-causing global carbon dioxide emissions, more than any other sector, meaning that changes to newly developed and existing buildings will play a significant role in mitigating climate change. At the same time, it will be critical to adapt the built environment to withstand the impacts of a climate that is already changing profoundly. The Paris Agreement places equal weight on this so-called “climate adaptation” imperative.
A Summary for Decision Makers
This summary paper from ULI provides an overview of the key issues and implications for real estate that arise from the Paris Agreement and the steps that the industry can take in response. The paper does the following:
- Highlights the key elements of the Paris Agreement and the policy, market, and climate drivers of change in the post-COP-21 world;
- Outlines the nature of the opportunities that exist for the real estate industry, how leaders within the sector can set out to capture them, and the risks for those who choose not to; and
- Sets out the high-level steps that real estate organizations should consider taking to keep themselves relevant and competitive in the post-COP-21 era.