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The global green building movement stands united on fighting climate change

The World Green Building Council, its global network of Green Building Councils in 75 countries, and their 32,000 member companies will stand united in our efforts to fight climate change through green building – in the wake of yesterday’s announcement that the US will withdraw from the groundbreaking Paris Agreement.

WorldGBC and our wider global green building movement played a critical role at the COP21 climate change conference where the Paris Agreement was forged. We were a coordinating partner for the first ever “Buildings Day”; we are a key member of UNEP’s Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, which was established at the summit; and we continue to work with our Green Building Councils and their corporate members to ensure that the building sector will do everything it can to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.

And despite the withdrawal of the US from this global pact, WorldGBC is confident that our member US Green Building Council, committed US city Mayors – members of the C40 and US Conference of Mayors – Governors of States, and CEOs of major companies like Apple and IBM, will continue working tirelessly to meet the US targets set by the Paris Agreement.

And while the US is key to keeping global warming to within 2 degrees – and ideally 1.5 – we can’t forget the importance of focusing on buildings around the world, regardless of Washington’s position. The US contributes roughly 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions; yet buildings account for over 30 per cent. WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero project, which aims for every single building on the planet to produce net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and which has the support of Green Building Councils in the US, as well as other large emitter countries such as India and Brazil, will ensure we can still achieve our global climate change goals. Our report From Thousands to Billions, launched earlier this week, shows how.

So while Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Agreement is both disappointing and short-sighted, the global market transformation towards decarbonisation – in buildings and other sectors – is already happening. It is accelerating. And it is unstoppable.

If anything, our resolve will only strengthen in light of yesterday’s decision. We are hugely encouraged by the strength of our Green Building Councils, and the number of major businesses, countries, states and cities who are rallying together to show that the actions of one single government will not – and cannot – steer us off this inevitable course.

I would urge you to read this piece by Mahesh Ramanujam, CEO of the US Green Building Council, in which he says the US will keep pushing for a sustainable future for all.

“Green building is the key solution to pushing our built environment to be supportive and restorative of all life. We implore you to stay strong and focused and to keep building,” he writes.

We stand by them – and by all Green Building Councils – to deliver on our collective mission: green buildings for everyone, everywhere. 

Terri Wills is CEO of the World Green Building Council