FIEC outlines manifesto at COP21

07 December 2015

At the COP21 climate change conference, FIEC marked the event with a conference of its own, which saw the launch of its manifesto 10 Proposals to Tackle Climate Change’.

“Climate change is today’s big issue,” said Johan Willemen, president of FIEC (The European Construction Industries Federation). “We are here to do our bit for this major international summit, to tell the world what the construction industry is able to do in order to tackle this major, challenging phenomenon.”

Willemen explained that as buildings use of 40% of all energy consumed in the EU, improving their energy efficiency could contribute to the key COP21 target of a maximum rise of 2⁰C in global warming up to 2015.

Promoting the energy efficiency of Europe’s built environment is the first of FIEC’s ten proposals.

And, although Willemen said he regretted that national governments had not succeeded in achieving the rate of improvement necessary. To reach the EU targets set for energy efficiency, he welcomed the challenge for the construction sector to renovate Europe’s energy-wasting building stock.

He said, “Contractors are the group that has the solutions to transform Europe’s buildings, many of which are in need of major renovation”.

Energy efficiency is not the only solution for climate change mitigation and adaptation, according to FIEC. Entire cities need to be climate-proofed, to protect people against climate-related disasters in the future. FIEC proposed collaboration with city planners and local public authorities to ensure that robust maintenance and construction programmes tackled the climate change challenge head on, anticipating the risks and providing the solutions.

Meanwhile, clean diesel technology will be important in helping the US to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% by 2025, according to Allen Schaeffer, the executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

“We don’t need to wait for diesel technology to significantly reduce CO₂ emissions,” Schaeffer said. “Diesel-powered equipment in the field right now and diesel vehicles on the road today deliver substantial greenhouse gas reductions and air quality benefits.

“Diesel engines have emerged as the fuel-efficient technology of choice for many decades of doing the business of the global economy, with diesel engines and fuel moving the overwhelming majority of people and goods in every corner of the world.”

NCC, a contractor in the Nordic region is connecting itself with the UN-backed Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) climate initiative and has set itself a target of a 50% reduction in its CO₂ emissions by 2020. The reduction uses 2015 as the baseline year.

Christina Lindbäck, vice president of Corporate Sustainability at NCC, said, “As a major construction and property company, we have the opportunity to make a difference with regard to the impact on our climate. Our emissions take the form of greenhouse gases generated through the use of materials and the fact that a large portion of our energy use is still reliant on fossil fuels, which is something we are working hard to reduce.

“Initiatives in recent years have included the conversion of a number of asphalt plants, switching them from oil to wood pellets, and we are working continuously to build ever-more resource-efficient and energy-saving products,”

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