Time for action, not “blah, blah, blah”
“All we hear is blah, blah, blah. Build back better. Blah, blah, blah. Green economy. Blah, blah, blah. Net zero by 2050. Blah, blah, blah… Our hopes and ambitions drown in their empty promises.”
So went Greta Thunberg’s blistering assessment of the recent COP26 climate summit. She’s not wrong. After 26 years of COPs, global emissions are as high as they’ve ever been.
That’s not to say we haven’t made progress. Before the Paris climate accord in 2015, we were on track to a terrifying 5°C of warming by 2100. Now, Climate Action Tracker estimates that we’re headed toward roughly 2.7°C under current policies—and lower if new national pledges are actually carried out.
But, it’s also true that we are a far cry from the 50% reductions in emissions per decade that is necessary for a reasonable chance at keeping warming at or below 1.5°C. Meanwhile, the glaring and scary impacts of the climate crisis continue to accelerate: most recently, the Colorado grassfires that consumed as many as 500 homes in a matter of hours in the final days of 2021.
Our climate predicament at the dawn of 2022 is mind-bending. As Jesse Jenkins of MIT tweeted recently, “We’re no longer totally f$%@ed, but we’re also far from totally unf$@%*ed!”
As overwhelming as the climate crisis can feel, it’s helpful to remember that we who work in the building sector have more power than many to address it. Buildings are a big part of the climate problem, responsible for about 40% of global emissions, so they can be a big part of climate solutions, too. When we combine Passive House—new and retrofit—with low embodied carbon materials, building electrification, and clean energy, we are on the path to climate action. And, if we can facilitate equitable participation in our projects and equitable access to the buildings that result, then the work can be a form of climate justice, too.
The stories that follow explore how project teams, manufacturers, and policymakers are charting a path toward building as climate action and climate justice. While no one pretends to have all the answers, we’re seeing an acceleration of tangible progress.
It’s inspiring. And, it isn’t “blah, blah, blah”. So, here’s to more action!
Finally, a big thank you goes out to all the attendees of our live events and our podcast listeners, as well as to all of our amazing sponsors, for helping make 2021 a phenomenal year for the Accelerator. We are looking forward to strengthening Passive House action in 2022!