UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen
On 7-18 December 2009 Denmark will host a major United Nations conference in Copenhagen. At this conference, a meaningful global agreement must be reached to tackle climate change for when the current Kyoto Protocol - governing reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases - expires in 2012.
How our climate is changing
The following illustrate just some of the evidence of climate change. Other facts can be found on the Met Office Publications website.
- Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere have risen by 40% since the industrial revolution, a figure higher than for at least the last 800,000 years
- 8 of the warmest 10 years on record in the UK have all been since 1990
- Global sea levels have already risen by 10 centimeters during the last 50 years
- Most glaciers in temperate regions of the world are in retreat, as are those along the Antarctic Peninsula and in parts of Greenland.
- In the Arctic, temperatures have risen by up to twice the global average since the mid-1970s, leading to some thawing in permafrost and a decline in late summer Arctic sea ice of about 10% per decade since 1979.
- Northern Hemisphere snow cover has dropped by 5% since the late 1980s.
The Built Environment
Climate change is a global threat, and Copenhagen represents the best opportunity yet to tackle it effectively.
Buildings have been shown to produce more than 40% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Green buildings can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 35%, compared to traditional buildings. Furthermore, green buildings can reduce energy use by 30-50%, reduce waste output by 70%, and reduce water usage by 40%. (source: WGBC)
Within the built environment BRE can help to reduce the environmental impact of construction processes, materials and operations, and provide leading edge information and advice on all aspects of the sustainability of:
- Individual buildings
- Materials, products and services
- Training and events
BRE Group Initiatives
Following extensive international co-operation, leading experts from around the world have developed a universal method of measuring a buildings' carbon footprint. Developed by the world leading rating tools, including BRE Global's BREEAM, and supported by the United Nations Environment Programme, this new 'Common Carbon Metric' will allow emissions from buildings around the world to be consistently assessed and compared. It is a vital step in reducing the contributions of buildings to climate change.
T-ZERO is a project initiated by some of the UK's leading organisations in the fields of energy conservation and housing. The environmental and financial costs of running our homes is likely to increase in the future unless homeowners, private and social landlords and the building industry do something about it. T-ZERO provides an interactive web-based tool that puts energy and environmental performance expertise in the hands of the householder, housing stock manager, designer or builder.