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Sustainable Buildings – What Needs to Happen at Cornwall's G7 Summit Tomorrow?

Sustainable Buildings – What Needs to Happen at Cornwall's G7 Summit Tomorrow?
10 June 2021

Johnson Controls has given its support to an open letter issued by the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, urging the G7 and other global leaders to accelerate a "just transition" in the race to net-zero and climate resilience, calling for bold commitments, policy and actions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

The Alliance, an informal group facilitated by the World Economic Forum, of which Johnson Controls is a member, is the largest community of CEOs in the world committed to climate action – representing 21 countries and 13 industries with combined revenues of $2.4 trillion.

In its letter to the G7, it states that the current trajectory for greenhouse gas emissions is leading the world to “current and irreversible outcomes”, and says that with just five months to go before COP26 in November, “bold action” across private and public sectors is needed.


We know that decarbonisation of buildings is part of the solution as buildings represent some 40 per cent of global emissions. Reducing energy waste from buildings also saves money, so there is every reason to accelerate action.”

–George Oliver

Chair and CEO, Johnson Controls


Indoor Environments and the Role of Buildings


According to the European Academies Science Advisory Council, Europeans spend a very large part of their lives in buildings. So the quality of a building’s indoor environment can have a large effect on the health of its occupants. It can also affect their ability to work and enjoy their activities. A potentially good indoor environment can be created by building designers and builders, but that environment cannot be realised without using energy to provide heating, cooling and ventilation. Much of that energy today is supplied using fossil fuels, which cause buildings to produce about 25 per cent of the European Union’s (EU’s) total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and so contribute to climate change.



Action must therefore be taken urgently to reduce the energy that is needed to operate the approximately 250 million existing buildings in the EU as well as all the new buildings that may be built in the future, and existing energy supplies must also be replaced with very low carbon alternatives.

“There is no time to waste in tackling climate change. Technologies already exist today that can put us solidly on the pathway to net-zero by 2050. We know that decarbonisation of buildings is part of the solution as buildings represent some 40 per cent of global emissions. Reducing energy waste from buildings also saves money, so there is every reason to accelerate action,” said George Oliver, Chair and CEO of Johnson Controls.

“The G7 Summit is a critically important opportunity for wealthy nations to show needed leadership, but it has to be a collective effort. Governments can expedite further action from companies; businesses are ready to move fast and boost investments to create a sustainable future.”


What Will be Discussed at the 2021 G7 Summit?


Meeting in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Boris Johnson will host the first in-person G7 Summit in almost two years, from 11-13 June. The seven members (UK, USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, France and Italy, plus the EU)  will discuss how to build back better from COVID-19. Johnson will also urge leaders to join the UK in efforts to vaccinate the world and support the Global Pandemic Radar – a new global surveillance system that will protect immunisation programmes against new vaccine-resistant variants by detecting them before they have the chance to spread.

This is the first G7 where all members will have committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, so sustainability endeavours will be high on the agenda.

It is expected that the Cornwall Summit will advance the work the UK and other G7 countries have done to make sure all girls have access to 12 years of quality education. The Prime Minister will ask other leaders to make pledges to the Global Partnership for Education, which is working in over 90 of the world’s poorest countries to get more children into school. 

With the USA, Great Britain will also be drawing up a new Atlantic Charter:

"President Biden and I will sign a charter that encompasses science, technology and trade and, above all, that underscores our joint commitment to Nato that has been indispensable to our security for decades. The time has come to dispel any sense of gloom and show how Nato is looking ahead to 2030, reinvigorating its plans and doctrines, protecting our allies on Europe’s eastern flank and safeguarding our people in the new domains of space and cyberspace," said Boris Johnson today.

Picture: a photograph from 2019's last in-person G7 meeting. From left to right: Angela Merkel, Narendra Modi, Giuseppe Conte and Boris Johnson

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 10 June 2021


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