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Last edited 21 Dec 2021
COP26: A BSRIA summary
Julia Evans OBE, BSRIA CEO, discusses the outcome of COP26, summarising the views of the BSRIA membership base and giving further information about the BSRIA Guide: Illustrated Guide to Renewable Technologies.
 What did COP26 achieve?
There were a number of agreements announced as the event progressed, most notable being the agreements on deforestation and on methane. However, as COP26 closed, there were moments of drama as the COP chairman, Alok Sharma, pursued commitment to the phasing out of the burning of coal.
However, following the intervention of India and China, the commitment was diluted to phase down rather than phase out coal. Although it was clear that Mr Sharma was deeply disappointed at this change in wording, he went on to reflect what he saw as an historic agreement and as having achieved something quite remarkable.
Certainly, this is the first ever deal that explicitly plans to reduce coal consumption. But what else did he report? He reported the need to supercharge efforts to reduce emissions by 2030; to double the funding for developing nations to adapt to climate change by 2025 – the original plan being to commit a billion dollars by 2020, a further five years to deliver on that bigger target of $2 billion; to boost plans for paying for the loss and damage climate change inflicts on developing countries; and to agree rules on carbon offsets.
Members were clear that their commitments to carbon reduction remained strong, and they reflected on their existing and developing delivery plans. As to COP26, while they noted the exceptional performance of speakers, such as Sir David Attenborough, they remained unconvinced that the event itself had contributed much that was either new or innovative
In the week following COP, we held the 2021 BSRIA Briefing and it took as its theme Net Zero: Necessity not choice. The event reflected on the key things we all need to do to deliver, and the lucid nature of the presentations and the conviction of the speakers emphasised a real determination to deliver a carbon reduction.
 Illustrated Guide to Renewable Technologies
To help industry deliver this carbon reduction, BSRIA is publishing the Illustrated Guide to Renewable Technologies (BG 34). This guide is aimed at construction professionals who don't need to be experts on the topic but who do need to communicate with those who are.
It provides an insight into the key technologies for onsite renewables – such as heat pumps, photovoltaics, and energy storage – as well as lesser-used technologies, such as building mounted wind turbines and grid scale renewables.
So, while some BSRIA members reflected a polite scepticism about the efficacy of COP, they showed a deep determination to play their part in reducing carbon emissions. And they hold a clear conviction: Change is a necessity and not a choice, and BSRIA is a key player in helping them achieve their net zero targets.
A video version of this article is available
This article originally appeared on the BSRIA website. It was posted in December 2021.
- BSRIA articles on Designing Buildings.
- BSRIA Briefing 2021.
- Climate change science.
- COP21 Paris 2015.
- Five key themes for global infrastructure policy in 2021.
- How can we help achieve net zero?
- Net zero carbon buildings
- Renewable and low carbon energy.
- Transitioning to eco-cities: Reducing carbon emissions while improving urban welfare.
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