Engineering alliance calls for leaders to have ‘courage and vision’ to tackle climate crisis


ENGINEERING alliance Actuate UK has issued a warning to world leaders ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, urging them to tackle the climate crisis ‘before it is too late’.

The trade body said the construction industry is committed to helping in the fight, but that leaders must have the ‘courage and vision’ to make it happen.

Actuate UK has repeated a call from its manifesto for the ‘widespread rollout’ of renewables technology to reduce the carbon impact of buildings.

Julia Evans, CEO of BSRIA, a member of Actuate UK leading on its net zero policy area, said, “To achieve the demanding net zero reductions they aspire to, it is vital for leaders at this upcoming summit to understand what it takes to turn their vision into a practical reality. Together, we must tackle the climate crisis before it is too late – and that means cooperating and collaborating like never before to find real and practical solutions to reducing the carbon impact of buildings across the world.

“Climate change is no respecter of boundaries and will affect us all if we don’t act now, and those who work across the built environment are ready to play a massive part if they are given the right tools to do so.”

Fiona Hodgson, CEO of Actuate UK member SNIPEF, added, “There is no doubt that the construction industry has the skills and innovation at its fingertips – we just need those in power to have the courage to make the green revolution a reality and agree to roll out such innovation on a mass scale. Without the vision to look ahead and recognise that we need these solutions now, nothing will change and we will plunge our planet even further into crisis, endangering our environment and populations for generations to come.”

Alan Wilson, MD of electrotechnical trade association SELECT, said any potential action should follow the net zero pledges contained in the Actuate UK manifesto, He commented, “We have already called for efficient heating and cooling in buildings, improved indoor air quality and a fast vehicle charging infrastructure – all things that are within reach and can bring about change if we are bold enough to make them happen. Actuate UK itself is committed to making a difference, with our members pledging to see net zero targets achieved in existing buildings through retrofit activities, and to assist with the uptake of low-carbon technologies across government, industry and operators.”

Chris Yates, CEO of the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations, added, “Climate change isn’t something that’s going to happen in ten or 20 years’ time – it’s real, it’s happening now and we don’t have a second to spare if we are to stop it getting worse. All of us who work in the engineering services have a duty to make our voice heard and repeat the message that the technology and techniques that can make a difference to tomorrow are already here and need to be rolled out today. Without these voices being heard, and our leaders making real change at COP26, we will just continue to sleepwalk into disaster and leave a legacy that no one will be able to repair.”