COP26 Expectations

COP26 Expectations

Read this vital series of essays providing multiple perspectives on expected and needed outcomes from COP26.

For COP26, Buildings & Cities presents this major series of 30 short, learned commentaries from the built environment community that are primarily aimed at policy makers. These essays reveal the diversity of issues that need to be embraced and, most importantly, point to constructive approaches to mitigation and adaptation.

The range of topics goes from overarching issues (e.g. overconsumption, geopolitics, intergenerational equity, climate justice, nature-based solutions and long-term thinking - to mention only a few) to more specific issues at the levels of cities and buildings.  Lessons and actions can be drawn for different actors in central and local governments, the construction industry supply side, NGOs, higher education and civil society.

Each essay focuses and discusses one vital outcome that is needed from COP26 relating to the built environment. This can be a direct aspect of what should be agreed at COP26 or the impact of COP26 at the national or local levels. A variety of perspectives are presented - from different disciplines, geographies and scales. Taken together, this provides a powerful overview of overarching policy issues and the necessary strategic / practical actions at the societal, urban and building levels.

COP26 & Beyond: What Role for Cities?

Were the needs and demands of cities and local governments marginalised in their roles and representation at COP26?

Why Building Regulations Must Incorporate Embodied Carbon

By Harpa Birgisdóttir (Aalborg University Copenhagen, DK)

COP-26: A Commitment to Regulate Embodied Carbon

By Jane Anderson (ConstructionLCA, UK)

COP-26: Engaging Built Environment Professionals to Support Climate Justice

By Sonja Klinsky (Arizona State University, US) and Anna Mavrogianni (University College London, UK)

The Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project in Seoul rejuvenated a river system that had been buried underground. This nature-based solution increased biodiversity, reduced urban heat island effects, improved flood protection & created many social benefits.

By Timon McPhearson (The New School, US)

Cities as Climate Saviours? Political Strategy Ahead of COP-26

By Linda K. Westman (University of Sheffield, UK)

Healing Cities: Toward Urban Climate Justice & Slum Health

By Jason Corburn (University of California, Berkeley, US)

Why Digital Building Passports Are Vital for Change

By Thomas Lützkendorf (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, DE), Ursula Hartenberger (PathTo2050, BE), York Ostermeyer (Chalmers U, SE)

Figure 1.

By Ellen van Bueren (Delft University of Technology, NL)

Climate Adaptation in Cities: Planning for Heat Vulnerability

By Rohinton Emmanuel (Glasgow Caledonian University, UK)

Adapting our Cities and Urban Planning to Climate Change: Microclimates

By Michael Donn (Victoria University Wellington, NZ)

Reconcile Healthy Indoor Environments and Climate Mitigation

By Christhina Candido, Rebecca Bentley and Samin Marzban (U Melbourne, AU)

Building insulated with straw bales in prefabricated timber boxes at Saint-Dié des Vosges, FR. Architect: ASP Architecture / Photo: Arthur Janin

By Guillaume Habert (ETH Zurich, CH)

Climate Justice and English Dwellings

By Jonathon Taylor (Tampere U, FI), Lauren Ferguson* , Anna Mavrogianni* & Clare Heaviside* (*University College London, UK)

India’s Role in Sub-Saharan Africa: COP-26 Expectations

By Ankit Kumar (U of Sheffield, UK), Joshua Kirshner (U of York, UK), Lata Narayanaswamy (U of Leeds, UK) and Enora Robin (U of Sheffield, UK)

COP26: Sufficiency Should be First

By Yamina Saheb (Lausanne University, CH)

Scenarios for China’s building-related CO2 reductions. Adapted from: China Association of Building Energy Efficiency (2020)

By Wei Yang and Jie Li (Tianjin University, CN)

Why High-Resolution Climate Modelling Matters: Cities and Health

By Clare Heaviside (University College London – UCL), Jonathon Taylor (UCL & Tampere U), Oscar Brousse (UCL), Charles Simpson (UCL)

New Approaches to Building Regulations Needed

By Fionn Stevenson (University of Sheffield, UK)

Next Steps for COP-26: Capability for Resilient Cities and Regions

By Sarah J. Darby (Oxford University, UK)

Measured atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa Observatory.  Note: red = the monthly mean values; black = the same, after correction for the average seasonal cycle.

By William E. Rees (Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia, CA)

Unlock Carbon Dependency: Integrate Low-Carbon Development and Territorial Justice

By Stefan Siedentop (ILS - Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development & TU Dortmund University, DE)

Can COP-26 Accelerate Cities’ Climate Actions?

By Maria Balouktsi (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, DE)

Trust and Empower the World’s Schoolchildren

By Robin Nicholson CBE (Cullinan Studio and The Edge, UK)

Responsibilities to the 'Climate Generation'

By Raymond J. Cole (University of British Columbia, CA)

World GHG emissions in 2016. Courtesy: Climate Watch & World Reources Institute.

By Thomas Lützkendorf (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, DE)

Not all floods are from climate change. (Photo by Ilan Kelman)

By Ilan Kelman (University College London, UK)

Avoid Unintended Consequences: Provide Justice and Agency

By Magdalena Barborska-Narozny (Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, PL)

The Elephant in the Climate Change Room

By Mark Levine (Senior Advisor, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, US)

Image courtesy of Keith West

By Jeroen van der Heijden (Victoria University of Wellington, NZ and Australian National University, AU)

Managing the Long Term and Complexity: Policies for Mitigation

By Bruno Peuportier (MINES ParisTech, PSL Research University, FR)

Latest Commentaries

Turkey and Syria Earthquake 2023. A devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the Turkish province of Kahramanmaras. Photo: Twintyre (Shutterstock).

In light of the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, David Oswald and Trivess Moore (RMIT University) reflect on the rights that inhabitants have for buildings to be safe, healthy, comfortable and robust. However, serial and various failings in the construction supply side and its oversight by governments mean greater accountability is needed.

Blind Spots in Energy Policy

As a policy practitioner who leads a national organisation representing households and small businesses in shaping the future of Australia’s energy system, Lynne Gallagher (Energy Consumers Australia) responds to the Buildings & Cities special issue, Energy, Emerging Technologies and Gender in Homes.  Insights from lived experience reveal blind spots in the design, provision and use of smart tech that adversely affect energy outcomes.