Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Climate Change: New Risks



Our warming planet is impacting the built environment as well as the natural systems, which are beginning to disintegrate. It's not just the increasing impact of burning forests and major flooding on structures that result in ongoing severe damage to entire communities now. It means that structures and traffic infrastructure will necessarily reduce their carbon content in the larger efforts to combat the increasing "forcing" of carbon emissions globally. The American Institute of Architects has taken an aggressive position on this with its 2030 Challenge, which changes how building types and construction materials are used in new construction.

This involves revising the building codes to raise the bar for decarbonization of the entire supply chain for construction and development. California is currently in the process of doing this. The insurance industry is also looking at increased risks for climate change damages, which will only increase. On the proactive side of this action is a shift in the professional liabilities involved with the design of building projects and infrastructure development. This is known as the "standard of care" that applies to licensed professionals. 

"A new report released by the Scalable Climate Action Group within the institute’s Strategic Council looks at levers of change that can potentially bring about widespread climate-change actions. These levers include climate literacy; environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments; and policy changes. Also on the list is professional liability associated with neglecting climate concerns during design."

This reflects a changing policy environment which is leading the manufacturing and supply chains to provide electrified buildings and electric cars, as well as power generation with wind turbines and solar panels. This is a necessarily massive shift, which will take decades to completely implement, but that can be an achievable effort by the first world countries to shut down their historically excessive carbon emissions. We're twenty years behind in this necessary effort, so it has become more difficult to accomplish. But it's still achievable if it's done as a rapid global effort to repair the damage that human civilization has done.