By 2050, the 20 largest cities in the world will be located in the developing countries. The expansion of these cities will require energy, water and infrastructure systems, as well as housing for everybody. The vision for the future must be one of encouraging people to move from just surviving to one of beginning to live normally. In his address to delegates attending the 6th International VDZ Congress in Düsseldorf last month, Björn Stigson, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), spoke of the low-carbon, resource-efficient economy that will create green jobs, help mitigate climate change and ease the impacts of population growth in the developing countries. The world is in transition towards sustainability, and this involves society, the economy and the environment.
Earlier this year the final report, Transforming the Market, of the Energy Efficiency in Building (EEB) project was published by the WBSCD. The report states: “to achieve an energy-efficient world, governments, businesses and individuals must transform the building sector through a multitude of actions, which include increasing energy awareness globally”. Buildings today account for 40% of the world’s energy use. The resulting carbon emissions are substantially more than those in the transportation sector. New buildings that will use more energy than necessary are being built every day, and millions of today’s inefficient buildings will still be standing in 2050. Energy use in new and existing buildings must be reduced aggressively to reduce the planet’s energy-related footprint. The challenge is to get the right institutions in place and to get them to work. Climate change is not a short-term priority; it requires countries to be willing to accept responsibilities for achieving their targets, and to lend support to the developing countries in the years ahead.
With just a few weeks left before the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, it is anticipated that negotiations to reach a new global climate deal will be difficult. As Björn says, “Around the world there is unprecedented pressure on governments for something to be done. They must introduce legislation”. He points out that in the run up to Copenhagen, there is a danger of low expectation. For example, it is unlikely that the US Congress will pass legislation before Copenhagen. That said the US, the EU and China want to be leaders in “cleantech” products and services. At present, Germany is the main exporter of green technology but China is looking to take over that position.
Björn told the VDZ delegates that the cement industry was addressing the problem of CO2 emissions in a constructive way. The Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) now has 18 members who are responsible for producing 800 million t of cement worldwide and they are making progress in reducing CO2, and in exercising regulations relating to health and safety.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/28102009/low_carbon_economy/