Building homes in a climate emergency

Chris AWOl crop

As the public and politicians realise the need to change – and fast – what will this mean for housebuilding, asks Chris Brown

Although it may strike some as sacrilegious, we can debate whether we have a housing crisis. We can’t debate whether we have a climate emergency, only what we do about it.

It is frustrating that it takes children on school strike, and Extinction Rebellion, to bring the message home to the extent that we now have local authorities, and the UK parliament, declaring climate emergency.

But proportionate action, as yet, not a lot.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, during her UK visit this month, tweeted the graph of the reduction in carbon emissions (45% from 2010 levels by 2030) needed to keep the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees.

As the graph makes clear, if we had started a couple of decades ago when the need was first known, the adjustment would have been gradual and manageable. Now it is akin to trying a hand brake turn in a supertanker.

If, or when, the required level of response becomes clear to the public and politicians, the implications for the housing industry could be dramatic.

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