Paris in the Spring

Looking forward to the 2015 Climate Change Summit.

Figures were revealed last month that revealed record CO2 concentration levels in the atmosphere in March this year.

A report compiled by US Science agency NOAA shows that for the first time since records began, the parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere were over 400 globally for a month.

Over the past decade, the building services sector has been called upon to rise to the challenge of reducing CO2 emissions. We have seen new F-Gas regulations controlling refrigerants in air conditioning and increasingly tough rules on energy efficiency in buildings. Most recently ESOS has put big business and its carbon performance in the spotlight yet again.

But more measures could be on the horizon.

In November 2015, with March’s CO2 statistics fresh in the minds of delegates, the UN will convene in Paris for its 2015 Climate Change Summit.

The goal of the event is that, by the December 11th, a new international climate agreement will be in place covering all major greenhouse gas emitters that would take effect after the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol in 2020.

The purpose is to agree a deal to cut countries’ carbon emissions from harmful levels, and some members have already submitted how they intend to achieve this. Among the early declarers is the United States, whose strategy gives a clear indication that commercial buildings will play a major part. They say they have “finalised multiple measures addressing buildings sector emissions, including energy conservation standards for 29 categories of appliances and equipment as well as a building code determination for commercial buildings.”

With building services equipment responsible for over 80 per cent of energy consumption in commercial buildings, if the US – or any other major emitting nation – does not have this area as one of its prime targets their plan will be flawed.

So the building services sector should prepare to meet yet more challenges after the meeting in Paris – and 2020 does not leave us much time.

Karen Fletcher is Director of Keystone Communications

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