Climate at ‘tipping point’ says academic at Volvo summit

Summit debated how construction sector can limit its impact on climate

PHOTO: Rockström urged society to target a maximum increase in global average temperature of 2°C this century and reduce carbon emissions to zero. Credit: Supplied

A leading Swedish academic has warned that the planet’s climate has reached a “tipping point,” with the earth’s biophysical capacity no longer sufficient to support mankind’s actions.

Professor Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, was speaking at the inaugural Construction Climate Change (CCC) summit, organised by Volvo Construction Equipment. The event was attended by more than 150 delegates.

Rockström urged society to target a maximum increase in global average temperature of 2°C this century and reduce carbon emissions to zero.

“Mankind has become a planetary force for change. To offset this we need a big effort from industry, government and communities in order to keep the planet within the sustainable 2°C limit.”

He was one of the keynote speakers at the CCC event in Gothenburg, Sweden, along with the WWF, European Commission, academia, leading contractors, and NGOs such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and World Green Building Council (WGBC).

The CCC debated issues such as how circular business models and cooperation across the value chain – together with innovations and research – can reduce the climate impact of construction.

“Collaboration and common language will be the key factors to achieving our environmental target,” said Martin Weissburg, president of Volvo CE.

“Industry, business, policy makers, legislators and market forces – all of us have a role in this. We have a shared vision – to improve our planet for the next generations. The CCC is designed to break down the barriers to cooperation and communication between our different interest groups.”

“But it has to be more than just words or study, but also be a call to action that leads to meaningful change. I am confident that the motivation exists and we can make a difference.”

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