Across the country, many companies and CEO responded to President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. Here are several responses from organizations within the FM, real estate and design industries:
The recent decision to withdrawal the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord does not change or alter ASHRAE’s commitment to accelerate the transformation to a more sustainable global built environment.
“Our member-established mission underscores our mandate to serve humanity and create a more sustainable world,” says ASHRAE President Tim Wentz. “ASHRAE is a global Society of 57,000 dedicated professionals in more than 130 countries, committed to reducing the environmental impact of buildings by making them more energy efficient. Our mission will not waiver as geopolitical tides rise and fall.”
“Now, more than ever, ASHRAE affirms its mission to advance the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world,” Wentz says.
ASHRAE recently announced a substantial $1.3 million investment in researching alternative low-GWP (global warming potential) refrigerants.
“ASHRAE’s work is based on research and science. The Society will continue to establish best practice standards for the design and operation of buildings that have lower environmental impacts and concurrently optimize health and human comfort for occupants,” says Wentz.
“Our Society remains dedicated to engineering excellence in environmental stewardship. In fact, the recent Paris Accord announcement makes the critical role of ASHRAE members in reducing the environmental impact of buildings more important than ever before.”
The American Institute of Architects (AIA), reaffirming its ongoing commitment to climate change mitigation, has announced it is opposing the administration’s decision to withdraw the United States as a signatory to the Paris Agreement and is enlisting the help of architects worldwide to meet the climate treaty’s goals—with or without the support of the United States government.
That accord, signed in late 2015 within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), commits the international community to fighting harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
“The United States must remain a leader in the battle to cease harmful and needless practices that damage the planet and its climate, acting out of both environmental concerns and national economic interests,” said AIA President Thomas Vonier, FAIA, in a press statement. “Instead of helping our economy, as the Administration contends, withdrawing from the Paris Agreement will put us behind our major global competitors.”
“We will also urge our members throughout the United States and the world to assist cities, states, organizations and citizen groups in meeting the aims of the climate accord,” Vonier added.
The International Union of Architects (UIA) issued a statement of support for AIA’s opposition to the US exit from the climate accord.
“The landmark Paris Agreement maps the way to a sustainable future,” said Esa Mohamed, UIA President. “We are doing our part and will carry on. That is the underpinning of the 2050 Imperative, adopted by the International Union of Architects at its World Congress in Durban, South Africa. This 2014 accord commits the world architecture community to implementing carbon efficient design strategies and renewable systems.”
Vonier said that AIA will not retreat from its long-established efforts to conserve energy and to deploy renewable resources in buildings. “We will continue to lead in efforts to curb the use of fuels and technologies that needlessly pollute our atmosphere and harm our environment,” he said. “This makes good sense economically, and it is in the best interests of those we serve: our clients and the public.”
“By adhering to our values as a profession that is concerned with human habitat and the health of our environment, we will help to mitigate the harm this decision will do to our economy and to America’s stature across the globe.”
We are facing an important crossroads, and America must keep building. We need to keep building bridges and bonds and breaking barriers in the push for a sustainable future for all. Although the pullout of the U.S. government from the Paris Agreement will be felt across the world, the surge of climate commitments and actions by the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, governments, cities and states will only serve to strengthen the green building movement and keep pushing us forward.
For 24 years, USGBC has led the green building movement with a strong vision—that buildings, communities and cities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within this generation. Today, our efforts continue unabated and with commitment and hope that’s stronger than ever.
Yes, hope. We are hopeful for the future because we know that our movement is a community of 13 million strong, and it’s growing. We are encouraged by the continued commitment of this community to build a sustainable future for all.
U.S. companies, including many USGBC members, are already working to address business risks from climate change and to adapt their businesses to domestic and global opportunities created around climate-mitigation needs. Businesses and local governments are wisely seeking and investing in low-carbon fuels and technologies to stay on the cutting edge of the global economy. And with platforms like Arc, more and more companies and government entities are tracking their carbon emissions, committing to reduction targets and taking action.
Right now, “business as usual” is no longer an option. With the work of our organization, our members, our volunteers and many others, we have reached the point where the transition to a low-carbon economy is inevitable, but making the transition remains urgent.
All around us, we see new leaders who are ready to rise, inspired by the promise of a brighter future for our children and for generations to come. They are the big corporations and small business owners, educators and innovators, scientists and activists, nonprofit employees and policymakers, advocates and more who are working every day to change our world, definitively, for the better. To these leaders, green building is the key solution to pushing our built environment to be supportive and restorative of all life.
At USGBC, we implore you to stay strong and focused and to keep building. And remember: we stand with you, and we are all in. Let’s continue to LEED on.