On Oct. 6, 2021, HMC Architects—along with other leaders from the world’s largest and most influential architecture firms—issued the 1.5°C COP26 Communiqué – a challenge to sovereign world governments to step up their commitments to reduce carbon emissions from the built environment to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C carbon budget.

The window of opportunity to take decisive action to limit global warming and avoid the worst impacts of climate change is closing. According to a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), unless there are immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5° will be beyond reach.

“Climate change is a threat that requires swift action,” said HMC President and CEO Brian Staton. “As architects, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to eliminate carbon emissions and reduce energy demand—making positive changes for the human condition, society, and overall better health.”

Buildings are the largest source of the world’s carbon emissions globally and account for approximately 40 percent of total emissions, and when accounting for the embodied carbon of building interiors, systems, and associated infrastructure, that percentage is substantially higher. Decarbonizing the built environment is therefore essential if we are not to exceed the 1.5°C target.

Spearheaded by the independent, non-profit organization Architecture 2030, the challenge was issued just weeks before the start of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) on Oct. 31st, where governments will be negotiating and setting new emissions reduction targets. Currently, none of the world’s major economies have a climate plan that would meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement.

View the COP26 Communiqué Call to Action video below. View the full press release from Architecture 2030 here.