As this issue of The Construction Index rolls off the press, world leaders (some of them, at least) are gathering in Glasgow for the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties – COP26 for short.
It’s easy to dismiss this gathering as a media circus – and indeed it will be a rare opportunity for the world’s paparazzi, what with the Queen, Prince Charles, Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron, Boris Johnson and Sir David Attenborough all in attendance and with entertainment provided by Swedish songbird Greta Thunberg, fresh from her Rickrolling triumph at the Stockholm climate concert.
Climate change is the biggest story out there at the moment, and not just because of COP26. It’s the one issue that affects us all (OK, there’s Covid too. But, unlike Covid-19, there’s no vaccine for global warming).
Since the construction industry is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, the climate agenda is now the biggest driver of research and innovation within the built environment.
Twenty years ago all the attention was on site safety and process efficiency – still major concerns, of course. But climate has become the dominant issue. My guess is that climate change is the single biggest driver for construction R&D across the industry spectrum, from plant to materials.
Things are changing, and they’re changing fast. In this issue of the magazine, we take a snapshot of UK construction’s response to climate change, as well as a look at how the cement industry is cleaning up its act and how plant hirers are cutting their fuel usage by storing energy – in flywheels!