Giving up on tackling climate change ‘is to give up on prospects for future generations’, says organisation’s president

The RIBA has slammed last week’s decision by President Trump to take the US out of the Paris climate change agreement.

In a statement, the institution’s president Jane Duncan said backing out of the Paris agreement represented “one of the most regressive decisions of our time. To give up on tackling climate change is to give up on the prospects for future generations all around the world.”

Duncan said stopping climate change could only be achieved as part of what she called “a global and committed community”.

She said: “The RIBA is determined that built environment professionals will continue to push toward agreed sustainable development goals regardless of the decision of the president of the United States of America, and we wholeheartedly back the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) commitment to do so.”

Last week the AIA said it would urge its members around the world to continue to help meet the accord’s aims.

AIA president Thomas Vonier said that far from helping US businesses, as claimed by President Trump, withdrawing from the Paris agreement would hurt American interests.

“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,” he added.

Meanwhile the RICS’ director of global research and policy, Clare Eriksson, said it was “obviously disappointing that any country would pull out of the Paris Agreement”. 

Eriksson said tackling climate change was “a strategic priority for the built environment profession. This is vital as buildings account for 40% of all carbon emissions and therefore the buildings sector has a key contribution to make towards climate change mitigation.”

The RICS was a founding member of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, she added, “which has as its main objective the implementation of the Paris Agreement by addressing key barriers to a low-carbon, energy-efficient, and resilient buildings and construction sector”.