CAGBC response to G7 communiqué

Read our response to the document from the G7 ministers of Climate, Energy, and the Environment.

CAGBC Staff on April 19, 2023

Zero Carbon

Ahead of the G7 Ministers’ Meeting in Sapporo last week, the CAGBC submitted a joint letter with the global network of Green Building Councils (GBCs) to the G7 ministers of Climate, Energy, and the Environment. The signatories on this letter represent over 10,000 organizations across the G7 countries, all advocating for green buildings as a solution to climate change. The WorldGBC network also launched the ‘Global Policy Principles for a Sustainable Built Environment’ last week.

“The communiqué released on April 16 by Minister Steven Guilbeault, and the other G7 climate ministers, reaffirmed that green buildings are a global solution to climate change,” said Brent Gilmour, Chief Commercial Officer, CAGBC. “The recommendations of the GBCs were acknowledged, including the urgency of advancing zero carbon buildings. I look forward to seeing this take shape in policy and action.”

The communiqué highlighted the importance of buildings and how decarbonizing the life cycle of buildings must be part of a coordinated response to climate change. Specifically, the G7 climate ministers “recommit[ed] to advancing targets to reduce buildings’ emissions across their whole life cycle in line with keeping a limit of 1.5 °C temperature rise within reach.”

The communiqué also called on the need for “supporting measures, regulations, and international collaboration so that new and renovated near-zero emission and climate resilient buildings are on the path to reach the 2050 net-zero goal.” Explicit reference was made to accelerating “the phaseout of the installation of new fossil fuel heating systems and the transition to cleaner technology, including heat pumps.” In support of this transition, the G7 ministers highlighted the importance of “electrification, fuel switching, grid flexibility, digitalization of energy demand information, and disclosure of energy and climate-related information.”

Buildings represent the largest contributing sector to global carbon emissions and the third-largest contributing sector in Canada. Through national and global efforts, GBCs like CAGBC are well placed to understand the critical role that buildings have in delivering on climate goals such as the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“We already have the cost-effective, proven and practical solutions needed to achieve net zero emission retrofits and new buildings,” said Gilmour. “What’s needed is the political ambition to match industry willingness to implement and deliver solutions at scale. We hope to see these promising statements from the G7 climate ministers reflected in the next international negotiations, such as the G20 in India and COP 28 in Dubai. We also hope to see these statements translated into action at the national level.”

In alignment with the G7 climate ministers’ call to action, CAGBC has committed to supporting the transition of Canada’s large buildings to be on a path to zero. In support of the communiqué, CAGBC continues to focus on reducing carbon emissions through green buildings, such as providing input into the proposed Canada Green Buildings Strategy, having operational and embodied carbon in building codes, supporting a low-carbon supply chain, and ensuring the necessary market supports are available to enable deep carbon retrofit of existing buildings. These were key components of CAGBC’s pre-budget recommendations, which can be viewed here.

CAGBC welcomes the engagement of G7 climate ministers on decarbonization, and we hope to see the same engagement and more ambitious action from heads of government.

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