In December 2006 the RIBA Council agreed a Climate Change Policy, setting out a programme of work, and supporting the Contraction and Convergence model of responding to global warming. The RIBA has adopted Contraction and Convergence as the overarching policy to guide its targets for the reduction of green house gas emissions associated with the use of energy in buildings.
Contraction and Convergence
The RIBA was the first professional body to sign up in support of the model of understanding climate change and the actions necessary to tackle it, known as 'Contraction and Convergence'. The model is a science-based, global climate policy framework, proposed to the United Nations since 1990 by the Global Commons Institute. It is supported by many climate change scientists and an increasing range of policy makers and professional bodies.
It involves emissions from industrialised nations reducing (contracting) and emissions from all nations converging to an overall target consistent with stabilising green house gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Over time, emissions would contract and converge to an equal share per person. To achieve this equitable distribution, each of us in the UK would need to reduce our average annual carbon dioxide emissions from 10 tonnes to two tonnes.
In July 2008, the International Union of Architects (UIA) also signed a declaration supporting Contraction and Convergence with a view to lobbying for a stronger international agreement in the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009.