Coal is the only fossil fuel plentiful enough and supposedly ‘cheap’ enough to push the planet to 450 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere – an event which will trigger potentially irreversible glacial melt and sea level rise. 53% of Americans live in and around coastal cities and towns and, beginning with just one meter of sea level rise, many of these cities and towns will be inundated.
Architecture2030 is making their opposition to coal abundantly clear- continuing their anti-coal campaign, they’ve released a full page spread in The New York Times last Friday that read, “Want to stop global warming? Stop Coal.” What follows is a compelling case for ending our reliance on coal, supported by graphics and statistics that blame coal for global warming, along with a plan of action to repair the damage.
Based on their statistics, Architecture2030 predicts that based on our current rate of growth and coal usage, the planet will reach 450 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere by 2035, triggering everything from glacial melting to rising sea levels. We are currently at 385 ppm, and are increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 at approx. 2 ppm annually.
The STOP COAL campaign goes on, serving as a call to action for drastic changes:
“We call for a moratorium on new conventional coal plants and phase out existing coal plants. This puts an immediate cap on coal plant emissions while allowing enough time to retrain coal workers for healthier jobs.”
We applaud Architecture2030 for taking these bold steps, and for proving that they’re actually achievable. Here, they outline how these goals can be met, and identify buildings and architecture as both a source of and opportunity to curb global warming:
Can we do it?
YES! We’ve done it before.
Over an 11-year period (1973–1983), the United States built approx. 30 billion square feet of new buildings, added approx. 35 million new vehicles and increased real GDP by over one trillion dollars (in year 2000 dollars) while decreasing its energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
Where do we start?
Buildings use 76% of all the electrical energy produced at coal plants.
Buildings are the single largest contributor to global warming, accounting for almost half (48%) of total annual US energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
What’s the plan?
By implementing The 2030 Challenge to reduce building energy use of new and renovated buildings by a minimum of 50%, we negate the need for new coal plants.
Renovating existing buildings to consume 50% less fossil fuel energy allows for new buildings that meet the 50% reduction to be built without increasing the Building Sector’s energy demand.
Then, by reducing building energy use of new buildings an additional 10% every five years to achieve carbon neutral by 2030, and by using renewable energy, we ultimately negate the need for existing coal plants.
The 2030 Challenge, a global initiative, has been adopted and supported by the US Conference of Mayors, American Institute of Architects, US Green Building Council, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, National Association of Counties, EPA’s Target Finder and numerous states, counties and cities.
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO – CLICK HERE >