Climate Change Global Digest

Climate Change Global Digest Autumn 2021

Jane Manning with Joanna Wright, Mitch Cooke and Julie Futcher

This edition highlights work that will be emerging at COP26 in November, and new research and guidance.


CCC: Independent Assessment of UK Risk The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has published two key documents: the first is an assessment of risk highlighting the key impacts of climate change and the need for action to prepare for these. One of the headline risks is overheating in the existing building stock which the CCC says needs much more serious and urgent action. The report states that there is ‘good evidence that around 20 per cent of homes already overheat even outside heatwave events. The risks of heat-related deaths are projected to triple by the 2050s without additional adaptation’. A specific briefing on housing is provided alongside the report.

The second report is a progress report and provides a comprehensive overview of the UK Government’s progress to-date on reducing emissions and adapting to climate change. The assessment again emphasises the ‘large deficit in the delivery of adaptation’ and the risks to health and well-being of overheating buildings. New building regulations and planning reform are suggested as part of the answer, but it is clear that much more action is needed to overhaul the existing stock.


The Playbook developed through the Meridian Water scheme as part of the UKGBC Foreground programme has been launched. It has been developed as a ‘living’ Miro board, and is intended as a collaborative resource for use by local authorities and their partners. It provides guidance on development and investment models, procurement approaches and community engagement/ local supply models, alongside 34 case studies providing much needed precedents on how to do things differently.


A series of publications have been launched emphasising the role of landscape and nature in tackling the climate crisis. The first of these is UKGBC’s report Principles for delivering urban Nature-based Solutions which seeks to establish more ambitious targets for nature-based solutions, climate resilience and environmental net gain. Six principles are set out to inform design and delivery. For urban designers, the headline findings on p12-13 will be useful with upto- date figures on the benefits and costs of each intervention.


This tool uses a habitat-based approach to consider the direct impact of land use change across 18 ecosystem services. Part of its role is to ‘expand net gain approaches to include wider Natural Capital benefits such as flood protection, recreation and improved water and air quality’. Natural England is looking for projects to take part in more in-depth evaluation of the tool. It is a precursor to the future Environmental Net Gain calculator requiring developments to deliver ‘betterment’ such as surface water quality, air quality, health and well-being.


A publicly-funded research and development team called the Ecological Transition Gateway has used bio-house design principles to deliver two school libraries and a classroom as part of a school extension in Paris. It is the first time that many of these building techniques have been used including using wood, straw and cardboard for the building structure and insulation.

UKGBC Whole Life Carbon Road Map. The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) is one of several European Green Building Councils developing national whole life carbon roadmaps under the #BuildingLife project. To be launched at COP26, the Road Map will set out clear sector-based carbon allowances, targets and actions.

The United Nations are inviting cities, regions, businesses and investors to join the Race to Zero campaign in the run up to COP26. Wales and Scotland have already signed up, and your business or organisation could join too.

Good Energy, one of the UK’s renewable electricity companies, has been working with the Energy Systems Catapult to look at how the UK could reach zero emissions by 2050. Their report details six pathway options, and focuses on the differences between two key options: the Baseline scenario, taking an orthodox approach to net-zero, and Zero Carbon Britain, a high renewables world informed by lessons learned in other scenarios. The report sets out key findings, principles and recommendations, including ‘doing the known now’, or ‘addressing Britain’s very low rates of energy efficiency in buildings; removing barriers to mature renewable technologies; and increasing net-zero innovation funding to 1.5 per cent of GDP.’

URBAN DESIGN 160 Autumn 2021 Publication Urban Design Group

As featured in URBAN DESIGN 160 Autumn 2021

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