13th December 2023

Views on COP28: “This is a global crisis”


To mark the COP28 summit, our team shared their views on the conference and the global response to the climate emergency to date.

In our final insight of the series, Claire Young, our sustainability lead and associate in our London studio, reacted to the deal struck by nations in the final days of the conference:

“COP28 has finally made a clear reference to a transition away from fossil fuels in the final deal. This is a massive milestone for the planet. But, as many are saying, it does not go far enough and many vulnerable people, countries and habitats will suffer for the lack of urgency in the wording.

“The COP summits always reinforces the importance of remembering the global context of this issue and it was good to see the pledges to support developing countries. That might seem like an obvious statement, but as humans we tend to default to narrow perspective: Our country, our job, our project. This is a global crisis, and whilst that can often seem overwhelming and anxiety-inducing, it is the context that we have to keep in mind.

“In the built environment we have seen similar expansion of awareness and of the impacts that our work can have beyond the red line boundary:

  • UKGBC and Expedition’s report on the Embodied Ecological Impact of the materials we specify and construct with
  • Understanding that global supplies of materials such as GGBS are limited and that whilst your project might be lower carbon, that comes at a cost to a project elsewhere
  • Understanding that without designing and retrofitting our buildings to be more energy efficient, the grid won’t be able to decarbonise!

“Zoom out to see the bigger picture. Zoom in to resolve the details. Zoom out to see the bigger picture.. Repeat forever.

“Despite what some would have us believe, we do have agency in the work we choose to take on, the way we approach our designs and the impact we can have on a global scale.”

We also heard from Craig Turner, regional director in our Glasgow studio here, and Claudia Ross, civil design engineer in our Manchester studio here, as part of the series.

Views on COP28: “This is a global crisis”