***Contact Jonathon Berman for interviews or specific comments on COP28 proceedings***
Dubai, UAE - Today, global leaders came together for the COP28 official launch event of the Buildings Breakthrough, a platform for international collaboration between national governments to achieve “near-zero emission and resilient buildings” by 2030. In the US alone, emissions from residential and commercial buildings account for about 40% of the nation’s total energy consumption and 9% of its net greenhouse gas emissions, with 70 million U.S. buildings burning fossil fuels.
Heating appliances in homes and businesses, like furnaces and water heaters, are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to the climate crisis, harm public health, and contribute to environmental injustice in the United States. A recent report from Sierra Club, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and WE ACT for Environmental Justice lays out the harms, often overlooked and unregulated, posed by outdoor air pollution from buildings. Yet, there are no substantive regulations on pollution from buildings. Sierra Club and partners have formally petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to list residential and commercial heating appliances as a source category subject to regulation under section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act. Nearly 6,000 people have joined in urging the Biden administration to act.
In response, Sierra Club Managing Director Eva Hernandez released the following statement:
“Buildings are typically thought to offer a safe haven and it can be disconcerting for many to learn that burning fossil fuels under our roofs, whether for heat or cooking, is harmful for our health and a major source of climate-warming pollution. It is not the job of individual consumers to fix this problem. We need the collective action of governments to electrify buildings in an equitable and affordable fashion, so it’s encouraging to see this international commitment. Domestically, the Inflation Reduction Act was a great first step. Now, the Biden administration must set safeguards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution from buildings to protect people’s health and the climate.”
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.