Jesse Turck, AIA, LEED AP, will travel to Poland Friday, Dec. 7, to report from COP24, United Nations international climate conference, as part of a 4-person delegation selected to attend the conference by Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy.
COP24 is bringing together world leaders from 196 countries to strategize and finalize the implementation plan for the Paris Agreement, which was ratified and signed in 2015. As the Trump administration vowed to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017 and has continued to roll back environmental protections, the influence of the business sector is essential to continuing U.S. climate leadership.
“Climate change and architecture are inextricably linked,” Turck said. “Severe weather events threaten all structures, but, even more, buildings directly contribute to the CO2 emissions that are known to contribute to climate change. I’m eager to hear the discussions that will hopefully lead to collaborative efforts to mitigate and possibly reverse the effects on our climate.”
Turck joins business leaders from Best Buy, Target, and Minneapolis-based fig+ farro restaurant to report from the climate conference in Katowice, Poland, Dec. 2-14. The four will be reporting through Climate Generation’s Window into COP24 program where they will share their unique perspectives through the companion email digest, including webcasts, daily blogs, and a summary of climate action happening on at the conference. (To receive updates, go to climategen.org/COP24.)
The four attending delegates represent companies that have set internal climate action policies and sustainable initiatives, from reducing their greenhouse gas footprint to connecting employees and customers to individual solutions and resources that contribute to collective action.
In 2014, BWBR signed the AIA 2030 Commitment that challenges architects and engineers to make buildings carbon-neutral by 2030. Moving on that commitment, the firm has worked with clients to make energy-intensive research and development facilities, academic buildings, and health care centers more sustainable and energy efficient. Among those efforts include the recently certified LEED Silver Doug and Nancy Hastad Hall at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis.; a LEED Silver certified R&D facility for a Fortune 500 company in Saint Paul, Minn.; and Hennepin Healthcare’s new Clinic and Specialty Center, a 384,000-square-foot ambulatory center newly certified LEED Gold.
BWBR is also the designer of the Capitol East District Parking Structure in Madison, Wis., the first structure in Wisconsin designed to Parksmart certification standards. Similar to LEED certifications, Parksmart looks at the combined aspects of a parking structure that help to reduce vehicle emissions emanating from the facility and making the facility more durable and easily manageable.
Climate Generation has led delegations of educators, youth, and community leaders to the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties since Copenhagen/COP15 in 2009. This year’s unique focus on private sector offers the chance to demonstrate corporate commitments and leadership and bring cutting-edge international climate work back to Minnesota. As the only Midwest state in the U.S. Climate Alliance and We Are Still In initiative committed to upholding the U.S. targets outlined in the Paris accords, Minnesota is on the international stage.
In the wake of the IPCC Climate Change Report and the recently released 4th National Climate Assessment (NCA), urgent climate action is clear. The NCA reported that bold climate action will save hundreds of billions of dollars just in public health costs and save thousands of lives a year.
A reflections panel discussion on Dec. 19, 4-5 p.m., at the Institute on the Environment will feature the four delegates providing takeaways from the international conference.