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Copenhagen is a step along the path, says Ken Dalton

The construction industry has an opportunity to grasp the initiative on climate change following the COP15 talks in Copenhagen, AECOM chief executive for Europe Ken Dalton said today.

Dalton said: “Many people would like to have seen something a lot more coming out of Copenhagen than simply the ‘recognition’ of the non binding Copenhagen Accord, but realistically to achieve more was always going to be a big ask.

“Having adopted a leadership approach in this area, the UK already has hugely demanding carbon emission targets which would have been further extended had a firm agreement come out of Copenhagen. 

“Even in the absence of a new treaty, these targets, if properly implemented through Government policies, offer the construction industry a huge opportunity to step up to the mark and make a difference.

“These targets offer the construction industry a huge opportunity to step up to the mark and make a difference.”

Ken Dalton, AECOM

“AECOM is committed to continuing to advocate carbon emissions reduction to Government and our clients – this is such an important issue that the industry can’t afford to be passive in its response.”

Dalton outlined a number of key points to summarise a path post-Copenhagen, which included pushing for a “necessary” strong global agreement with strong and enforceable targets, a change of mindset to embed consideration of climate issues in our business approach, the likelihood of a failure to mitigate carbon emissions making “the least desirable solution” – geo engineering – more likely to be necessary, and allowing construction to become part of the solution to carbon emissions reduction whilst stimulating the Construction Industry at what is a challenging time.

“There is unfortunately a clash between the physics and politics of climate change,” said Dalton. “The physics say that we need to take radical steps to reduce global carbon emissions now. The politics say that short term self interest will sometimes get in the way of what we all know has to be done.”

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