Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11) to Convene in Paris Monday
November 24th, 2015 by Susan Smith
France will chair and host the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), from 30 November to 11 December 2015. The conference is crucial because the expected outcome is a new international agreement on climate change, applicable to all, to keep global warming below 2°C, a level that would ensure safety of the planet’s fragile resources. If that level is not achieved, it could have devastating consequences on world populations and survival.
One of the challenges of the Paris agreement, where heads of state will all gather, will be to establish a periodic – ideally five-year – review mechanism to raise the ambition of each Party and progressively improve the collective effort toward keeping global warming below 2°C.
Each country represented will obviously have reasons to participate but also issues, largely economic and political, that may create a climate of resistance to the review mechanism.
Royal Insight from Prince Charles
Prince Charles of the UK, The Prince, a tireless climate change campaigner for the past four decades, will deliver a keynote speech at the opening of COP21 next Monday.
He gave an exclusive interview to Sky News three weeks ago (well before the Paris attacks) about his ongoing concerns about climate change, saying he believes there is evidence to suggest that the reason for the Syrian conflict and resulting terrorism was drought. “We need to deal with the problem of the movement of people as a result of not being able to survive,” he said.
Environmental issues may have been one of the root causes of the problems in Syria. He said: “We’re seeing a classic case of not dealing with the problem, because, I mean, it sounds awful to say, but some of us were saying 20 years ago that if we didn’t tackle these issues, you would see ever greater conflict over scarce resources and ever greater difficulties over drought, and the accumulating effect of climate change, which means that people have to move.
“And, in fact, there’s very good evidence indeed that one of the major reasons for this horror in Syria, funnily enough, was a drought that lasted for about five or six years, which meant that huge numbers of people in the end had to leave the land.” Displaced people who depended largely on agriculture moved to the cities that were already full of Iraqi refugees.
While Prince Charles is expected to steer clear of political topics because of his role in the monarchy, when asked if there is a direct link between climate change, conflict and terrorism, he said, “It’s only in the last few years that the Pentagon has actually started to pay attention to this. I mean, it has a huge impact on what is happening.”
He does appear doubtful that the UN countries will be able to reach a consensus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as there have been numerous conferences in the past to this end. His concern is that the issue is often being dealt with in a short-term way, which has left the “underlying root cause” of what humans are doing to the natural environment neglected.
“The difficulty is that by the time you try to take the action, it’s already too late,” he said.
“After the conference, it’s going to be very difficult I think to get agreement on the necessary reductions and the necessary actions that need to be taken to keep global warming at 2 degrees, or ideally below. So we then have to follow up, this is the key, and ratchet up the commitments after the Paris conference.”
Canada’s New Approach to Curbing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
After a meeting with the country’s premiers of 10 provinces to figure out a national strategy for climate change, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said they will demonstrate Canada is serious about climate change at the Paris conference.
Trudeau’s Liberals won an election last month promising radical change on the environment from the previous Conservative administration, that was widely criticized for not taking enough action to combat global warming during its nearly ten years in power.
Canada must curb its greenhouse gas emissions, according to Trudeau. Alberta, home to most of Canada’s oil sands, said on Sunday that it would implement an economy-wide tax on carbon emissions in 2017.
According to a news report, Trudeau and the provinces hope their united approach and Alberta’s move will help dispel some of the international suspicion about Canada and climate change.
At previous U.N. summits the Conservative government sometimes found itself in disagreement with activist groups and even some provinces, perhaps because of the Conservative administration’s leanings.
“We need to show a renewed image of Canada to the world,” said Quebec premier Philippe Couillard.
The concern about Canadian employment has some premiers worried, because low crude prices have triggered major job losses among energy industry workers. There needs to be a balance between protecting and employment and the environment.
The organization, Architecture 2030, will play a vital role in the events at COP21, with their headlined offerings: “Paris: ZERO by 2050.”
UNFCCC Buildings Day, December 3rd, has planned the first ever “Buildings Day” to be held as part of the UNFCCC climate change talks. Their goal is to launch and alliance of organizations committed to putting the building sector on track to zero carbon by the year 2050. This event has free registration.
Zero Emissions by 2050
Symposium on December 9th, registration required, is focused on the “how-to” of ensuring zero emissions in the built environment by 2050.
A panel chaired by Farhana Yamin of Track O with Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, and Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change will outline why the Paris talks must convey decarbonization of the global economy and built environment.
Edward Mazria will give a keynote outlining the pathways, programs and tools available to achieve this goal and expert panels will address:
Background on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted during the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992. This Framework Convention is a universal convention of principle, acknowledging the existence of anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change and giving industrialized countries the major part of responsibility for combating it.
The adoption of the Kyoto Protocol at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992 was a milestone in the international negotiations on tackling climate change. For the first time, binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets were set for industrialized countries. The protocol, which entered into force in 2005, was intended to cover the period 2008-2012.
A longer-term vision was introduced by the Bali Action Plan in 2007, which set timelines for the negotiations towards reaching a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, due to expire in 2012. It was expected that an agreement would be reached by December 2009.
Although Copenhagen , Denmark, did not result in the adoption of a new agreement, COP15/CMP5 recognized the common objective of keeping the increase in global temperature below 2°C. Furthermore, industrialized countries undertook to raise $100 billion per year by 2020 to assist developing countries in climate-change adaptation and mitigation. Cancún, Mexico, in 2010 made the 2°C target more tangible by establishing dedicated institutions on key points, such as the Green Climate Fund.
The willingness to act together was reflected in the establishment, in 2011, of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), whose mandate is to bring all countries, both developed and developing, to the table to develop “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force” applicable to all the States Parties to the UNFCCC. This agreement should be adopted in 2015 and implemented from 2020.
Most of the information on the upcoming conference can be found on the COP21 website
November 16th, 2015 by Susan Smith
Kevin Lea, Product Manager, A&D Solutions, Tekla, a Trimble Company and Andrew Norman, Tedds Product Manager, Tekla, a Trimble Company talked about the recent release of the new version of Tekla® Structural Designer software that enables structural engineers to analyze and design steel and concrete buildings efficiently by combining analysis and design into a single, seamless process. And new features for its Tekla® Tedds 2015, a software that enables structural engineers to automate repetitive civil and structural calculations.
November 12th, 2015 by Susan Smith
Assimilating the week’s worth of information from the Bentley Year In Infrastructure Conference 2015 is no easy feat. The company’s product portfolio has grown exponentially, morphed and consolidated into more powerful “CONNECT Editions” that provide greater integration and flexibility on a robust cloud platform.
November 5th, 2015 by Susan Smith
The building industry has been seeking ways to build a model of as-built or existing conditions more accurately and quickly, and then integrate it into a design or use it for the beginning of a design. Each step in that direction provided more accuracy, resolution and speed, with some cost reduction. But the march to find something that can be done more simply, and without using expensive and cumbersome equipment continued.
The Bentley Year In Infrastructure 2015 Conference and 2015 Be Inspired Awards in London this Coming Week #YII2015
October 30th, 2015 by Susan Smith
Upcoming this week in London at the Hilton Metropole is The Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2015 Conference, showcasing the latest product announcements from Bentley Systems, as well as the 2015 Be Inspired Awards, awarded for excellence in various areas of Architecture, Engineering and Construction Excellence. Winners are chosen from a group of finalists, who have submitted their projects for consideration.
After jurors have deliberated during the week to come up with the winners in each category, the Awards Dinner is the crowning event of the conference. Below are three project summaries of finalist entries from the following AEC categories: Innovation in Construction and Innovation in Structures.
We wish the finalists the best of luck in the competition, and hope to see many of you there. #YII2015
October 27th, 2015 by Susan Smith
Matt Mason, director of software development with IMAGINiT Technologies, of Rand Worldwide, answered some questions for AECCafe Voice about the release of the new version of IMAGINiT Clarity, Clarity 2016.1. The new release includes new features in IMAGINiT Clarity, IMAGINiT Clarity Connect, IMAGINiT Clarity Connect LT and the newly released IMAGINiT Clarity Owner Data Portal (ODP), designed to aid AEC firms in capturing information from BIM models and to facilitate the transition from construction to building operations.
October 22nd, 2015 by Susan Smith
About a month ago I attended a press briefing on the new Autodesk Revit 2016 R2, a release that builds on product performance and makes Revit perform faster. The release looks at how to empower architects and engineers to embed design intent in their model by building smarter tools. It has a lot of professional productivity enhancements, and product managers believe it’s their best Revit yet.
October 15th, 2015 by Susan Smith
Evan Casey, National Director of Business Development at ARC Document Solutions, document solutions provider for the construction industry. spoke this week with AECCafe Voice about SKYSITE 2.0, the next generation of its cloud-based application for construction communication. The latest version of SKYSITE adds new features such as Request-for-Information (RFI) administration, photo management and punch lists to its capabilities in managing and distributing construction documents and information.
October 8th, 2015 by Susan Smith
In an interview with Carl Sterner, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, Director of Product Marketing at Sefaira, he discussed Sefaira’s Direct Sunlight Analysis launched in September.
October 1st, 2015 by Susan Smith
Jeff Wood – vice president, WW Product Management, Workstation and Thin Client Business HP and Josh Peterson- director, WW Product Management, Workstation and Thin Client Business , HP met with the press in a virtual press briefing prior to the announcement of the new HP Z240 Tower and Z240 SFF Workstations with next generation Intel processors and HP Z Turbo Drive options, raising the bar for entry-level workstations, while providing the reliability of a workstation at the price point of a desktop PC.