By Amy Bunszel , Executive Vice President, Architecture, Engineering and Construction Design Solutions
A fictional cityscape showing digital transformation and connected data across the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
The next few weeks offer opportunity for a historic step forward in combatting climate change if Congress and governments at the UN Climate Conference COP26 seize the moment and take bold action. At Autodesk we believe that together we can design and make a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable future. That is why professionals across industries choose Autodesk to design and make more sustainable products and communities and why we’re improving our own operations through science-based climate goals to run Autodesk as a carbon-neutral business.
We know that technology plays a crucial role in the global challenge of combating climate change. It’s the reason why we continue to invest in solutions that use AI to deliver useful insights for more sustainable decision-making and automation to streamline old and wasteful processes. We’re also catalyzing innovation between and beyond our industries and I’m proud that we’re joining efforts like the World Business Council for Sustainable Development project on Transforming the Built Environment and the Carbon Leadership Forum.
However, private sector efforts will not be sufficient to bring lasting change on a global scale. We must engage policymakers to enact robust policies at all levels of government to reduce the impacts of climate change and support clean energy, so that businesses can compete and thrive in the low-carbon economy. With so much at stake, the time to act is now—I believe 2021 represents the best opportunity for policy action to protect the climate.
I’ve been meeting with key climate leaders in the White House to express our interest in policies to green the built environment. We support the climate provisions currently pending in Congress in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and urge Congress to include the strongest possible climate policies in the pending Build Back Better Act.
Digital rendering of a construction site along a city waterfront.
The IIJA will reduce carbon emissions by investing in public transit, vehicle electrification, energy efficiency and electric grid modernization, as well as projects to better fortify our infrastructure against, and make it more resilient to, the severe and still-worsening effects of climate change. It also includes a program to support better adoption of digital construction technologies to help build more sustainable roads and bridges. The Build Back Better Act includes climate-related measures aimed at our industries such as environmental product declaration for construction materials and products, water system disaster resiliency, and updated building codes for energy efficiency. Even more ambitious and critical are the Clean Energy Performance Program and expanded clean energy tax incentives which will steer the nation to a sustainable power sector by 2035.
As leaders across nations prepare to gather this fall at COP26, it is critical for the U.S. and other global economies to move boldly and decisively to hold-off climate catastrophe. Congress has a chance to demonstrate to the world that the U.S. is taking ambitious action to prevent climate catastrophe—all while growing industries and the economy. We urge swift legislative action on these significant climate provisions.
Additionally, Autodesk is joining businesses and our customers in calling on global leaders to commit to limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C and transition to a net-zero economy. Focusing on the manufacturing and Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industries will be key to meeting this target, since nearly 40% of energy-related carbon emissions come from the building sector and approximately 19% of global emissions from manufacturing*. It will take an industry-wide mind shift–and the right government incentives globally–to approach the problem holistically with a full life-cycle view of new and existing products and projects, from design to construction to operation to renovation. We know the digital tools already exist to help meet our collective climate goals and I’m proud Autodesk is building them.
I am excited about the opportunity we have—with collaboration between governments, civil society, and industry—to build a more sustainable future for all. Autodesk will be at COP26 to share how we are working together with our partners, our sectors, and our customers to accelerate positive impact around the world. I’ll also be joining policymakers to discuss how local cities can lead the way in bringing climate action to their places and communities. Autodesk will continue to raise our voice to promote responsible policies and digital technologies that improve sustainability, build resiliency, and grow the economy.
*Source: Autodesk FY21 Impact Report