Climate Change & The Building Industry: Re-Framing the Present and Looking Forward to the Future

Figure 1: A breakdown of global CO2 emissions by sector (Why the Building Sector, 2020).

Luna Oiwa is a student in the Master’s in Engineering Management program at Cornell University, interested primarily in sustainable buildings. She organized Cornell University‘s Business Impact Symposium, which our Founder & Principal, Drew Shula, participated in this March.

She currently serves as a Built Ecology Intern at WSP USA, having previously worked as a Project Manager at Cornell Sustainability Consultants and a Project Intern at Taitem Engineering. This essay was originally submitted to a Cornell-run essay competition, in which it earned first place.

Introduction

Climate change is indisputably one of the most important topics of the day. Less clear is our ability to pinpoint exactly who is to blame or to be held responsible for its increasingly catastrophic consequences. Does the burden fall on consumers or industry, on developing or developed nations? Is it right to assign guilt to the current generation of Earth’s inhabitants, when we inherited already-broken systems from past generations?

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