To understand the purpose of this study, it is important to define the frequent terms and Concepts and studies within the scholarly field of climate change and their relevance for the construction sector and the study at hand. This chapter contextualizes my study by discussing how construction impact on CC; and what CCA and CCM is understood to entail in this study.
Climate change is the greatest challenge facing our planet (Feulner, 2017; Kittipongvises, 2017; P¶yry et al.
, 2015). Karim et al. (2017) declared that climate change defined as a result of temperature variability due to emissions of greenhouse gases produced by human activities. Climate change refers to; a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer (Grynning et al., 2017). Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic (2015) climate change as defined any long-term changes, including natural climate variability and changes caused by human activity.
Climate change is defined by an increase in the Greenhouse Gas emissions(GHG) and in turn in the global mean temperatures (Farrou et al., 2016). Furthermore, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) defined “climate change” as: a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.’ (Dos Santos, 2016, p.
2; IPCC, 2014, p. 120).
The most general definition of Climate change is the change in the statistical properties of the climate system when considered over periods of decades or longer, regardless of cause (Brath et al., 2015; IPCC, 2014; Chishakwe et al., 2012).Climate change takes place due to natural variability and human influences (Brath et al., 2015; IPCC, 2014; Radhi, 2010). It is virtually certain that the observed global warming from human-produced greenhouse gases (GHGs) has been the primary cause of climate change (Kittipongvises, 2017). Nearly 200 nations have formally acknowledged in joint declaration and international agreements that human activity is in charge of global climate change, including the national academies of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (US), about 97 % of climate scientists agree that human activity is causing CC (Henderson et al., 2017).
Climate change generates change in rainfall patterns; it increases temperatures and sea level, creates high prevalence of vector-borne diseases and water scarcity and increases natural hazards like floods and droughts (Karim et al., 2017; Singh et al., 2010). Climate change affects multiple aspects of human economic and social activity, but the impacts are (or will be) highly differentiated by sector (agriculture, infrastructure, marine management, flood defense etc.) and will affect different countries/regions/communities/individuals in multiple ways based upon their vulnerability and relative adaptive capacity (Cotton and Stevens, 2019). It is important to clarify that people tend to use global warming and climate change interchangeably. Yet, global warming refers only to the earth’s rising surface temperature, while climate change includes warming and the side-effects of warming as melting glaciers, heavier rainstorms, or more frequent drought (Kennedy and Lindsey, 2015). In another word, global warming is one of many kinds of climate change the earth has gone through in the past and will continue to go through in the future (Ebunuwele, 2015).
Greenhouse gases are gases in the Earth’s atmosphere that collects heart and light from the sun (Ebunuwele, 2015; El Zein, and Chehayeb, 2015). The greenhouse effect is caused by the gases in the atmosphere which have the ability to absorb the sun’s energy that is radiated back into space from earth (Khan, 2017; El Zein, and Chehayeb, 2015). There are two causes for greenhouse effect: natural as well as human-made causes (Khan, 2017; El Zein, and Chehayeb, 2015; Ebunuwele, 2015; Balat, 2010). The natural causes of the Greenhouse effect are the emissions of gases like nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, water vapor (Khan, 2017; El Zein, and Chehayeb, 2015). The natural greenhouse effect is actually beneficial to the Earth (Khan, 2017). Kweku et al. (2018) pointed that without the greenhouse effect the Earth’s average global temperature would be much colder and life on Earth as we recognize it would not be possible. The problems begin when human activities accelerate the natural process by creating more greenhouse gases well beyond their natural levels, and have added more new greenhouse gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons in the atmosphere than are necessary to warm the planet to an ideal temperature (Khan, 2017).
Hence, as the average temperature of earth increases the temperature in both poles increases, resulting in melting of the icebergs, and raising ocean water level, which will cause horrible storms and tsunamis (El Zein, and Chehayeb, 2015). This happens primarily through the burning of fossils fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas, which releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere (Ebunuwele, 2015). This increase in atmospheric GHG concentration has led to climate change and global warming effect, which is motivating international efforts such as the Kyoto Protocol, signing of Paris Agreement on climate change and other initiatives to control negative outcomes of the greenhouse effect (Kweku et al., 2018).Greenhouse gases (GHG) have accelerated the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere, which has led to the global warming and climate change (Viitala, 2018; Ghamkhar, S. Mahsa, and Ghamkhar, S. Melika, 2017; Kaddo, 2016). According to the Kyoto Protocol and IPCC, there are six main greenhouse gases, namely carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) (Hatmoko et al., 2018; Viitala, 2018; Sandanayake et al., 2017; Ma et al., 2016; Dos Santos, 2016). These gases trap the heat of the sun near the earth’s surface, causing the temperature rise to levels harmful to humans, plants, animals, and the environment (Abualqumboz et al., 2016).
The construction sector meets one of our basic needs i.e. habitat, shelter, comfort, privacy, and a sense of security (Suglia et al., 2011; Khanna et al., 2011). Although, building structures are primarily intended to provide shelter and enhance wellbeing, they are also using to protect people from many things, such as those attributable to indoor air pollution, pests and infestations, noise (Vardoulakis et al., 2015), provide its occupants with a refuge from the climate, mainly uncomfortably hot or cold temperatures, wind, and rain etc (Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2013). On the other hand, building construction buildings have an impact on the climate as well. Where building construction and operation activities have extensive direct and indirect impacts on the environment (Giesekam et al., 2018; Enshassi et al., 2015; Khanna, 2011). While Biswas et al. (2017) stressed that the construction industry causes significant environmental impacts in terms of global warming impacts and embodied energy consumption. The sector also contributes substantially to climate change through the large greenhouse gas emissions (Viitala, 2018; Giesekam et al., 2018; Wen et al., 2015; P¶yry et al., 2015; UK Essays 2013; Khanna, 2011).
In 2010, the residential sector (categorized under the IPCC energy sector) generated 5.68 Gt of CO2e emissions, accounting for 11.7% of the global GHG emissions (Asaee et al., 2018). Current trends in population growth and economic growth will lead to a significant need for new buildings in the near future (Polesello, and Johnson, 2016; Wen et al., 2015). Such growth will bring with it a rise in energy consumption and associated GHG emissions and not just from residential buildings but also the commercial and industrial developments that accompany them (Polesello and Johnson, 2016). Where residential buildings represent 65% of the global total sectoral emissions and 35% for commercial buildings in 2000 (Zaid et al., 2015).Buildings based on building systems of steel and concrete have commonly been built for a long period of time, however significant negative contribution to the climate has been noted (Johansson, 2016).
Hence, the emissions caused by buildings are spread over a long-life span from material manufacture, the construction process, the use phase and maintenance to end of life (Giesekam et al., 2018; P¶yry et al., 2015; Biswas, 2014). While buildings are significant participants in both producing greenhouse gases and reflecting solar radiates into space, the architectural solutions for reduction of GHG emissions corresponded to building industry and augment of sun light reflection mitigate the catastrophic climate change results (Ghamkhar, S. Mahsa, and Ghamkhar, S. Melika, 2017).
However, understanding the relationship between the construction sector and their impacts on climate change is limited, so this thesis begins pinpointing the impacts of construction sector in climate change in more details in section 2.5. The following section explores the links between climate change and construction and the implications at developed countries, developing countries, Middle East countries, and Palestine, focusing on Gaza Strip. It also highlights the need for the study in developing a knowledge base and understanding impacts for future action.2.4.1 Developed countriesThe buildings contribute as much as one third of total global greenhouse gas emissions (Polesello and Johnson, 2016; P¶yry et al., 2015; Mahajan, 2012).
A value that is anticipated to double by 2050 if no action is taken (Polesello, and Johnson, 2016). The biggest source of emissions and energy consumption both in the US andaround the globe is said to be the construction industry and the energy it consumes each year (Gunawansa and Kua, 2014). For typical developed nations like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), about 24 to 40% of anthropogenic greenhouse emissions will be related to buildings (De Wilde and Coley, 2012). In recent years, many developed countries have focused their attention on the role of the construction sector in the issue of global climate change such as Norway, Australia, Germany, Canada, United States (US), Sweden, United Kingdom (UK), Korea, and Greece. Hence, many researchers have highlighted the subject in several aspects.
Not only examined the impact of the construction sector during its entire stages on climate change, but also discussed climate management strategies that are divided into adaptation or mitigation strategies or combination for both.Some developed country studies associated with climate change and the construction sector have been explored in this thesis. In Norway, Lolli et al. (2017) outlined a methodology for the development of a dynamic parametric analysis tool (PAT) for the comprehensive assessment of operational energy use, embodied energy and embodied material emissions during the production and operation phases of a Norway building. Muqi (2018) summarized the mitigation technologies in Norway building sector, its opportunities and challenges, and sectoral polices, and analysed the roles of stakeholders in building sector. In Australia, almost a quarter (23%) of Australia’s total GHG emissions are a result of energy demand in the building sector (Biswas, 2014). Sandanayake et al. (2017) conducted a comprehensively estimate and compare emissions at the foundation and structure construction stage of Australia commercial building using a case study. The study result shown that the ratio between direct and indirect GHG emissions was recorded as 26% to 74% at the foundation construction stage and 6% to 94% at the structure construction stage.
While, Sandanayake et al. (2018) estimate the overall environmental impact profiles at the construction stage of a building using a case study of Australia residential building construction and performed a comprehensive impact assessment for various construction activities within the construction stage. The authors noted that the dominance of GHG emissions for indirect impacts such as embodied emissions from materials and impacts related to activities in building structure construction have emission contribution with > 80% of the total impacts. On other hand, Sandanayake et al. (2017) analysed several scenarios pertaining to direct and indirect emissions to minimise impact for the construction stage by adopting sustainable materials such as fly ash and blast furnace concrete, which work as mitigation strategy for climate change. Also, Lawania and Sarker (2015) presented GHG emission and embodied energy consumption saving potential associated with the use of alternative wall system in Perth, Western Australia by the use of by-products and recycled materials such as fly ash, which work as mitigation strategy for climate change. Moreover, Dave et al. (2012) identified knowledge and policy gaps for climate-adaptable buildings in Australia.
The study pointed to the need for clear and consistent definition of climate-adaptable buildings and development of a national level building adaptability and resilience assessment system that can be used for both existing and new buildings by policymakers, regulatory authorities, property insurers, building design and construction industry professionals as well as householders. While Hurlimann et al. (2018) identify and explored the barriers to climate change adaptation in the Australian construction industry. Results showed that barriers to climate change adaptation found to exist in the Australian construction industry context (i.e. regulatory framework, affordability of initiatives, awareness and perceptions, client demand, language). In Germany, Weyrich (2016) reported that the barriers to climate change adaptation in urban areas in Germany.
The results included the most frequent clusters of barriers encountered which were related to resource issues, governance and institutional barriers, lack of awareness and communication, conflicting timescales and conflicts of interests, attitudes, values and motivations, lack of scientific understanding about climate change and information, politics barriers, and issues specific to the adaptation process. Weiџenberger et al. (2014) provided a detailed description of the history, the current situation and the future outlook regarding Life cycle assessment (LCA) and nearly zero-energy buildings in Germany to help to obtain the lowest possible impact to the environment. In Canada, Kumar et al. (2015) evaluated and compared the primary energy use and the potential environmental impacts (EI) associated with the alternatives for Canada residential buildings by using the concepts of LCA considered whole life cycle phases of buildings.
In United States (US), Papesch et al. (2011) addressed interlocking components of education, standards for individual and collective behaviour (laws, codes, rules and regulations) that require to know the effects of the US building sector on climate and underlined the need to aggressive, integrated and active involvement of all building-industry professional in climate change mitigation. While Mazmanian et al. (2013) developed a governing framework for adaptation of projects with an expected life span of 30 years or more in the US built environment include minimum building standards that will enable policy, planning, and major long-term development decisions to be made appropriately at all levels of government. Where, Gunawansa and Kua (2014) assessed and compared how Singapore, Miami-Dade and San Francisco ” three coastal territories ” implement climate change strategies in their construction industries. Wang et al. (2018) provided an understanding of the past, present, and future building paradigms and interactions between building energy, carbon, and sustainability focusing on typical buildings in the U.S., both commercial and residential. In Sweden, Wallhagen et al. (2011) examined the relative impacts from building material production and building operation, as well as the relative importance of the impact contributions from these two life cycle stages at various conditions from a newly built office building in G¤vle, Sweden. Westlund et al. (2014) focused on the climate impact of Swedish construction processes.
The result calculations indicate that the total climate impact of construction processes in Sweden is around 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents per year, with a breakdown of around 4 million tonnes for housing projects and 6 million tonnes for civil engineering and public works. Pe±aloza et al. (2018) evaluated the climate mitigation effects of increasing the use of biobased materials in the construction of new residential dwellings in Sweden under future scenarios related to technological change.In the UK, the volume of carbon dioxide emissions that the construction sector influences are significant, accounting for an estimated 47% of total UK CO2 emissions (Giesekam et al., 2014). Residential buildings were responsible for around 25% of total GHG end-user emissions in 2012 (Vardoulakis et al., 2015). De Wolf et al. (2017a) evaluated the current construction industry practice to lowering the embodied carbon dioxide equivalent (embodied CO2e) of buildings. Giesekam et al. (2018) review current company commitments and progress in carbon mitigation; analyse the unique challenges in aligning construction targets, and present a series of possible sectoral decarbonisation trajectories.
In Korea, a survey conducted by Korea’s Ministry of Environment, 88% of the 1040 adults questioned indicated that they were aware that burning fossil fuels had caused global warming and climate change, where in the Bundang district residential buildings were responsible for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions (Park and Kim, 2017). Kim and Chae (2016) determined the major emissions and environmental impacts from concrete production process. the result found that the material that had the biggest impact on global warming during the production process was found to be normal cement, and the impact of coarse aggregate and fine aggregate on global warming was very small.
In Greece, the building sector is the second larger contributor, following the power sector, as regards the technically feasible abatement potential of GHG emissions accounting for about 15% of the sector (Spyridaki et al., 2016). Where, Spyridaki et al. (2016) presented the climate change mitigation conceptual framework in the Greek building sector. Based on what has been mentioned above, it’s noted that there is great interest in the relationship between climate change and the construction sector in developed countries. Studies have varied from the calculation of the impact of the construction sector on climate change and how to minimize these impacts through the mitigation strategy and the adaptation strategy.