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Renewables and climate change, the fear of environmental catastrophes runs on Twitter

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Renewables and climate change, the fear of environmental catastrophes runs on Twitter

Fear of climate change is spreading on social media. According to a study by theUniversity of Cambridgethe fear in the chat su Twitter increased by about 60% after the fifth evaluation report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2015. Feelings of sadness about environmental issues rose by about 30% following the special report on global warming of 1.5°C in November 2019. While the 2020 debate on pressures from builders and utility company over failure to comply with new building codes (US) has triggered a spike in anger.

The topics of discussion

The results of the study appear in the wake of the Cop27 held from 10 to 14 November in Egyptin which context an attempt has been made to promote a correct energy transition and to improve the resilience of buildings with the slogan “Build4Tomorrow”. Social public concerns include the need to reduce emissions, carbon tax fairness, politicization of building codes, and environmental degradation. Ramit Debnath, lead author of the research, argues that “major climate policy events, including the Cop27, have highlighted how difficult it is to decarbonise the built environment, and this has been reflected in the rise of negative sentiments on social media. But climate policy events can encourage public engagement, and this raises the bar for building’s attention to respect for the environment”.

The proposals

It goes without saying that, in these communication flows, social media as well Twitter they have a crucial role. The main topics covered by the tweets have changed significantly over time. Much has been said about innovations, new technologies and various problems. Twitter hashtags associated with COP26, for example, included terms like #woodforgood (‘wood for construction’) e #masstimber (‘solid wood’), as well as #housingcrisis (‘housing crisis’), #healthybuildings (‘healthy buildings’) #scaleupnow (‘resize’) e #climatejusticenow (‘environmental justice’), all largely or entirely absent from the conversations analyzed between 2009 and 2016. Talk about new emission reduction strategies include the use of alternative building materials such as cross-laminated timber, but also the proposal of building standards that are attentive to the climate and the circular economy.

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Challenges and difficulties

From the search for Cambridge emerges clearly as that of thebuilding remains one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonize. It’s a real challenge. IPCC reports also suggest that to contain the global rise in temperatures below 1.5°C, a rapid but decisive change of mindset on energy consumption, building design and wider planning of cities and infrastructure is needed. Today, the construction sector accounts for approximately 39% of global CO2 emissions related to energy and production processes. L’International Energy Agency estimates that, to achieve sustainable buildings with zero impact on the climate, the current volume of CO2 directly “spitting” into the atmosphere would have to drop by 50%. Indirect emissions must also decrease by 60% by 2030. Unfortunately, all this entails a tiring immersion in the mud of bureaucracy, which hinders the adoption of correct and above all streamlined environmental policies. A ‘democratic’ decarbonisation remains, according to the Cambridge scholars, “a critical challenge on a local, regional and national scale”.

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