Thwart Climate Change Now: Reducing Embodied Carbon Brick by Brick

Thwart Climate Change Now
Bill Caplan
Release Date

Thwart Climate Change Now: Reducing Embodied Carbon Brick by Brick addresses an imperative—to slow the pace of climate change within the coming decade—before it’s too late. While climate policy typically focuses on future decarbonization 10 to 20 years out, temperatures continue to rise. Greenhouse gases emitted upfront from the materials fabrication, construction, and renovation of our physical environment—embodied emissions—accelerate the rate of global warming now. Sadly, they increase atmospheric carbon before our buildings and infrastructure are even used. Often ignored or deemed too perplexing to resolve, the need to reduce embodied emissions immediately is the subject of this book.

Written for a variety of readers—from policymakers and legislators to architects and developers—Thwart Climate Change Now addresses how to tackle the built environment’s “embodied” carbon emissions, highlighting specific design and policy issues that overlook their own contribution to atmospheric carbon. The book brings together the science of climate change, sustainable design, and green policies in a language accessible to a diverse readership, followed by case study examples to support design, policy, and legislative recommendations to slow emissions growth in the near term.

About the Author

With an engineer’s understanding of sustainability, a passion for people-friendly building design, and a 34-year career in high-technology, Bill Caplan then researched the built environment from a human and environmental perspective for more than a decade, contrasting designers’ claims with their ecological veracity. A sober look at the reality of our efforts to contain global warming and the public’s self-delusion about “green” and “sustainable” living inspired Bill to write Thwart Climate Change Now.

Mr. Caplan’s tenure at the multi-national instrumentation company he founded spanned high technology projects from the U.S. space and defense programs to decoding the human genome. Shifting focus to the built environment in 2006, he enrolled in Pratt Institute’s Graduate School of Architecture. He subsequently founded ShortList_0 Design Group LLC, seeking to promote an integrated design process to unify sustainable technology and architectural form. In 2016, he published Buildings Are for People: Human Ecological Design, a holistic approach to creating user- and community-friendly buildings that are sustainably designed. Contrast 21c: People & Places followed in 2018, a photographic essay about people and places in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam highlighting the disparities between rural and urban areas, and their struggles to adapt to a 21st-century environment.

Book Reviews

“Bill Caplan’s book is a wakeup call for everyone seeking to reduce carbon emissions in newly built and retrofitted buildings. Reducing these emissions is neither easy to do nor to calculate. Caplan’s book provides a detailed analysis of the best practices for architects and builders, but also explains to everyone interested in the subject pitfalls, like failing to take into account the impact of embedded carbon from the parts that are used in construction and energy systems, and the misleading claims that are being made about emission reductions. It is a must read for everyone interested in this important subject.”

—Ken Berlin, President and CEO, The Climate Reality Project