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Building sector emissions hit record high, but low-carbon pandemic recovery can help transform sector – UN report

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CO2 emissions increased to 9.95 GtCO2 in 2019. The sector accounts for 38% of all energy-related CO2 emissions when adding building construction industry emissions. Direct building CO2 emissions need to halve by 2030 to get on track for net zero carbon building stock by 2050. Governments must prioritize low-carbon buildings in pandemic stimulus packages and updated climate pledges.

Emissions from the operation of buildings hit their highest-ever level in 2019, moving the sector further away from fulfilling its huge potential to slow climate change and contribute significantly to the goals of the Paris Agreement, according to a new report released today.

 

However, pandemic recovery packages provide an opportunity to push deep building renovation and performance standards for newly constructed buildings, and rapidly cut emissions. The forthcoming updating of climate pledges under the Paris Agreement – known as nationally determined contributions or NDCs – also offers an opportunity to sharpen existing measures and include new commitments on the buildings and construction sector.

The 2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction, from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), found that while global building energy consumption remained steady year-on-year, energy-related CO2 emissions increased to 9.95 GtCO2 in 2019. This increase was due to a shift away from the direct use of coal, oil and traditional biomass towards electricity, which had a higher carbon content due to the high proportion of fossil fuels used in generation.

 

Read the full article here.