Built environment leaders announce sweeping climate action plans

11 November, 2021

Marking a climate breakthrough for the built environment, a coalition of business and government groups has announced 26 climate action initiatives at Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day at COP26.

The #BuildingToCOP26 Coalition has already set itself the target of halving built environment emissions by 2030 and establishing the sector as a solution provider to the climate crisis.

Now the new commitments include$1.2 trillion real estate assets under management are now a part of Race to Zero.

As a front runner initiative in the Race to Zero, 42 businesses including developers, designers and asset managers representing $60 billion annual turnover sign World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitmentto accelerate action to tackle whole life carbon emissions from the built environment by 2030. 

Responsible for almost 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, the built environment is fast becoming a driving force behind global climate change mitigation efforts. 

Representing nearly 300 million people, 75 RegionsAdapt members commit to joining the Race to Resilience33 cities join Cities Race to Resilience, aiming to 200 cities next year.

Buildings are responsible for almost 40 percent of global energy-related carbon emissions and 50 percent of all extracted materials. By 2050, 1.6 billion urban dwellers will be regularly exposed to extremely high temperatures and over 800 million people living in more than 570 cities will be vulnerable to sea level rise and coastal flooding.

By 2060: 

The built environment’s demand on natural resources accelerates climate change, and inefficient, unhealthy buildings negatively impact human health and wellbeing. However, efficient buildings are one of the biggest investment opportunities worth an estimated $24.7 trillion by 2030. Despite this, less than $3 of every $100 spent on new construction goes to efficient buildings. 

Built environment is vital to halving emissions by 2030

A collaboration between the UN High Level Climate Champions, the COP26 Presidency and the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the #BuildingToCOP26 Coalition, Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day at COP26 brought together national, regional and city leaders, alongside the private sector, to deliver deep collaboration that can accelerate climate action over the next decade. To mark this dedicated day, 26 game-changing built environment climate initiatives were announced. 

The announcements send a clear signal to policymakers and the private sector that the built environment is vital to halving emissions by 2030 and limiting global heating to 1.5℃:

Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Champion for COP26 said:

‘Decarbonising the built environment can rapidly accelerate climate action. The initiatives and accomplishments highlighted at COP26’s Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day are a launchpad for further climate leadership across the built environment system

Neil Martin, CEO, Lendlease Europe said:

‘As an industry we’re already designing and building places where millions of people will live and work in 2050 and beyond.  It is critical that these places are truly fit for the future; resilient, adaptable and able to play their full part in radically reducing carbon emissions to build the Net Zero Carbon world we so urgently require.’ 


UNFCCC Human Settlements Pathway

share this