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.
- 1049 cities and local governments have joined Race to Zero.
Representing 722 million people, this collective action has the potential to reduce global emissions by 1.4 gigatons annually by 2030. C40 Cities has launched a new Clean Construction Action Coalition of cities and construction sector companies today to connect and accelerate the just and fair change we need.
- Since 2015, 136 countries have included buildings in their Nationally Determined Contributions, an increase of around 55 percent; and 12 countries have made building decarbonisation commitments since 2018 — UK, Morocco, Mexico, France, Germany, Switzerland, Jordan, Chile, Kenya, Turkey, UAE, and Argentina.
This is a significant step in the right direction to decarbonise economies as 65 percent of population growth by 2030 will occur in countries that have NDCs that mention building energy efficiency and/or building codes to improve energy Performance.
Representing nearly 300 million people, 75 RegionsAdapt members commit to joining the Race to Resilience; 33 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.
- The world’s building stock will double and almost 70 percent of the global population is projected to live in urban areas.
- Global material use is expected to more than double and a third of this rise is attributable to materials used in the building and construction system.
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.’