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Buildings Emit 38% of All Energy-Related CO2

The constant construction of new buildings—many of which are not “green”—are a challenge to the international target of 30% energy intensity improvements in buildings by 2030, as per the Paris Climate Change Agreement goals. The numbers tell us why:

Buildings Emit 38% of All Energy-Related CO2   ©The Earth & I
  • The buildings sector accounts for 38% of total global energy-related CO2 emissions and 35% of final energy use.

  • Carbon dioxide emissions from the buildings sector in 2019 are the highest ever, recorded at almost 10 GtCO2.

  • Leading climate change trackers say this sector’s rate of annual improvement is declining and needs to be quickly turned around. To make up for lost ground, direct building CO2 emissions must halve by 2030 to be on track for net-zero carbon building stock by 2050.

  • In 2019, spending on energy-efficient buildings rose for the first time in three years, to $152 billion, a 3% increase.

  • However, the energy-efficient spending was a small fraction of the $5.8 trillion spent in total in the building and construction sector.

  • Green buildings represent one of the biggest global investment opportunities of the next decade; its value is estimated to be $24.7 trillion by 2030 by the International Finance Corporation.

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