CO2 emissions from buildings and construction work at a new high

CO2 emissions from buildings and construction work at a new high

According to a new United Nations report, carbon emissions from buildings and construction have reached an all-time high, throwing the sector off the path to decarbonization by 2050.

The UN released the 2022 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction on Wednesday, as world leaders and activists gather in Egypt to attend the COP27 climate summit.

The report found that the construction sector accounted for 34 percent of total energy demand and 37 percent of energy and process-related CO2 emissions last year.

It also found that carbon emissions from buildings hit an all-time high of about 10 gigatonnes in 2021, a 5 percent increase from 2020 and a 2 percent increase from 2019, after COVID-related lockdowns in 2020 cut carbon emissions briefly had lowered the world.

A report found that global carbon emissions fell by 6.4 percent, or 2.3 billion tons, in the first year of the pandemic as economic and social activities ground to a halt.

Although the amount was small, it was still significant. That number is more than Japan’s total carbon dioxide emissions in one year.

But in the second year of the pandemic, as shops reopened and life returned to something more normal, carbon emissions rose again.

“Years of warnings about the effects of climate change have become a reality,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. “If we don’t cut emissions quickly in line with the Paris Agreement, we will be in bigger trouble.”

The report’s authors attributed the increase not only to the recovery in construction work to pre-pandemic levels, but also to the use of buildings that use more energy as face-to-face work returned alongside hybrid work.

The report also linked the increase to more emerging markets increasing the use of fossil fuels in buildings.

As a result, the energy requirement in buildings increased by around 4 percent compared to 2020 to a total of 135 exajoules, the strongest increase in the last 10 years.

The report’s findings follow calls to accelerate energy efficiency measures and new initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings and structures.

However, the report’s findings emphasize that while some progress has been made in developing policies to address the impact of building and construction on the climate, further efforts are needed to reduce emissions.

During last year’s climate summit in Glasgow, United Nations leaders stressed the importance of tackling emissions from the “built environment”, noting that buildings and structures account for nearly 48 per cent of all global emissions.

UN leaders have set a target for the “built environment” to halve its emissions by 2030 and for all new buildings to be carbon neutral by 2050 to ensure the temperature on earth is no more than 1 .5 degrees Celsius rises.

“Greater efforts are needed to reduce overall emissions and improve the energy efficiency of buildings, in parallel with the ongoing trend towards increasing floor space,” the report says.

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