10 Gigaton Emissions Boom Prevents Building Decarbonization Projects By 2050 |

“Years of warnings about the effects of climate change become a reality”, said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “If we do not reduce emissions in accordance with Paris Agreementwe’re going to have bigger problems.”

Huge energy consumption

According to report according to the UN agency, more than 34% of global energy demand in 2021 came from this sector, as well as about 37% of energy and process-related CO2 emissions.

Data processed for UNEP The publication ahead of the COP27 climate talks in Egypt also showed that CO2 emissions in 2021five percent higher than in 2020 and two percent more than the pre-pandemic peak in 2019.

It was despite a 16% increase in investment for energy-efficient new buildings, up to $237 billion, which, as UNEP explained, was simply “surpassed” by the growing volume of building space.

In 2021, the demand for heating, cooling, lighting and equipment in buildings increased by about four percent compared to 2020 and three percent from 2019, UNEP said, pointing out that the gap between the sector’s climate performance and the need to decarbonize by 2050 is widening.

the rise of africa

From a regional perspective, UNEP noted that Africa’s consumption of raw materials will double by 2060, with “approximately 70 per cent” of buildings by 2040 still on the drawing board.

This is in line with estimates that Africa’s population will reach 2.4 billion by 2050, 80 percent of whom will live in cities, and is why the continent can use its renewable energy sources to power its buildings sustainably, UNEP said.

“Steel, concrete and cement are (already) major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions,” the UN agency explained, adding that building materials already account for about nine percent of the continent’s energy-related CO2 emissions.

European troubles

For Europe, UNEP noted that the building sector accounts for 40 per cent of Europe’s total energy needs and that 80 per cent of this comes from fossil fuels. “This makes the sector an area for immediate action, investment and policy to ensure short-term and long-term energy security,” Ms Andersen said.

The UN agency explained that to reduce overall emissions, the construction sector can help:

  • Improvement energy efficiency of the building;
  • Reducing your carbon footprint building materials;
  • Multiplication of political commitments along with action, especially in light of the rising cost of fossil fuels associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the clear incentives for investment in energy efficiency.

Key global trends identified by UNEP showed that the increase in built-up area between 2015 and 2021 was equivalent to the total land area occupied by buildings in Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

The World Bank is working with a number of major Chinese cities to help reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo: World Bank/Wu Zhiyi

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