Monday, November 28, 2022

COP27: CO2 emissions by construction firms hit new high, says UN 

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from buildings and construction hit a new high in the world, leaving the sector off the track to decarbonise.

• November 10, 2022
Carbon Emission [Photo Credit: Premium Times Nigeria]

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from buildings and construction hit a new high globally, leaving the sector off the track to decarbonise.

Released at the latest round of climate talks at COP27 in Egypt, the 2022 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction found the sector accountable for over 34 per cent of energy demand and around 37 per cent of energy and process-related CO2 emissions in 2021.

According to the new report, despite an increase in energy efficiency investment and lower energy intensity, the building and construction sector’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions have rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic to an all-time high.

It noted that the sector’s operational energy-related C2 emissions reached ten gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent – five per cent over 2020 levels and two per cent over the pre-pandemic peak in 2019.

For instance, in 2021, investments in building energy efficiency increased by 16 per cent to 237 billion dollars, but growth in floor space outpaced efficiency efforts.

The sector’s 2021 operational energy-related CO2 emissions were up five per cent over 2020 and 2 per cent over the pre-pandemic peak in 2019.

This, according to the report from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), means that the gap between the climate performance of the sector and the 2050 decarbonisation pathway is widening.

“In 2021, operational energy demand for heating, cooling, lighting and equipment in buildings increased by around four per cent from 2020 and three per cent from 2019. Years of warnings about the impacts of climate change have become a reality,” stated Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The UN director explained that “if we do not rapidly cut emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, we will be in deeper trouble,” revealing that the buildings sector represents 40 per cent of Europe’s energy demand, 80 per cent of it from fossil fuels. 

“This makes the sector an area for immediate action, investment, and policies to promote short and long-term energy security. Decarbonising the buildings sector by 2050 is critical to delivering these cuts,” said Mr Andersen. “To reduce overall emissions, the sector must improve building energy performance, decrease building materials’ carbon footprint, multiply policy commitments alongside action and increase investment in energy efficiency.”


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