Mitigation Update: Building Sector Must Reach Net Zero Carbon by 2050
UN Photo/Kibae Park/Sipa Press
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A report by the World Green Building Council finds that, in order to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, all new buildings must operate at net zero carbon by 2030 and all existing buildings must be renovated to operate at net zero carbon by 2050.

Tunisia’s efforts to reduce the building sector’s carbon footprint culminated in the commencement of the Detailed Preparation Phase of the support project for the country’s Building NAMA titled, ‘Scaling-up Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the Building Sector’.

31 May 2017: The World Green Building Council issued a report titled, ‘From Thousands to Billions: Coordinated Action towards 100% Net Zero Carbon Buildings by 2050,’ which concludes that, in order to keep global temperature rise below 2°C above pre-industrial levels in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, the entire building sector must operate at “net zero carbon” by 2050, while all new buildings must operate at net zero carbon by 2030.

The report notes that, since the building and construction sector is responsible for around 30% of global energy consumption and the associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it has a significant role to play in the global mitigation effort. It estimates that only 500 net zero commercial buildings, and several thousand net zero residential units currently exist in the world, identifying the need for several billion net zero buildings.

The World Green Building Council finds that, along with contributing to the fight against climate change, net zero buildings can create jobs, improve energy security and lower energy costs.

The report outlines actions to be taken by governments, businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to ensure that all new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030 and that all existing buildings are renovated to operate at net zero carbon by 2050. Terri Wills, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the World Green Building Council, noted that creating a world in which “every single building produces zero carbon emissions” is possible, “but we must start today.” The report also finds that, along with contributing to the fight against climate change, net zero buildings can create jobs, improve energy security and lower energy costs. Action to reduce emissions from buildings therefore helps contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals 7 (affordable and clean energy), 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 13 (climate action). [Publication: From Thousands to Billions: Coordinated Action towards 100% Net Zero Carbon Buildings by 2050] [Publication Landing Page] [World Green Building Council Press Release]

In other building-related developments, recent reports have brought news on the implementation of emission reductions in this sector, as prioritized in nationally determined contributions (NDCs) submitted under the Paris Agreement.

In March 2017, Tunisia’s efforts to reduce the building sector’s carbon footprint, supported by the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) Facility, culminated in the commencement of the Detailed Preparation Phase of the support project for the country’s Building NAMA titled, ‘Scaling-up Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the Building Sector.’

By implementing the NAMA support project, Tunisia aims to install 134 megawatt (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) in the building sector and avoid nearly 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) by 2023. The Building NAMA is one of priority NAMAs in Tunisia’s energy sector identified in the country’s NDC. [Partnership on Transparency in the Paris Agreement Press Release on Tunisia’s Progress on NDC Implementation in Building Sector] [Tunisia’s First NDC]

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