Leaders Launch Initiative to Decarbonize Buildings by 2050
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The Zero Carbon Buildings for All Initiative aims to secure commitments from two audiences: national and local leaders, to develop and implement policies to drive decarbonization of all new buildings by 2030 and all existing buildings by 2050; and financial and industry partners, to provide expert input and commit USD 1 trillion of market action by 2030.

The Initiative plans to complement similar initiatives such as the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment and the Global Alliance for Building and Construction’s Global Call.

23 September 2019: At the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, high-level officials from government, business and civil society launched the ‘Zero Carbon Buildings for All Initiative,’ which unites leaders across sectors in an international coalition to decarbonize the building sector and meet the Paris Agreement on climate change. Multilateral development banks (MDBs) and private financial institutions also committed to aligning their financing of buildings with the Paris Agreement and national climate policies, which could lead to a potential USD 1 trillion in “Paris compliant” buildings investment in developing countries by 2030.

The Zero Carbon Buildings for All Initiative responds to the need of making all buildings net zero carbon by 2050 to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, while fewer than 1% of buildings are today.

Launched on 23 September 2019 in New York, US, the initiative aims to secure commitments from two audiences: national and local leaders, to develop and implement policies to drive decarbonization of all new buildings by 2030 and all existing buildings by 2050; and financial and industry partners, to provide expert input and commit USD 1 trillion of market action by 2030.

A World Resources Institute (WRI) press release notes that while in the past zero carbon buildings were considered a target only for wealthy countries, current policy pathways allow the reach of zero carbon buildings regardless of location or development status. At the Climate Action Summit, commitments to the Zero Carbon Buildings for All initiative included:

  • National governments such as Kenya, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the UK;
  • Financial institutions such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Denmark), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the European Investment Bank (EIB);
  • Private sector actors who offered their technical expertise, including Gensler, BuroHappold, ROCKWOOL Group, and Saint-Gobain; and
  • Civil society partners such as the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Program for Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Urban Land Institute, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Green Building Council (WGBC), and WRI.

The initiative aims to complement similar initiatives such as the WGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment and the Global Alliance for Building and Construction’s Global Call. [Climate Action Summit Press Release] [WRI News] [WRI Press Release]


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