Decarbonising buildings: achieving zero carbon heating and cooling

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Climate Action Tracker

The urgency of addressing emissions from buildings is clear; greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from this sector make up roughly a fifth of total global emissions. Despite the rapidly diminishing global carbon budget and need for all sectors to decarbonise, buildings sector emissions have remained stubbornly consistent. While there is positive movement in some sectors – renewable energy, light-duty vehicles – decarbonising the buildings sector has been slow-moving. Why is there so little progress, and what would it take to initiate the kind of transformative change required?

A key reason behind the sector’s persistently high emissions is its diversity and complexity. Buildings come in all shapes and sizes, are used as residences or for commercial operations, and vary across a wide range of climate zones.  The decarbonisation measures required for existing buildings also differ dramatically for those appropriate for ensuring new buildings are zero carbon.

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