Embodied Carbon—the emissions released from materials during the construction of buildings and infrastructure—will be responsible for half of the carbon footprint of new structures between now and 2050. It is a substantial source of carbon emissions in cities that can be dramatically reduced through the legal and regulatory powers of zoning and land use policies. Some leading cities around the world have already begun to adopt and apply these policies, but for climate goals to be met, global implementation needs to be accelerated.
This framework provides guidance for cities considering policies that can deliver the highest impact within their geopolitical contexts and regulatory systems. Over 50 existing policies from leading cities have been evaluated, categorized, and scored according to their potential, cost efficiency, ease of implementation, and enforceability.