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WorldGBC calls for ambitious EU emissions target for 2040

17 July 2023

World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has responded to the European Commission’s consultation on an emissions target for 2040, calling for the highest level of ambition which addresses and recognises the built environment’s full potential in securing a sustainable future.

The EU is developing a climate target for 2040, which aims to put it on track to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, and which will follow on from its 55% climate target for 2030.

In a position paper submitted to the Commission last month, WorldGBC called for this 2040 climate target to be set at over 90%, to bring the EU as closely in alignment as possible with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The paper also highlights the potential of the buildings sector in achieving this target, as the built environment accounts for 40% of total energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions across Europe. Specific policy recommendations are addressed in the paper for how the building sector can be decarbonised in areas such as building regulations, waste and circularity, sustainable procurement and sustainable finance.

Additionally, where carbon removals in the buildings sector are concerned, WorldGBC in its response calls on EU policies to prioritise a ‘reduction-first’ approach, and where carbon removals and offsetting are used, these should receive independent third-party verification. WorldGBC also recommends that the EU should set a separate target for reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and another target for carbon removals.

The consultation comes at a time when the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) revision is in the middle of trilogue negotiations. With key elements of the revision expected to be under discussion, such as the introduction of Minimum Energy Performance Standards, the harmonisation of Energy Performance Certificates, and the introduction of Whole Life Carbon reporting, it is crucial that such measures are safeguarded to keep the EU on track towards its climate targets.

The EU is expected to finalise its climate target for 2040 in the first quarter of 2024.

You can read WorldGBC’s full position paper here.