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WorldGBC addresses climate impact of buildings in Global Stocktake response

10 March 2023

Ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), 30 November – 12 December 2023, World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has this week submitted a response to the world’s first Global Stocktake (GST), citing the climate impact and potential of the world’s buildings as a critical climate solution to deliver a resilient future.

The GST is a two year process that offers the global community a chance to reflect on progress towards collective goals agreed upon under the Paris Agreement, highlighting areas of progress and identifying key gaps before countries submit updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in 2025. These NDCs are essentially action plans that signatories to the Paris Agreement put forward to outline how they will meet their climate commitments. 

WorldGBC’s response highlights both the impact — but also the opportunity — that an integrated and holistic approach to action in the built environment can play in closing the gap to 1.5°C. Worldwide, buildings are responsible for 37% of global emissions, 34% of energy demand and 50% of materials consumption

As the largest contributing sector to climate change, the built environment can deliver the transformative change needed to decarbonise the global economy, but also address other pressing societal issues, including energy security, resilience, health and biodiversity.

Both industry and government must recognise the untapped potential in the sector and ensure that the buildings are properly referenced in their updated NDCs due in 2025. The pressing need for governments to address these emissions is exacerbated by the competing global challenges the world faces, particularly accelerating urbanisation and population growth. This presents a dual challenge for the sector — how to decarbonise an already high emitting sector, whilst simultaneously building a city the size of New York City every month.

WorldGBC has structured its GST response into three main sections, which explore the role of buildings in mitigation, adaptation and climate resilience, as well as how buildings can be a cross-cutting solution.

The process of the world’s first Global Stocktake will culminate at COP28 in Dubai, where it is anticipated the process will reveal the key sectoral gaps that exist, compelling countries to address these as they prepare to update their NDCs in 2025.

Cristina Gamboa, CEO, WorldGBC said:

“The Global Stocktake should serve as a call to action for governments to reflect on how their actions and policies and buildings will help them achieve the goals they are signed up to under the Paris Agreement.

“We must remember that 1.5ºC is a limit, not a target. With the Global Stocktake, we can send a clear statement on where action is needed so that governments and industry are motivated to take the action needed to address the impact and opportunity inherent in our sector.

“Our collective network of 75+ Green Building Councils know that the solutions exist, we are ready to scale and work with the government to ensure that pledges, commitments and promises are turned into action that is delivering the change the world demands.”

Read our full response here.