Climate Change: Construction Industry Can Cut Down Emissions By 44 Per Cent By 2050, Finds C40 Cities Report

Sun rises over an under-construction apartment building on the outskirts of New Delhi. (PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

A report published on Tuesday (8 October) said changes to the construction industry could cut the emissions generated from buildings and infrastructure 44 per cent by 2050.

The report, 'Building and Infrastructure Consumption Emissions', published by C40 Cities, Arup and the University of Leeds urge action in six key areas to reduce the climate impact of construction in cities.

They are implementing efficiency in material design, enhancing existing building utilization, switching high-emission materials to sustainable timber where appropriate, using lower-carbon cement, reusing building materials and components and using low, or zero-emission construction machinery.

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As well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the research reveals the additional economic, social and health benefits that 'clean' construction could generate.

The interventions identified in the research would reduce air and noise pollution, providing health benefits for citizens and the environment. They would also spark change within the growing construction economy, providing opportunities for new jobs and skills.

Cities are starting to take action on construction to address the climate impact of their consumption.

Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm will now reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from construction sites, in the effort to solve the climate crisis and improve public health.

Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen and Raymond Johansen, Governing Mayor of Oslo, on Tuesday announced their ambition to reduce the use of fossil fuels in construction sites and civil works.

The mayors pledged to enact regulations and/or planning policy to ensure they purchase biofuels and emission-free machinery for the city's own use.

Demand fossil-and emission-free solutions in public procurement and city supported projects.

In Oslo, all city-owned machinery and municipally or owned construction sites will operate with zero emissions by 2025.

Copenhagen's CPH2025 Climate Plan, roadmap 2017-2020, includes a goal for the city to use fossil-free fuels in its own non-road mobile machinery.

In the budget for 2020 Copenhagen have decided to promote a transformation from fossil fuels to sustainable biofuels, and to fossil-free non-road mobile machinery in its own machines and strengthen efforts that municipally commissioned construction sites and civil work will be fossil-free.

"Copenhagen will work to purchase fossil-free fuel for its own machinery and heavy vehicles, pilot projects with tender requirements for fossils-or emission-free construction machinery in construction projects," said Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, and C40 Vice-Chair.

"We will also collaborate with market players to make them use fossil-free fuels.

"In Oslo, construction sites generate as much as seven per cent of total emissions, equivalent to an additional 30,000 petrol cars on the road," said Raymond Johansen, Governing Mayor of Oslo.

Both cities have also pledged to reduce the indirect emissions generated from building works, through the prioritisation of retrofits and refurbishment of their existing stock, de-incentivizing demolitions, and encouraging the use of low-carbon and reusable materials.

"The world's cities are growing fast, with an area the size of Milan being built every week. It may be a boom time for builders but the construction industry is a major contributor to the climate crisis," said Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities.

Mayors of more than 70 cities will meet in Copenhagen for the C40 World Mayors Summit 2019 from 9-12 October to develop solutions to the global climate crisis.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will take part in the summit to show his support for the tremendous efforts undertaken by cities, more than 100 of which committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

He will join more than 70 mayors and city leaders from the largest and most influential around the world, along with youth activists, leaders from business and civil society at the summit on October 11, where they will commit to more ambitious climate action and showcase the innovative solutions that are creating healthier, more livable and resilient communities.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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