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Why is the shift to net zero important?

If we continue to emit greenhouse gases at current rates, we are headed for a world where global temperature rises will exceed two degrees. Keeping the temperature rise below two degrees, within the limits set out in the Paris Agreement, means we avoid the most extreme impacts of climate change.

In order to achieve this target, we have set two goals:

  1. All new buildings must operate at net zero carbon from 2030
  2. 100% of buildings – new and existing - must operate at net zero carbon by 2050

We recognise that this is not easy and will not happen over night, and we applaud all efforts on green buildings – not just those on net zero - that help us on our journey to a net zero carbon built environment by 2050.

In Europe for example, countries must legally ensure that all new buildings occupied and owned by public authorities are “nearly zero energy” from 2019 onwards. In this region, the debate has focused on “nearly zero energy buildings” as opposed to strictly net zero carbon buildings. But nearly zero energy buildings are a critical step towards achieving the 2050 target. For more information on nearly zero energy buildings, see this European Commission guidance.

Our report From Thousands to Billions includes more information on why we must ensure every building is net zero emissions by 2050. This was released under the Advancing Net Zero project, which is sponsored by Integral Group, Lendlease and ROCKWOOL.