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How decarbonizing buildings is key to combating climate change

UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment says construction sector must reduce its environmental impact.

How decarbonizing buildings is key to combating climate change
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Our homes, offices, workplaces, schools, hospitals, and retail establishments significantly contribute to carbon emissions. Therefore, decarbonizing the built environment is urgent because buildings account for 40% of all global energy use and emissions, which continue to rise. 

At the ninth National Dialogue for Climate Ambition (NDCA) in the UAE, conducted at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), the theme was Decarbonizing the Buildings Sector.

During her keynote address, H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, emphasized that reducing carbon emissions is the key to combating climate change because it has ramifications for other climate mitigation strategies.

“The buildings and construction sector contribute significantly to the national carbon footprint. Globally, the buildings and construction sector is estimated to account for up to 40% of annual GHG emissions. This sector has the most embedded emissions as it relies heavily on concrete, one of the most used products globally. The industry increasingly recognizes that it must act now to reduce its environmental impact,” she said.

She added that the focus should be on ensuring green procurement practices that promote partnering with suppliers of low-carbon products, updating building regulations for new buildings, retrofitting existing buildings to improve energy efficiency, increasing efficient cooling, and the use of solar thermal in residential areas, and reducing waste generation and promoting recycling of construction and demolition waste.

“In line with the Year of Sustainability, and the UAE’s hosting COP28, we are keen to highlight the UAE’s goal towards achieving net zero by 2050 by involving the private sector in reducing GHG emissions, adapting to climate change, and promoting sustainable practices,” she further added.

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