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Yet the Built Environment has received only a small fraction of the climate-focused R&D funding of other sectors. Although there was a 16% increase in investments in 2021 among G7 countries in energy efficiency of building operations, these commitments pale in comparison to what is required to decarbonize the built environment. Construction is also the largest global industrialized sector and at the highest risk of forced labor (Design for Freedom Report, 2022). Building materials, which are projected to comprise almost 50% of carbon impacts within the sector moving forward, are typically not even addressed in programs that target energy efficiency. (IEA, 2017)

The Built Environment is the most carbon-intensive sector, responsible for at least 40% of global carbon emissions. If we are to reach the goals of the Paris Climate Accord to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees and mitigate dangerous climate change, we need to move far more aggressively to decarbonize the Built Environment. Buildings and cities also disproportionately impact the triple planetary crises of climate change, habitat and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste.

How big is the problem of building materials?

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