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24 May 2022

London’s buildings emit the highest share of carbon of any major city

Almost four fifths of carbon emissions in the capital come from its buildings.

By Afiq Fitri

The share of London’s carbon emissions caused by real estate is the highest among major world cities, according to an audit of 32 cities published by the real estate services company JLL. Almost 80 per cent of carbon emissions in the British capital come from its buildings, well above the 60 per cent median value based on JLL’s analysis.


According to the World Green Building Council, buildings account for about 40 per cent of global carbon emissions, but this figure is significantly higher in the largest global business centres. Buildings in Tokyo emit the second highest share of carbon emissions at 73 per cent, followed by Paris at 70 per cent.

In 2017 mayors from across the globe signed the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration, acknowledging that “urgent and dramatic action” was required to reduce building emissions. The declaration also included a commitment for major cities to only own, occupy and develop buildings that are net zero by 2030. The Mayor of London’s office also has plans to cut carbon emissions in London by 60 per cent by 2025, primarily by retrofitting buildings with new technology to make them more energy efficient.

There are concerns that structural change might not come fast enough. According to a survey conducted by JLL last year, just 29 per cent of respondents believed that major cities were taking radical action to tackle the future effects of climate change.

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