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CO2 emissions from the global building sector are the highest ever recorded, according to the United Nations.

The UN Environment Program is set to release the findings of its 2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction later today.

The report found that despite stable energy demand, CO2 emissions from building operations and construction reached their highest level in 2019 at around 10 GtCO2, or 38 per cent of global energy‑related CO2 emissions.

“CO2 emission increased because of a high proportion of fossil fuels used for power generation, combined with higher activity levels in regions where electricity remains carbon-intensive,” the report said.

The sector’s decarbonisation progress is slowing down: it needs to increase by a factor of five to achieve net-zero by 2050.

“The rate of annual improvement is decreasing and moving the sector away from achieving decarbonisation,” the report said.

“In 2019, spending for energy efficient buildings increased for the first time in the past three years, but remains outpaced by investment in conventional buildings and construction.”

Building energy efficiency across global markets increased to $US152 billion in 2019, rising three per cent from 2018.

Spending for energy efficient buildings remains a small proportion of the $US5.8 trillion spent in the building and construction sector: for every $1 spent on energy efficiency, $37 is spent on conventional construction approaches.

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