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JLL Report Outlines Scale of Decarbonization Challenge for Real Estate

A new JLL report gives a global overview of all the cities setting commitments to move toward a net-zero economy, urging real estate owners to take action now as efforts intensify. The report notes that buildings account for about 60 percent of carbon emissions in cities, and decarbonizing real estate is a primary focus for global cities in meeting net-zero targets.

Some cities have more aggressive net-zero targets than others. For example, Copenhagen has the world’s most ambitious target date of 2025, followed by Helsinki and London in 2030. In the U.S., cities with net-zero plans include Boston, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington, D.C. “While this momentum is to be applauded, it brings issues of its own; cities have different ways of measuring, reporting, and regulating emissions,” JLL’s report says, adding, “this makes for a very complex global landscape.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge real estate will face in decarbonization in the years ahead is retrofitting. About 80 percent of the world’s building stock that will still be standing in 2050 has already been built, according to JLL, and the rate of energy retrofits to these buildings will have to pick up at a rapid pace. It’s very likely mandatory decarbonization rules will be passed in more cities worldwide in the second half of this decade. The report ends by saying that real estate owners shouldn’t wait for regulations to kick into gear in their areas before taking action.

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