Forty environmental and business organizations joined forces to urge governments to prioritize reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from the built environment and increase investment in this sector. As partners in a new international action network called the Global Leadership in Our Built Environment (GLOBE) Alliance, the organizations are working together to advocate sustainable building and infrastructure practices as a key strategy for combating climate change.

“China is projected to build the equivalent of 10 New York Cities over the next decade,” said Jane Henley, chief executive officer of the World Green Building Council, an organizer of the GLOBE Alliance. “We must immediately begin putting the policies and financial measures in place to decouple economic growth from its impacts on the climate and the environment, in both developing and developed nations.”

The built environment has the greatest opportunity to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions worldwide at the lowest cost. Without action, global emissions from buildings—which account for more than a third of total greenhouse-gas pollution—are projected to double by 2030. Current Kyoto-era programs, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), have failed to take on infrastructure and buildings, leaving little financial flow for developing countries to address large polluters and learn to build more efficiently.

The GLOBE Alliance has called on the international community to invest in the built environment to ensure sustainable building, transport, and infrastructure activities are recognized as nationally appropriate emission-mitigation actions and to reform the CDM. The full Call to Action can be found online.