In the past 12 months, extreme weather events across the globe have highlighted the urgency of action against climate change.

Key to success will be the decarbonisation policies of governments throughout the world, within which strategies for decarbonising the built environment are critical.

RICS has identified opportunities for policy reform in several global markets, and is calling on leaders in the UK, North America, Hong Kong, India, the European Union and the EU to make changes with urgency in order to meet their own targets for decarbonisation. At RICS, we believe that these regions will fall short without change.

The UK

Buildings produce 25% of all UK emissions, and policies designed to reduce these emissions fall short. The government must accelerate policy development if it hopes to retain and renew its world leadership on climate change action and meet its decarbonisation targets.

The EU

The building sector accounts for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 37% of CO2 emissions in the EU. Though the region is streets ahead in its decarbonisation efforts, with a wealth of policies in place to mitigate against carbon emissions in the built environment, it is still projected to miss its 2030 target of 55 per cent reduction compared to 1990 by 14 per cent.

North America

RICS has identified several policy reforms that support the US and Canada in their bid to establish themselves as key leaders in the global fight against climate change. Serious conversations about the impact of climate change are required in North America to depoliticise the crisis and underline the true cost of inaction.

Hong Kong

Buildings account for around 90% of the city’s electricity consumption and more than 60% of carbon emissions. RICS calls on the government of Hong Kong to take a holistic approach to decarbonisation of the built environment, addressing construction practices, building design, energy sources, and community engagement through urgent policy reform.


Although historically India’s contribution to climate change has been minimal, the country is now the third largest national emitter of carbon and is in the throes of a rising construction boom with severe policy and regulation gaps to curb emissions.​

While we await policy reform in India, the country’s emissions grow exponentially. India acknowledges its responsibility to tackle climate change, and we have identified key strategies that should be implemented with urgency in pursuit of that goal.


Chinese construction and real estate exhibit high carbon intensity with significant economic impact. While there has been a decrease in new development, the intensity of daily carbon emissions in existing buildings has been increasing, influenced by the rise in installation rates of residential air conditioning and domestic hot water units, electrical appliances, and the expanding coverage of central heating in regions with cold winters.