Legal & General calls on government to take urgent action to reduce emissions from the built environment

An open letter to UK Government from LGIM’s Head of Sustainability, Head of LGIM Real Assets and CEO of Legal & General Capital.

Wind Turbine

COVID-19 has demonstrated the damage that natural disasters can inflict on economies. The world is currently on a trajectory of more than 2 degrees Celsius temperature rise, regarded as the limit of safety, beyond which the effect of warming on the climate becomes catastrophic and irreversible. Such a scenario would undoubtedly cause economic disruption and human suffering on a scale even greater than the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Buildings account for over a third of overall UK greenhouse gas emissions today, with heating and hot water constituting 20%. The UK government, which has committed to meeting net-zero emissions by 2050, recently announced a multibillion pound building and infrastructure package to fuel the country’s recovery following the pandemic. This ambition is welcome, particularly the introduction of measures such as the retrofit voucher scheme and investments to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings. But the recovery must be achieved without locking in high-emitting and inefficient buildings for decades to come. As the recovery gets underway, it is crucial that the opportunity to build back better is not lost.

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