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The Emissions Gap Report 2016: A UNEP Synthesis Report

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This report, released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), aims to provide an up-to-date scientific assessment of the global progress towards the emissions reductions required to be on track to meet the long-term goal of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In particular, this year the report emphasises the implications of the Paris Agreement’s strengthened goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for immediate and longer-term mitigation action.


The key features and results of the report are:


  • The assessment is based on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by almost all countries in the world, and a large number of studies supporting robustness of the estimates.
  • The key quantitative results stay within the ranges presented in the 2015 assessment.
  • The results underpin the urgency of immediate and strong action, and the need to build on the momentum of the entry into force of the Paris Agreement. Since the results are not likely to change in the next two years, enhanced action need not wait for the facilitative dialogue in 2018.
  • The report identifies where solutions are available to deliver low-cost emission reductions at scale, including three major areas of action: contributions by non-state actors, energy efficiency acceleration, and synergies with achievement of the sustainable development goals.

As regards buildings, the report presents policies that have proven to accelerate energy efficiency gains which involve:


Energy codes. According to the authors, the existence of a building energy codes alone does not guarantee emission reductions. To ensure their effectiveness, the following principles need to also be adopted:


  • Compliance monitoring and enforcement are essential. Typically, limited human and financial resources for this activity will be a key barrier to the successful implementation of building codes.
  • The design of building energy codes should follow a holistic approach, covering energy performance, quality and safety, and utilisation of renewable energy.
  • The stringency of building energy codes should be regularly revisited and strengthened. Leapfrogging to very high efficiency performance standards have also been demonstrated and avoid lock-in.

Information and energy performance certification. It is recommended that that countries, before adopting energy performance certification programmes for buildings developed in the past, to carefully examine their stringency from the perspective of carbon lock-in, and the energy and emissions performance requirements are brought as close to the state-of-the-art as possible.


Highly energy efficient buildings. In particular Passicehauses, Net-zero energy buildings, Energy positive (or e+) buildings.


For further information please visit the link provided below to download and read the full report.