Aligning carbon targets


Aligning carbon targets for construction with (inter)national climate change mitigation commitments

Journal Article co-authored by Jannik Giesekam, Research Fellow at the Centre for Industrial Energy, Materials and Products (CIE-MAP), is published in a special issue of ‘Energy and Buildings’. The issue is titled ‘Aligning carbon targets for construction with (inter)national climate change mitigation commitments’.

The paper presents a review of the carbon reduction targets set by the largest UK construction firms and discusses the challenges in aligning these with sectoral and national carbon reduction commitments. This follows on from prior CIEMAP work demonstrating the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions from construction activity.


  • Some firms are trying to align carbon targets with (inter) national mitigation commitments
  • Construction firms face a unique set of challenges in aligning targets
  • There are a range of approaches yields different targets and corresponding mitigation options
  • Cross-sector dialogue is urgently needed to determine the best route forward


In the face of a changing climate, a growing number of construction firms are adopting carbon reduction targets on individual projects and across their portfolios. In the wake of the Paris Agreement, some firms are seeking a means of aligning their targets with sectoral, national and international mitigation commitments. There are numerous ways by which such an alignment can be achieved, each requiring different assumptions. Using data from the UK construction industry, this paper reviews current company commitments and progress in carbon mitigation; analyses the unique challenges in aligning construction targets, and presents a series of possible sectoral decarbonisation trajectories. The results highlight the disparity between current company targets and the range of possible trajectories. It is clear that a cross-industry dialogue is urgently required to establish an appropriate response that delivers both a widely-accepted target trajectory and a plan for its delivery. This paper is intended to stimulate and support this necessary debate by illustrating the impact of different methodological assumptions and highlighting the critical features of an appropriate response.

A full version of the paper is available to download on the ScienceDirect website.
A brief overview of the End Use Energy Demand Centres (EUED) Centres.