Research Portal

April 15, 2024

Developing an Embodied Carbon Policy Reduction Calculator

Benke, B., Lewis, M., Carlisle, S., Huang, M., and Simonen, K. (2022). Developing an Embodied Carbon Policy Reduction Calculator. Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington. Seattle, WA.

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A growing number of cities are committed to tackling the urgent challenge of their built environment carbon footprint through their policies and programs. 110 cities took the Cities Race to Zero Clean Construction pledges to reduce embodied emissions in their policies and programmes in 2021, and 40 leading cities are participating in the C40 Clean Construction programme and mayors are setting the direction of travel by signing the Clean Construction Declaration, which requires collective action to halve embodied emissions by 2030.

However, embodied carbon is a new policy area for many cities and the lack of city-level data on embodied carbon is a significant barrier for policymakers to gain political support and make informed decisions. The goal of developing an embodied carbon policy reduction calculator is to address these challenges by:
-Modeling the potential embodied carbon reduction of a selected number of policies to give cities the values they need to make informed decisions;
-Allowing for comparison of emissions reduction policies for embodied carbon by key target dates (2030 and 2050) to assess the largest opportunities for impact;
-Evaluating which policies may be required to meet embodied carbon reduction targets, such as those set by city or regional climate action plans; and
-Ultimately enabling cities to make the case for and adopt policies to reduce embodied carbon.