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The Renaissance Tower, winner of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Platinum Certificate, in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

While countries like the U.S. and EU member states have to backpedal their heavy carbon emissions, emerging markets could still leapfrog the most carbon-intensive approaches to urbanization.

Why it matters: 60% of the world’s cities have yet to be built. Since buildings and building construction account for 36% of final global energy consumption and nearly 40% of total CO2 emissions, opting for green buildings in these new and more dense urban spaces would help meet global climate goals while sustaining economic growth.

How it works: Green buildings — from hospitals to hotels — have been shown to protect people and the environment while improving the bottom line. Increased resource efficiency means lower utility bills.

  • The basic elements of green building — structural orientation, conservative use of glass, water-efficient toilets, rainwater harvesting systems — are well understood and widely available.
  • Investors have been taking note of the business case: lower long-term operating and maintenance costs, decreased odds of becoming a stranded asset, and higher returns on investment due to lower sustainability risks. In emerging markets, green buildings represent a $24.7 trillion investment opportunity.

What's needed: Increasing both the supply of and demand for green buildings depends on several key factors:

Between the lines: Capturing data could prove vital as governments and policymakers experiment and test partnerships to fine-tune their approaches.

The bottom line: The private sector, governments and financial institutions will likely have to come together to adopt standards capable of transforming real estate, especially in the emerging markets where these improvements could have the greatest impact.

Alzbeta Klein is the director for climate business at the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group.

Go deeper

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.

American Airlines cuts hundreds of flights amid demand surge

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American Airlines announced Sunday that it's cutting some 950 flights from its schedule, including 296 this weekend, to reduce potential pressure on its operations, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Driving the news: The U.S. vaccine rollout has led to a massive increase in travel bookings. The airline noted in an emailed statement that it's facing an "incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand."

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Florida Pride parade fatal crash a "tragic accident," police say

Participants walk away as police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Police said Sunday they believe a driver unintentionally hit spectators at a weekend Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, resulting in the death of one man and leaving another person hospitalized.

The latest: Addressing speculation that the crash may have been a hate crime against the LGBTQ community, Wilton Manors police chief Gary Blocker said in a statement: "Today we know yesterday's incident was a tragic accident, and not a criminal act directed at anyone, or any group of individuals."