What is the Ironclad Rule of Carbon?

22 November 2022

Lloyd Alter, Treehugger Editor: I try to distill many of the thoughts discussed on Treehugger into coherent lectures when teaching Sustainable Design at Toronto Metropolitan University’s School of Interior Design and The Creative School. The theme of my teaching this year is the importance of upfront carbon emissions—a subject I talk about often on Treehugger and a term that was actually developed on this site in a 2019 post titled “Let’s Rename Embodied Carbon” to “Upfront Carbon Emissions.” More recently, I wrote a post in which I developed what I called the “ironclad rule of carbon.”

As our buildings become more efficient and we decarbonize the electricity supply, emissions from embodied carbon will increasingly dominate and approach 100% of emissions.

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