Latin America covers 20% of the world’s surface but only produces 12% of global carbon emissions. However, countries such as Brazil and Argentina have seen some of the most aggressive increases in individual country CO2
emissions over the last two decades. Given that 80% of Latin America’s population lives in cities, where we can expect the greatest increases in demand for energy and predicted growth in built floor space, it is necessary to ensure that these do not result in an overall growth in carbon emissions. Hence, we present the first review of the various “green building” rules developed in this region to curtail energy or carbon. This covers nine countries representing 80% of the region’s population. We find that these countries in Latin America have developed 94 different green building rules, though to different extents. Many pertain to domestic buildings that are known to contribute 17% of the overall carbon emissions. Subsidies and tax incentives are most common, whereas innovative carbon market schemes have only been adopted in Mexico and Chile. In Argentina and Chile, regulations are similar to their European cold-climate counterparts but are poorly enforced. Overall, we find considerable progress in Latin America to create new standards and regulations, with enforcement being a major future challenge.
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