As we sing Auld Lang Syne to 2023, a pivotal year for global sustainability efforts, it’s time to reflect on the strides made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in the realm of the built environment, all as described in our top 10 most read blog posts of the year.

The past year has witnessed unprecedented innovation and a global commitment to addressing climate change. This year in review not only celebrates the progress made but more importantly looks ahead to the explosive growth in business opportunities in the promise of techno-optimism in steering us toward a decarbonized, more sustainable future.

Green Building Initiatives

In 2023, while popular media focused on the impact of Taylor Swift on U.S. GDP and the growth of AI across the globe, as well as the ramifications of wars in Ukraine and Gaza, and embracing Elon Musk, our clients and their stakeholders concentrated on the surge in post pandemic sustainable initiatives aimed at curbing carbon emissions and fostering eco friendly and healthy living and working spaces. Governments, corporations, and individuals alike embraced sustainable construction practices, energy efficient technologies, and renewable energy sources, as well as the broader green building pillars including fighting modern slavery.

One of the standout achievements of the year was, despite the slight uptick of greenhouse gas emissions economywide, the significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. Through the adoption of energy efficient designs, improved insulation, the growing integration of solar panels, and other renewable energy solutions, the built environment played a crucial role in mitigating climate change.

Technological Innovations Driving Change

Techno optimism took center stage as cutting edge technologies played a pivotal role in advancing sustainability goals while apocalyptic environmentalism is losing steam in the face of prosperity. The integration of smart building technologies, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things not only enhanced energy efficiency but also allowed for real time monitoring and optimization of resource consumption in increasing numbers of buildings, not just modern skyscrapers in coastal cities.

These largely market driven advancements not only reduce environmental impact but are also translating into significant cost savings for businesses and homeowners. One piece of bad news in the offing is sophomoric attempts by state and local governments to regulate building energy, including growing numbers of building energy performance standards that not only pervert the market but pick (.. often poorly) winners and losers, hurting disadvantaged communities.

Explosive Business Opportunities

The beginning of the shift towards decarbonization in 2023 was not just a moral imperative; it also presented, literally Trillions of dollars annually in business opportunities as economies across the globe move from fossil fuel economies dating from the Industrial Revolution. Companies that embraced eco friendly practices found themselves at the forefront of a rapidly expanding market. The demand for environmentally conscious products and services skyrocketed from renewable energy providers to sustainable construction firms. Consider that only days ago the Biden Administration invoked the wartime emergency powers based on climate change to utilize the Defense Production Act to increase domestic production of electric heat pumps.

Investors flocked to businesses with a strong commitment to sustainability, recognizing the long-term viability and profitability of green ventures. Against the backdrop of a global economy that has continued to grow, the explosive growth in sustainable industries marked a paradigm shift, with environmentally responsible practices proving to be not just a corporate responsibility but a lucrative business strategy.

The planet’s population keeps growing on track to pass 8,100,000,000 in 2024, a huge positive for prosperity.

Top 10 List

As we look for what will be the bleeding edge sustainability trends of 2024 “with one eye on the past, one eye on the future” here is a Top 10 List, with apologies to David Letterman, of our most read blog posts in 2023, which compilation provides a year in review that is an eclectic mix of environmental matters as self-selected for reading by readers of the blog. In descending order, these are the posts that had the most traffic:

  1. Greenhouse Gas Data Must be Collected Beginning January 1 in Maryland
  2. Tenants Monetizing their Greenhouse Gas Emission Data
  3. White House to Define Zero Emission Building
  4. Does Your Lease Need Greenhouse Gas Provisions?
  5. Guidance on Avoiding Greenwashing while Providing Input Down Under 
  6. Greenhouse Gas Emission Disclosures in Real Estate Contracts and Beyond
  7. The Evolution of Environmental Offsets: From Indulgences to Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions
  8. The Positive Side of Green Hushing: Averting Backlash and Enhancing Corporate Sustainability
  9. Two China Based Companies Banned as a Result of Forced Labor
  10. We Need to Do Better to Reduce Food Waste

Looking Ahead to 2024 and Beyond

As we stand on the cusp of 2024, the momentum gained in 2023 positions us for even greater strides in the journey toward a sustainable future. The year ahead, despite possible frolics and detours occasioned by ugly domestic politics, promises to be characterized by continued innovation with a heightened sense of urgency in addressing climate change.

Techno optimism remains a guiding principle, with the belief that human ingenuity and scientific advancements can pave the way for transformative solutions. From breakthroughs in carbon capture technologies to the development of sustainable materials, the coming years hold the potential to revolutionize economies across the globe as we solve environmental challenges.

On a personal note, we foresee tremendous growth in 2024 in our nonlaw work assisting clients in uncovering opportunities for their businesses, greenhouse gas emissions and otherwise. 

In conclusion, this 2023 year in review showcases the remarkable progress made in sustainability, particularly in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. The fusion of technological innovation, business acumen, and a collective commitment to environmental stewardship sets the stage for an era of unprecedented multi Trillion dollar annual growth in greenhouse gas emission conscious businesses. As we enter 2024, the call to action is clear, to continue harnessing the power of ingenuity and science to produce our way out of the climate change predicament and build a bigger and better future that is both prosperous and sustainable.

Happy New Year!