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Complex challenges of making building sector more climate friendly

14th CTI Workshop in Berlin

October 2013 - The 14th CTI-Workshop once again focused on the role of carbon market instruments for the building sector. The agenda was divided into two main blocks: on the one hand, the role of new carbon market instruments, and on the other more conventional approaches, i.e. regulatory and financial products, for climate protection in buildings.

The first day of the workshop began with a welcome address by Silke Karcher, head of division from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. In an introductory presentation and subsequent discussion it was pointed out by the speakers that the road towards a climate-friendly building sector lies in a mix of different instruments. In the subsequent session on one of these instruments, Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), it became clear that many countries are already in the process of developing and implementing NAMAs in the building sector. These national NAMA approaches are often tailored to the country-specific characteristics rather than following a blueprint approach.

In the following session on New Market Mechanisms (NMMs) the speakers showed that most NMM projects are not yet operational and can still learn from more advanced NAMAs. It also became evident that NAMAs and NMMs are strongly driven by government institutions, compared to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in which the private sector plays a much more significant role. In the last session of the day, the speakers presented international programmes for the promotion of carbon market instruments. It was shown that there is a variety of donors’ services to assist countries with the development and implementation of such instruments. In the final presentation of the day it was made clear once again that a mix of instruments, in particular regulations, is necessary to reduce the negative climate impact of the building sector worldwide.

At the beginning of the second day, a bridge was struck between the topics of carbon market instruments and conventional policy and financing instruments. This was achieved through the topic of the first session: Measuring, Reporting and Verifying (MRV), i.e. the measurement and monitoring of the achieved emission reductions. The verification of results obtained from the implementation of the various instruments is crucial for all instrument types. This was reflected in the strong interest of the participants in this session.

During the subsequent agenda item – conventional financing instruments – speakers presented how different financing options for climate change mitigation in buildings measures can look like. Three different examples – a bank, a fund, and a new business model – demonstrated that there are many ways to provide financing for climate protection in buildings. In the afternoon, the last session of the day covered regulatory approaches for climate protection in the building sector. Here, it was especially interesting to see examples of regulatory approaches from countries in the tropics. Subsequently, a lively debate ensued about the pros and cons of mandatory and voluntary building standards.

At the conclusion of the event selected speakers and participants shared the insights newly obtained during the two-day event. They also proposed complementing the topic of buildings with other topics related to urban infrastructure at the workshop next year, for example waste or transport. Finally, Dr. Silke Karcher thanked all the participants and wished a fruitful continuation of exchange throughout the year in the "spirit" of the CTI Workshop, and also in the form of the CTI Workshop Newsletter.