The talk of the town

5 June 2015

Renewable energy—the darling of the mitigation community—came, saw and conquered at the Technical Expert Meeting (TEM) on Tuesday. And we are hungry for more. So, let’s roll out the red carpet for the under-appreciated ugly duckling of the emissions cutting measures—energy efficiency. It might get less attention, but let’s not forget it has turned into a swan. So, let’s refocus and zoom into the obvious low-hanging fruit that can help keep us within a warming of 1.5ºC. It’s time to welcome the Technical Expert Meeting on Energy Efficiency in Urban Environments. Insert feet stamping and loud applause here!

The TEM will be held today and tomorrow and ECO is expecting a full house.

Through energy efficiency, cities from Buenos Aires to Brazzaville and Berlin could contribute significantly to bridging the global emissions gap. Different kinds of urban action, according to the Stockholm Environment Institute, could decrease global GHG emissions by 3.7 GtCO2e below what national actions are currently on track to achieve in 2030, and by 8.0 GtCO2e in 2050. And some cities genuinely are tapping into this potential. Can we give a standing ovation for the cities leading the way, please?

Now, this is all fine and dandy. But what is still missing?

ECO understands that there is a need for a strong financial mechanism. The main hurdle continues to be a lack of access to innovative financing mechanisms that can encourage cities to switch from high-carbon urban infrastructures towards low-carbon, sustainable infrastructure.

The world’s quickly developing and smaller cities will require up-front investments for capacity building support to help formulate and implement long-term climate strategies. Cities would also need access to transformational technological solutions to ensure widespread access to zero-carbon energy services. Thus, any post-2020 international climate agreement (as well as the pre-2020 measures, we are looking at you mitigation Workstream 2) needs to provide incentives to rapidly reduce deployment costs of such technologies, while bolstering mechanisms for technology transfer towards the fast growing cities of the global south.

ECO asks all the cities who have gone at it alone and are harnessing the energy savings potential now to take a bow. Bravo!

The talk of the town

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