GBPN Buildings Sector Summit and Symposium

The Paris-based Global Buildings Performance Network, funded by Climate Works of the US, held a series of meetings May 30 and 31st to essentially launch the Network.  The network has hubs in Europe, the US, China and India.  The meetings were designed to discuss two important research projects commissioned by the GBPN and released at the meeting.  The research found that the abatement potential of the building sector has been significantly underestimated and current best-practice policies are insufficient to achieve the greatest potential emission reductions.  The objective of the “building sector summit” was to develop a strategy to move beyond current best-practice policies and bridge the gap between what is currently possible and what is necessary to achieve deep cuts in GHG emissions.

The May 31st Symposium started with an inspiring presentation via video link, by Yvo de Boer, former head of the UN’s Climate Change secretariat.  He named five mega-forces that increase the urgency for improved energy efficiency, even though climate change has a “troubled landscape” at the moment. The mega-forces are global population growth, changing wealth patterns, energy insecurity, food insecurity and natural resource scarcity.  He said it is a frightening picture when you consider their interactions.  But he stated that there are opportunities and some collaboration beginning to emerge.  For buildings, there was a need to “future proof” the sector, but the transition required action and political willingness; stronger business leadership; and more collaboration between business, government and civil society.

Peter Graham, Executive Director of GBPN giving final comments

GBPN is reaching out to a wider community to develop a more comprehensive approach trying to achieve the potential.  More information is available on its website.  On May 31st, EiD followed the Symposium on Twitter.

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