Summarised here are the COP25 events and their associated resources which shed some light as to how consulting engineering firms may be able to plan and develop their climate-related interventions.

Adaptation
Global Commission on Adaptation  

Report: Adapt Now: A global call for leadership on climate resilience PDF

Event: "Adaptation: A business imperative" (GEF Pavilion; 10 Dec 2019)

In September 2019, the Global Commission on Adaptation issued a Flagship Report and Action Tracks calling on governments, businesses, and communities to take  urgent action to step up adaptation measures. Argues for an investment of USD 1.8 trillion across five key areas (resilient infrastructure; resilient water supplies; early warning systems; agriculture, mangrove protection). Climate resilience needs to be integrated into all infrastructure assets and systems throughout their lifecycles. Many best-practice examples and proposals (e.g.,  adaptation in informal communities: Asian Coalition for Community Action; Know Your City)


Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy

Report: Climate Emergency: Unlocking the urban opportunity together PDF

Report: Impact report 2019 PDF

Event: Climate-resilient urban infrastructure - who pays? (Open meeting; 10 Dec 2019)

Finds a 60% surge in annual potential emissions reduction across cities and local governments. Higher than average climate risks (adaptation deficits) are situated in countries with a lower national readiness to adapt.


International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure

Announcement

A recent global sustainable infrastructure summit led to a collaborative agreement.


MDB-IDFC framework and principles for developing climate resilience metrics

Report: A framework and principles for climate resilience metrics in financing operations PDF

Event: "How to measure climate resilience: starting with a framework and common principles " (MDB Pavilion; 5 Dec 2019)

Climate resilience metrics need to be context-specific and fit-for-purpose in order to accommodate the wide rangeof activities that can be measured at different stages of the life cycle (e.g., project, organisation, sector, programme, and system) and on different scales of action (e.g., local, national, transboundary, regional, and global).


Climate Action in Financial Institutions

Event: "How to build an integrated framework to manage climate-related risks" (MDB Pavilion; 5 Dec 2019)

A coalition of public and private financial institutions around the globe aiming to systematically integrate climate change considerations across their strategies, programs and operations.  Provided an overview of some of the technical challenges and practical implications that financial institutions have to grapple with when it comes to assessing and managing climate change risks at project, portfolio and counterparty level. Quantitative and qualitative metrics for both physical-related climate risks and transition-related climate risks are the main concern.

Main topic: methodologies for assessing mitigation co-benefits of adaptation actions. Gave a step-by-step approach for identifying,  assessing, quantifying and reporting mitigation co-benefits of adaptation (see PDF). Mitigation co-benefits of adaptation measures can be positive or negative. The specification of baselines for adaptation is critical to determine whether negative mitigation co-benefits of adaptation occur.


FIDIC / EFCA

Event: Mainstreaming adaptation and carbon footprinting (EU Pavilion; 3 March 2019)

Presentation: ThinkNature (GIB PDF), nature-based solutions (IUCN), mainstream challenges (FIDIC/EFCA), and product labelling (Equilibria and partners)

FIDIC/EFCA, IUCN and ThinkNature focused on mainstreaming adaptation in meeting today’s systemic and built-environment challenges today through considerations for developing guidance and tools for adaptation planning. Press release

The session on mainstreaming was part of a comprehensive adaptation event with sessions covering adaptation challenges (ISO), metrics (Climate Perspectives Goup), earth observation (Group on Earth Observations), nature-based solutions (ThinkNature; IUCN), mainstreaming (FIDIC/EFCA), and ISO 14067-based product footprinting (Carbon Footprint Italy; Costa Rica; Chiesi) Presentations

FIDIC and EFCA reiterated their commitment to adaptation for climate-resilient infrastructure. See Statement of Commitments


Adaptation Benefit Mechanism

Event: "ABM - Report on the work of the outcomes of the 1st Executive Committee meeting" (MDB Pavilion; 4 Dec 2019)

ABM certifies the social, economic and environmental benefits of adaptation actions. A first attempt to operationalize a mechanism that supports adaptation activities and aims to quantify, verify and certify its sustainable development benefits using results-based finance. A candidate for non-market-based approaches under Article 6.8. Generates so-called adaptation benefit units (ABUs) that are delivered directly to the end-user. Pilot phase of 10-12 small-scale replicable or scalable demonstration activities. The mechanism is particularly suitable for adaptation activities in rural or low-income areas where climate impacts aresignificant. See Moving to next-generation carbon markets (PDF June 2019).


GEF

Event: "Scaling up climate change adaptation in vulnerable countries - The LDC perspective" (Side event; 4 Dec  2019)

Webcast

Covered the GEF adaptation programming strategy, examples of recent LDCF (Least Developed Countries Fund) projects that are striving for higher impact, and needs and expectations for the LDCF. 


UNFCCC Adaptation Committee

Event: "Adaptation Committee: Overview of adaptation under the UNFCCC" (Side event; 4 Dec 2019)

Webcast


Adaptation Without Borders

Event: "Reimagining adaptation: opportunities to manage risk and build resilience in a interconnected world" (UNFCCC Adaptation Pavilion; 10 Dec 2019)

Mainly transboundary adaptation issues. Website


GEF Challenge Programme for Adaptation Innovation

Event: "Announced winners of inaugural programme" (GEF Pavilion)

The programme supports scalable, bankable solutions that can help industries and communities  cope with the adverse impacts of climate  change, and build economies that are resilient to changing weather and water patterns. More  than 400 submissions were received following a call for proposals in August 2019. Half of the funding will be used to support initiatives in LDCs. The winning sponsors who have their proposals approved will be eligible for between USD 500,000 to USD 2 million in seed funding,  contingent upon final project proposal review and approval. Website




GCF
GCF

Event: "Strengthening GCF’s effectiveness and efficiency (The Green Climate Fund results over its initial resource mobilization period 2015-2019) (Side event; 6 Dec 2019)

Event: " What are we learning about transformational change and what are evaluations telling us? GCF and CIF share their perspectives" (GCF Pavilion; 11 Dec 2019)

Report: Performance review of the Green Climate Fund PDF

The first forward-looking review of the GCF after four years operation gives insights into how  project selection criteria for adaptation will evolve.

But first, some general remarks. The review's recommendations are:

  • increase the use of country-based direct access entities in managing GCF-funded activities;
  • develop a new strategic plan that positions GCF as a thought leader, policy influencer and provider of innovative climate crisis solutions.

Until February 2019, the Fund had committed 75% of its USD 7.1 billion of pledged capital and is expected to leverage additional co-financing up to USD 12.6 billion so it is by far the largest international climate change fund. 

When looking at the USD 57 billion in multilateral climate finance flows (mostly from MDBs) to developing countries, the GCF’s annual USD 1.5 billion commitment rate represents a share of 2.7%. The biggest players in this space are the seven major MDBs. MDBs provide 49% of international adaptation finance and 78% of international mitigation finance.

The review also argued for the further development of "climate value" investment criteria that provide a framework for adaptation criteria in general (see blog item).



Buildings
GABC 

Report: 2019 Global status report for buildings and construction PDF

Event: "2019 global status report for buildings and construction"  (Press centre; 12 Dec 2019)


GIZ / PEEB

Event: "Transparency in transport and development of GHG Buildings Compendium" or "Prioritizing mitigation actions in the transport and buildings sectors – the role of robust emission quantification methodologies" (Side event; 9 Dec 2019)

Webcast 

Introducd draft chapter on the UNFCCC Buildings Compendium on GHG Baselines and Monitoring was presented. Final document to be published in mid-2020.

Available is a Compendium presenting bottom-up methodologies to collect GHG quantifications and mitigation actions to reduce GHG emissions in the transport sector. PDF

The development of effective buildings' climate strategies to implement appropriate and cost-effective mitigation actions rests upon the availability of comprehensive data and the application of sound assessment methods for emission reduction potentials. Unfortunately, many countries lack comprehensive emission inventories and mitigation scenario analysis to inform sound climate action planning. One effort to build capacity in this area is the development of the Compendium on GHG Baselines and Monitoring. See PDF

A Compendium comprises a methodology for national GHG emission calculations: prioritising mitigation actions in a sector sector (e.g., for the buildings sector, looking at all building stages, supply and demand, and highlighting the sector's relevance for shaping the most effective mitigation actions).

A compendium deals with bottom-up modelling approaches, which are mostly used for mitigation assessment of individual sectors of the economy. 

Top-down models often provide estimates of reduction potentials from the buildings sector, which are lower than those calculated from bottom-up assessments. This is because the top-down models examine only responses to price signals, whereas most of the potential in the buildings sector is thought to be from ‘negative cost’ measures that would be primarily realized through other kinds of interventions (such as buildings or appliance standards).

Top-down models assume that the regulatory environments of baseline and mitigation cases are similar, so that any negative cost potential is either neglected or assumed to be included in the baseline.


GEF

Event: "Building Ambition: From energy efficiency to decarbonized buildings" (GEF Pavilion; 7 Dec 2019)

Described how several global initiatives seek to support ambitious action by cities and countries, including five years of experience with:

as well as two initiatives launched at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit: 


BEIS

Report: Accelerating the low-carbon transition - the case for strong, more targeted and coordinated international action PDF 

Event: "Accelerating the low-carbon transition" (UK Pavilion; 9 Dec 2019)

The report has a section on buildings where the most powerful policy measure to accelerate diffusion of high efficiency buildings is standard-setting in the form of mandatory energy codes for new buildings. 

But there is wide variation between the multiple mandatory and voluntary standards in use. Most part mandatory standards (or codes) share four weaknesses: a) they apply only to operating emissions, and not to emissions embodied in construction; b) they apply only to the intended operating efficiency, assessed on the basis of building design, rather than to the actual operating efficiency, assessed on the basis of performance; c) they are not aligned with emission reduction trajectories consistent with climate goals; and d) they do not apply to the whole of the sector (e.g., applying to only residential or only to commercial buildings). 

Trends:

  • follow Australia in moving to performance-based standards, which measure actual operating efficiency and require buildings to operate as efficiently as they are supposed to; 
  • there is opportunity for standards and measurement of embodied emissions in building construction to be developed in a consistent way, since almost no countries have these at present. 


GABC / PEEB / BPIE

Event: "Moving towards zero carbon buildings - solutions, tools and progress from around the world" (Side event; 3 Dec 2019)

Webcast

Topics: GABC 2019 report; hospitality industry in Mexico; PEEB Tunisia programme including a guide (under development) for renewable energy and energy efficiency in hospitals; EUCalc,  a new tool to help policy makers develop GHG scenarios for Europe.


GABC / PEEB

Event: "Embedding buildings and construction into NDCs" (NDC Partnership Pavilion; 5 Dec 2019)

Report (2018): A guide for incorporating buildings actions into NDCs PDF

GABC Buildings and Climate Change Adaptation Working Group presentation PDF


MPGCA Human Settlements Group

Event: "Human Settlements - Climatic emergency - Time to act for zero-carbon cities and buildings" (Open meeting; 7 Dec 2019)

Webcast


WGBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment

Cities and companies pledge to reach net zero emissions for their own buildings portfolios by 2030. The aim is to develop tools and resources, including net zero carbon buildings certification schemes and training programmes, to support their advocacy work. Overview


IFC

Event: "An investment blueprint for green buildings"  (MDB Pavilion; 11 Dec 2019)

Report: Green buildings - a finance and policy blueprint for emerging markets PDF


EU

Event: "Creating local conditions on the ground for making decarbonisation of buildings a reality" (EU Pavilion; 10 Dec 2019) 

Explored how to create the local conditions for the transition to decarbonised buildings to happen. The session looked at the different angles for mobilising energy efficiency and renewable technologies, creating a more sustainable living environment for citizens, activating bottom up action by local and regional authorities, and mobilising the financial support that is needed, in the most effective way. 


One UN for Climate-Compatible Cities

Event: "Activating the potential of settlements for low-carbon and resilient nations" (9 Dec 2019)

Showcased transformative urban climate action - from enabling policies, to new partnerships, finance and business models and discuss how to scale up innovative solutions within and across levels and sectors, e.g. mobility, buildings and energy.


WGBC

Event: "Embodied carbon and the Paris Agreement, a methodology for the construction sector" (RAPA-NUI Action Hub; 7 Dec 2019)

WGBC/BEIS

Event: "Decarbonising puildings - breaking the carbon connection" (UK Pavilion; 7 Dec 2019)

WGBC

Event: "Building smart sities - the role of net-zero technologies" (8 Dec 2019)




Climate law
Climate Law & Governance Initiative

Events: "5th annual Climate Law & Governance Day"

Report: Resolving Climate Change Related Disputes through Arbitration and ADR PDF

The report identifies three broad categories of contracts that have a relatively high probability of leading to “climate change-related” disputes and includes  hypothetical cases for each category. Dispute avoidance measures were not developed. The main category as regards most areas of construction are those that do not have a specific climate-related purpose or subject-matter (e.g., construction of a renewable energy plant that meets international climate change agreements), but a dispute involves a climate or environmental issue.

The hypothetical cases for construction contracts related to poor specification and the origin of failed tests on completion. The proposed classification possibly needs to be expanded to better highlight adapation risks and the need to adjust certain contract provisions and to strengthen specifications. 


Grantham

Event: "Global trends in climate legislation and litigation: enhancing resilience and adaptation" (Side event; 9 Dec 2019)

Webcast

Report: Global trends in climate change litigation - 2019 snapshot PDF

Report: National laws and policies on climate change adaptation: a global review PDF

This first global review aims to understand how adaptation to climate change is  governed at the national level. Missing are:

  • more complex solutions, such as investing in the physical infrastructure that is required to adapt to climate change;
  • enhanced investment  that goes beyond hazard early warning systems, explicit reference to building codes and land-use planning (note: laws covering these aspects may be primarly at the local level and thus not captured by the report) .

Most adaptation-related framework laws and policies explicitly address the physical hazards they respond to and not long-term effects.


EBRD

Event: "Scaling-up the Paris Agreement implementation through climate legislation" (Side event; 6 Dec 2019)

Discusses translation of the Paris Agreement and the outcomes of Katowice and Madrid into innovative sectoral and cross-sectoral climate legislation.


Grantham / LSE

Event: "The role of legislation in implementing NDCs, increasing ambition and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050" (Side event; 7 Dec 2019)

Webcast

Reviewed experience dealing with climate change and energy transition legislation:

  • why legislation is important on the road to net zero; 
  • what makes a law credible, effective and investable;
  • the latest developments on the EU's net-zero framework.



Supply chains
CPD

Event: "Ambition and action for 1.5 degrees" (Side event; 9 Dec 2019)

Report: Changing the chain PDF

Supply chains hold the key to one gigaton of emissions savings. The private sector has huge potential to drive environmental action. However, supply chain emissions are on average 5.5 times greater than operational emissions. The construction project supply chain was not considered. Building and infrastructure fabric contributions to supply chain GHG emission was small (2.3%).



Carbon captutre & storage
Global CCS Institute

Event: "From words to action – Supporting the net-zero transition with carbon capture and storage" (IETA Pavilion; 10 Dec 2019)

Event: "Transforming industry: Developing carbon capture, utilisation and storage clusters" (UK Pavilion; 11 Dec 2019)

Report: Global status of CCS 2019 report - targeting cimate change PDF

Gives detailed information on, and analyses of, the global CCS facility pipeline, policy, storage and the legal and regulatory environment. In addition, four regional updates and a CCS technology section further demonstrate global development and the versality of CCS across a variety of applications and industry sectors.


CO2 Capture Project

Event:  "Survey of CO2 Storage Regulations" (IETA Business Hub; 4 Dec 2019)

Survey limited to CO2 injection and long-term storage where many regulations have yet to be rigorously tested owing to a low level of deployment of actual CCS projects on the ground. Reviews of regulations have been carried out using hypothetical projects or recommendations from technical panels.


Carbon Dioxide Removal

Low Emissions Development Strategy

Report: Net-zero emissions  - the role of carbon dioxide removal in the Paris Agreement PDF

Notes: the UNFCC states that countries ought to put forward strategies for the implementation of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR), complementing drastic emissions cuts as part of the Low Emissions Development Strategy that they are invited to present in 2020. The strategies are to take into account "common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances". The should also inform the enhancement of nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Once MRV ( monitoring, reporting and verification) at a project level is dealt with properly, aggregation for consideration in the national inventory should be straightforward.

MRV systems are broadly designed as either sector- or project-based. Individual CDR projects and activities should follow a stringent project-based MRV. For most CDR activities a clear and consistent system boundary can be outlined in regards to life-cycle emissions and removals.

The appropriateness of CDR under any policy instrument depends on the accuracy of  MRV of removals, which fundamentally need to build on appropriate assessments of the entire life-cycle emissions and sinks (cradle to grave). Continued MRV over very long periods is a necessary condition to ensure permanence. To advance, countries should seek to pursue pilot activities with a particular emphasis on working out high-quality MRV methodologies and accounting practices that provide reliable evidence of accrued removal results.


China Ministry of Ecology

Event: "Carbon capture, utilisation & storage - practices & prospects” (China Pavilion; 6 Dec 2019)

IAE presentation PDF

Provided insights as to the development of CCUS in China.



Hydrogen
CEM Hydrogen Initiative

Event: "Enabling environment to seize today’s opportunities for hydrogen" (Japan Pavilion; 9 Dec 2019)

Report: The future of hydrogen - seizing today’s opportunities PDF

First comprehensive IAE report on hydrogen that discusses the ways in which hydrogen can help to achieve a clean, secure and affordable energy future.



TO BE CONTINUED


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