Are we actually heading towards the right targets when it comes to resilience in the future policies? There are more realistic opinions to this which shows the pressing challenges, but all of these are optimist opinions towards better cities. Optimism is due to the right technologies we HAVE, and most importantly the policy and immense financial support we NEED: for example, there is need of more than 2.8% GDP of EU for it to realize its goals by 2030. The panel discussion from the participation of EU, France, Costa Rica, Japan, Argentina, and the UK highlighted quite a diverse set of approaches, but similar industry focuses and very similar concerns. EU shares the concern of the inclusivity in the decision making prolonging the results and acceptance, with the stress of doubling the emissions reductions (target for 2018-2030 is 23% reduction while it was 22% for 1990-2017). Thus, EU proposes more transformative processes with graduality and focusing on renewables and renovation for zero-energy agenda.
France recently published its carbon neutral strategies with major focus on the 4 pillars for 2050 goals (1) Sustainable management of the sinks – forestlands, agricultural lands, increase food product, (2) Reduce non-energetic production – waste, residual, etc. (3) Decarbonize the whole energy consumption and production, and (4) Decrease the energy consumption – by a factor of 2! The short-term emissions target are available for every 3-5 years still and focus heavily on the retrofitting of the building stocks. The interesting part from France is the involvement of the carbon sinks i.e. the forests, agricultural lands, etc. in the carbon budgeting and sustainable management plan. Also, their priorities remain to work with continuous public and people authorities.
Costa Rica enlisted how it is aligning with the policy instruments mostly with the data gathering, analysis, and scenario projects. The UK ensured its focus on the risk assessment and the consumption side for handling the long-term strategies, while Argentina focused on the forestry and transportation strategies. Japan’s focus remained on the long-term laws for reducing 80% of GHGs by 2050. The concluding remarks from UNFCCC emphasized the need for multiple pillars e.g. Resilience, Energy transition, local actions, nature-based solutions, finance. Additionally, there were quite broader, but very important comments on the need of (1) constant renewal of the strategies, (2) cooperative political support from all the countries – beyond Environmental industries, (3) creating global perception and a societal debate – to promote the investments from business to households, and (4) raising of the ambitions and thus the intentions and the strategies, meaning meeting the NDCs need exponential trend, not linear growth.
The other side of the financing solutions goes towards African development solutions – with increasing demands and developing economies: with focus on environmental, social and economic development. The panel discussion by the Munich Climate insurance initiative with the African development bank and the Multilateral Development Bank mentioned that there is still a huge need of more targeted finances and more data-intensive approaches for understanding the hotspots of the overall development (as employed by ADB as well). Having said that, there is a need of developed countries involvement for increasing affordability of the solutions. Similarly, there is a need for being aware that the coal burden compensation is not shifted only to African development (and other developing and developed countries take enough responsibilities with carbon taxing/ quitting complete support for coal-based projects).