From Climate Spectator: 8 November 2010 –
By Tony Arnel – The UN climate change meeting in Cancun in late November-December is unlikely to result in a breakthrough on a post-Kyoto climate change agreement. But as nations regroup following the Copenhagen stalemate, it could be an opportunity to re-energise international carbon trading and find some common interests between developed and developing nations.

It could start the process of reforming the international carbon offset market to stimulate investment by rich countries in sustainable building and urban development in the developing world. This would result in significant greenhouse gas emission reductions, create lucrative investment opportunities for developed nations and help improve living standards in the rapidly expanding urban areas of developing countries.

What is needed is a renewed political commitment to voluntary carbon trading markets, such as the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), or the proposed Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Measures (NAMAs). This could be achieved with a clear focus on the building sector, where the economic case is strongest and where new validation tools could radically streamline the current cumbersome processes.

Buildings in urban areas of the developing world are the single largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions – accounting for as much as 40 per cent of emissions – and the largest source of greenhouse emissions growth.

This makes buildings a crucial part of the climate change problem. But fortunately, they are also part of the solution, offering the lowest cost abatement opportunities through energy efficiency and new technologies. That is why in most developed countries, green building has become one of the fastest growing industries. Read the whole story