On Friday in a pavilion on the fringe of the main Cop15 Summit, surprisingly few turned up for the Construction Counts for Climate side event (webcasts and presentations). The small audience did not set the tone for a huge number of column inches about the impact of real estate on climate change in the weekend papers and the Finnish Government should be congratulated on organising an event with some good speakers, who made some salient points.
The most interesting point from the event for me was the role that real estate “NAMAs” – Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions for developing countries – might play in arriving at a global climate change deal. To give an example, while I was working in Bangalore, for Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, I realised that it is clearly no good to build large glass panelled tower blocks in that region because the cost to cool these blocks would be inordinate. A government decision to prohibit such buildings in India would be classed as a NAMA and it will be interesting to see if such real estate solutions move from the sidelines to the fore in the decisive stage of the negotiations.
As the Summit enters this stage, poignantly, the blizzards blow in to Copenhagen while delegates tussle on carbon reduction commitments and financial package agreements to reduce global warming. Given the huge variation in effects that climate change could create, one thing we must avoid is a one size fits all policy, especially for the property sector.