The furore surrounding Copenhagen was immense, and at no other time in history has our climate had so much scrutiny. The Copenhagen Accord that emerged is not the comprehensive agreement that many have demanded, nor the total waste of effort that some have claimed, but the foundations for a significant climate deal. Delegates from 192 nations, represented in the final session by India, China, United States, Brazil and South Africa, agreed upon limiting the world’s warming to 2°C, transparency in carbon auditing, and a financial package for the developing world. Angela Merkel called Cop15 the “first step towards a new world climate order,” and next year’s meeting in Mexico could be an even bigger step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
If Copenhagen marks a turning point in global consensus on climate change, it comes at a time of hope for world economies as well. The UK, the last major European nation still in recession is likely to move into growth as the Q4 results are published. Property markets across the globe, with some notable exceptions, seem to be seeing a small turn around in fortunes, and in comparison to December 2008 there is a marked improvement in confidence.
But what does Cop15 mean for property? There is an understanding of a common metric by which to measure energy use in buildings across the globe and there is no doubt governments will go into policy making with a greater understanding of the issues. For the UK and Northern Europe Copenhagen will mean very little due to the advanced nature of their green building and property regulations but for others such as the United States, India, and China policy changes are more likely to arise. We will have to wait and see what materialises.