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Buildings and Construction: A Sleeping Giant for Climate Action

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Future proofing buildings and construction is among the most cost-effective measures to combat climate change.
  • The International Energy Agency estimates that realizing the potential of sustainable buildings will save USD 1.1 trillion by 2050, but the transition will require a shift in the USD 4.5 trillion that is invested into real estate each year.
  • The lead-up to COP 26 has the potential to raise ambition and wake this sleeping giant.

By Christiana Hageneder, is the Head of Secretariat, Programme for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (PEEB).

In the building sector, all trends are pointing upwards, with dramatic consequences for the climate. By 2060, the global building floor area is expected to double. Emerging and developing economies in warm and tropical climates will experience the biggest increase.

Already today, the construction and operation of buildings is responsible for 40% of all energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The sector consumes over a third of global final energy. Energy demand from the building sector is expected to grow by another 50% by 2050. Space cooling is a key driver of this demand – energy needs for space cooling are expected to triple.

Buildings cause greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions both when they are built, and over their long lifetime of 30 to 80 years. Our modern way of constructing is mostly based on concrete, using standard blueprints regardless of the climate. This leads to high energy bills for those who can afford it, and economic and health risks for those who cannot.

Future-proofing Buildings Can Drive SDGs 1, 7, 11

Energy-efficient buildings are not rocket science. Improvements in the building’s outer structure and appliances can achieve substantial energy savings compared to standard buildings. Measures to future-proof buildings can range from “low-tech,” such as painting roofs in light colors and ensuring natural shade, to digital solutions for building design and management. Additional macro-economic benefits include energy security, job creation and health. And from a business perspective future proofed buildings have a lower lifetime cost and higher asset values.

Climate action in buildings and construction is among the most cost-effective measures. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that realizing the potential of sustainable buildings will save USD 1.1 trillion by 2050.

Nevertheless, this transition requires a shift in investment. USD 4.5 trillion are invested into real estate every year. To channel this investment towards energy efficiency, we need to influence it from two directions: ambitious policy and regulation serving as a “stick,” and financing as a “carrot.”

The Programme for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (PEEB), a French-German initiative, works with its first five partner countries – Mexico, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia and Vietnam – to transform the building sector. PEEB combines financing energy efficiency in large-scale projects with technical assistance through policy advice. PEEB mobilizes innovative financing solutions for large building projects. For example, in Morocco PEEB supports the government in mobilising EUR 20 million in climate financing for a residential housing programme. A green loan programme for young families is in the making in Vietnam. The programme also works with partners to make policies and standards more ambitious and effective, through better enforcement of existing green building codes or setting standards for sectors like hotels or hospitals.

All of these advancements are helping to achieve 2030 Agenda targets on energy, housing and poverty.

Climate Action in the Building Sector is Gaining Momentum

Another international agreement – the Paris Agreement on climate change – also hangs in the balance; its goals will not be achieved without a climate focus for buildings in the new decade. A rapid decarbonization needs to happen in the building sector, driven by international and national actors.

In 2019, action on buildings took center stage. Led by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), buildings featured prominently at the climate change conference COP25 in Madrid, with topics ranging from zero carbon buildings to circular economy approaches in the buildings sector. The Global Status Report on Buildings and Construction confirmed the urgent need for action in the building sector. At the Climate Action Summit convened by the United Nations in September 2019, the Net Zero Carbon initiative was launched to leverage the leadership of governments, industry and civil society to commit to ambitious targets and mobilize funding. The Cool Coalition and SEforALL’s Cooling for All initiative have incorporated buildings as a key element of their strategies.

As we head into 2020, buildings are high on the agenda. The World Economic Forum has named moving towards zero carbon buildings as one of its four top priorities for tackling climate change. The report by the UK government on energy transitions features buildings as a key sector. The lead-up to the Glasgow Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26) in 2020 has an unprecedented opportunity to raise the ambition of all actors to make our buildings future-proof and wake this sleeping giant.

The author of this guest article, Christiana Hageneder, is the Head of Secretariat, Programme for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (PEEB).

CHRISTIANA HAGENEDER

Head of Secretariat, Programme for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (PEEB)
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Food

Can the supply chain for the demand for plant-based meat keep up?

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Demand for evidence-based knowledge is growing.   To bring it to all communities, we must democratize knowledge for the health and well-being of all life.

How do we strengthen ingredient and manufacturing capacity for plant-based meat in order to meet demand? GFI’s new report explores the future of this sector.
Authors: Blake Byrne, Ryan Dowdy, Ph.D.
Https://gfi. Org/wp content/uploads/2021/12/sci21045 science of alt protein january graphics website header featured image website header featured image

Evidence-based, Inspired by Nature, powered by passionate communities, and empowered by imagination.

In 2020, retail sales for plant-based alternatives grew twice as fast as overall food sales in the US. Sales for plant-based meat in particular grew 45 percent. This rising demand is influencing the sector in many ways, including an increasing number of farmers breaking into this “pulsing” category.

In recent years, consumer demand for plant-based meat has often outpaced the industry’s supply chain capabilities. In order to keep pace with the rapidly expanding demand for plant-based meat in the coming decade, the plant-based protein industry will need to make significant investments to expand manufacturing capacity and scale the ingredient supply chain.

The good news is we already have everything we need to enable such a system of systems.

Based on publicly available forecasts of plant-based meat demand and production needs, GFI’s new report, “Plant-based meat: Forecasting ingredient, infrastructure, and investment needs in 2030”, explores a hypothetical production scenario set in 2030, where plant-based meat has captured 6% of the global meat and seafood market, necessitating the production of 25 million metric tons (MMT) of plant-based meat annually.

Opportunities for Communities to take ownership in their stories: Be the Media.

Our analysis identifies a looming potential for global supply squeezes of cornerstone ingredients, like coconut oil and pea protein, in the coming years while also highlighting opportunities for the industry to proactively mitigate these supply strains. We also conservatively estimate that the industry will need to operate at least 800 manufacturing facilities—each producing on average at least 30,000MT of product annually—at a global capital cost of at least $27B within the decade in order to meet a 25MMT production target. This underscores the importance and urgency of incentivizing bold infrastructure investments to facilitate this transition.

Chart: estimated cumulative global capital expenditure in structured plant protein extrusion facilities by 2030.
GFI estimates that the plant-based meat industry collectively must invest at least $27B in capital expenditure into an estimated 810 extrusion facilities globally (each averaging 30,000 MT in annual throughput) to meet a 2030 global production target of 25MMT.

Some of these supply-side constraints are already happening. It is no secret that, in recent years, the plant-based meat industry has been supply, not demand, constrained. Numerous manufacturers are running into difficulties expanding production capacity to meet the needs of restaurants and grocery stores eager to offer novel and sustainable products.

GFI’s mission is to accelerate a transformation in our food system toward alternative protein production platforms as quickly as possible. Encouragingly, several industry analysts and market research reports have projected that this transformation may occur very rapidly. However, the topline projections often understate the real-world challenges of meeting such rapidly growing demand.

Market adoption curves can occur with shocking speed in many sectors, but in the food and agriculture system, transformation entails massive ingredient supply chain and infrastructure implications—not to mention impacts on global commodities markets—that can take time and substantial capital to manifest.

This is not like an app on a smartphone, where—in theory—billions of users can download it nearly instantaneously. This is not even like the conversion from traditional mobile phones to smartphones, where consumers made the switch by virtue of a single purchase of a product containing just a few ounces of material. Sustained transformation of the food system necessitates durable changes in the entire end-to-end supply chain of food production and, of course, lasting shifts in consumer purchasing patterns.
The private sector—investors, ingredient processors, extrusion equipment providers, and manufacturers alike—can realize significant financial upside by appreciating and planning for the enormous plant-based meat supply chain build that must take place in the coming decade. Likewise, governments would be wise to recognize that meaningful climate gains from a scaled shift towards plant-based meat will not be achievable in the near term unless they invest soon in open-access R&D and infrastructure for this burgeoning industry.

Meat made differently

Plant-based meat supply chains have structural efficiency and flexibility advantages over their conventional meat counterparts. Despite these comparative efficiencies, the industry should not underestimate the challenges and opportunities in expanding the plant-based meat supply chain to a scale rivaling that of conventional meat. Our analysis quantitatively demonstrates the enormous manufacturing footprint and level of investment necessary to avoid future supply constraints and successfully hit even modest plant-based meat production targets in 2030.

But our effort doesn’t stop here! Going forward, GFI will add cultivated meat and fermentation-powered proteins reports that answer similar questions about these critical technologies. These forecast reports are critical in ensuring the alternative protein industry can effectively and expediently realize the promise of meat made differently.

Authors: Blake Byrne and Ryan Dowdy, PhD.

Source: Good Food Institute

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Food

Too big to feed: The need to shift our food systems

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Pat Mooney is the co-founder and executive director of the ETC Group, and is an expert on agricultural diversity, biotechnology, and global governance with decades of experience in international civil society and several awards to his name.

The ETC group is an international civil society organization headquartered in Canada with offices in Mexico, Philippines, Nigeria and USA. ETC group has consultative status with ECOSOC, FAO, UNCTAD, UNEP, UNFCCC, IPCC and the UN Biodiversity Convention.

Since 1977, ETC group has focused on the role of new technologies on the lives and livelihoods of marginalized peoples around the world. Pat Mooney has almost half a century of experience working in international civil society, first addressing aid and development issues and then focusing on food, agriculture and commodity trade.

He received The Right Livelihood Award (the “Alternative Nobel Prize”) in the Swedish Parliament in 1985 and the Pearson Peace Prize from Canada’s Governor General in 1998. He has also received the American “Giraffe Award” given to people “who stick their necks out.” The author or co-author of several books on the politics of biotechnology and biodiversity, Pat Mooney is widely regarded as an authority on issues of agricultural diversity, global governance, and corporate concentration.

Although much of ETC’s work continues to emphasize plant genetics and agriculture, the work expanded in the early 1980s to include biotechnology. In the late 1990s, the work expanded further to encompass a succession of emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, synthetic biology, geoengineering, and new developments ranging from genomics and neurosciences to robotics and 3-D printing. Pat Mooney and ETC group are known for having discovered and named The Terminator seeds – Genetically-modified seeds designed to die at harvest.

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Energy and Transportation

The Case for Electric Mobility

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Nikola Tesla would be happy.

As technology and innovation continues at lightning speeds, a new world of systems, services and policies is emerging.  Electric vehicles will replace the internal combustion engine, putting an end to the need for fossil fuels and the policies that keep them in place.  The price of electric vehicles is coming down, and the smart grids for charging have already emerged.

Mobilized spoke with Phillipe Vangeel, the Secretary General of AVERE about how e-mobility is shifting the power landscape, with an understanding of how–and WHY—Norway is a leader in the movement to cleaner energy systems.  Let’s hope the rest of the world catches on soon!

AVERE (The European Association for Electromobility) is the European association that promotes electromobility and sustainable transport across Europe.

AVERE is the only European association representing and advocating for electromobility on behalf of the industry, academia, and EV users at both EU and national levels.

Their Members consist of Companies, Research Institutions, and National Associations supporting and encouraging the use of Electric Vehicles and electromobility across Europe. We currently have active members in 21 European countries, notably some of the most successful EV countries like Norway, France, The Netherlands and Belgium. The association is governed by their Board.

Within these Associations, there are close to 2.300 industry members, ranging from SME’s, OEM’s, and other companies with a commercial interest in electromobility and about 100.000 EV users. Furthermore, AVERE’s network includes Users of Electric vehicles, NGOs, Associations, Interest Groups, Public Institutions, Research & Development Centres, Vehicle and Equipment Manufacturers and other relevant Companies. This extends beyond Europe into global outreach.

On top of advocacy, AVERE provides its members with a unique forum for exchanging knowledge, experience, and ideas on how to stimulate electromobility throughout Europe. Our Working Groups analyse the most important EV themes. We engage in European and international projects promoting sustainable transportation across the EU and we have often joined other international initiatives to support electromobility.

Philippe Vangeel is the Secretary General in one of the fastest changing and growing technologies: e-mobility.

In electronics by background, Philippe has always worked as a manager in the sector. Strong of 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, he brought a practical outlook to the association that enabled it to seize the moment: his vision is to make AVERE a protagonist in the growth of the e-mobility sector. In his five years, the AVERE’s membership grew significantly, while the association affirmed itself as the go-to expert for e-mobility in Europe.

As part of his broader approach, he also ensured that the entire e-mobility value chain would get visibility through AVERE. He made it the potential home of every player in the sector, from companies extracting the materials to build EVs, to vehicles manufacturers, charging point operators and final consumers.

His native language is Flemish, he is fluent in English and French, and is happy to help you in Norwegian and German.

 

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Has Ontario, Canada Figured out how to solve the job crisis?

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Ontario Removing Barriers for Out-of-Province Skilled Workers

Government working for workers as it tackles labour shortage by making it easier for in-demand professionals and tradespeople to come work and live in Ontario


Quick Facts

  • There are 144 trades currently prescribed under skilled trades legislation in Ontario.
  • Data suggests that the need to replace retiring workers is elevated in the skilled trades. In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons in Ontario were aged 55 years or older.
  • Ontario currently recognizes 52 of the 55 trades covered by the Red Seal program. The three remaining occupations: Gas Fitter Class A, Gas Fitter Class B, and Oil and Heat Systems Technician, are not yet established as skilled trades in Ontario.

February 25, 2022

LONDON — The Ontario government will introduce changes that would help workers in over 30 in-demand professions move here with their families while continuing their careers. The changes, if passed, would tackle Ontario’s historic labour shortage – the largest in a generation – by ensuring out-of-province workers can register in their regulated profession or trade within 30 days.

“At a time when our government is building Ontario, it’s never been more important that we attract more workers to fill in-demand jobs,” said Premier Doug Ford. “To do so, we’re cutting red tape to make it easier for skilled professionals from across Canada to get the papers they need to work in Ontario, faster. This move opens more doors for workers to call Ontario home while contributing to our plan to build more roads, bridges, highways, homes and public transit.”

Unfilled jobs cost the province billions in lost productivity, and between July and September of 2021, there were 338,835 vacant jobs across Ontario, including many in the skilled trades. To give Ontario a competitive advantage, the government plans to introduce legislation that ensures workers from other provinces can get their credentials processed within a service standard of 30 business days. This would make it easier for engineers, auto mechanics, plumbers and several other regulated professionals Ontario needs to move to the province, fill vacant in-demand jobs and drive economic growth.

“Ontario is leading Canada’s economic growth, but I keep hearing from businesses on Main Street who can’t find the workers they need to grow,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “There are hundreds of thousands of paycheques waiting to be collected. That is why our government is working for workers and leading the country with changes that rebalance the scales and make it clear – we want more skilled professionals and tradespeople to come here.”

In addition, the government is proposing to recognize three fuel-related professions under the province’s skilled trades legislation, meaning Ontario will take steps to officially recognize all 55 Red Seal Trades. The Red Seal Program is a partnership between the federal government and provinces and territories that sets a common standard for apprenticeship training and certification and makes it easier for workers to move between provinces and territories. The full list of Red Seal trades, some of which will benefit from the 30-business-day registration period, includes construction electricians, tool and die makers and others. All these workers will play a crucial role in delivering the province’s infrastructure projects on time and on budget.

Further to these measures, the province is also working towards making it easier for workers who have completed fall protection training in another province to come to work in Ontario. This would include allowing them to start to work immediately after completing a refresher course from an accredited Ontario provider. The province’s new agency, Skilled Trades Ontario, is also harmonizing training standards for a dozen trades. This makes it easier for apprentices from other provinces to continue their training in Ontario.

These actions are part of Ontario’s ambitious plan to attract the best workers from across Canada and around the world by making the province the best place to live, work and raise a family. This follows legislation in the fall to remove unfair and discriminatory barriers against foreign-trained professionals, and the “Right to Disconnect” and the banning of non-compete clauses.

The proposed initiatives announced today build on other measures to support workers and their families that the government intends to introduce this winter, which will be unveiled in the coming days.

Related Topics

Education and Training

Learn about Ontario’s early years, education and training systems. Includes information on child care, elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, universities, skills training and financial aid. Learn more

Government

Learn about the government services available to you and how government works. Learn more

Jobs and Employment

We’ve got the resource and supports to help connect job seekers with employers. Learn more


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