Climate Forum ushers in a new Era for Moscow’s Green Economy

SRO 19
By SRO 19 30 августа, 2017 19:16

Climate Forum ushers in a new Era for Moscow’s Green Economy

Guy Eames — Cofounder & Chair of the Green Building Council Russia. Guy (originally from the UK but resident in Russia) works in “Integrated Environmental Systems” in the field of Building Performance Analysis — special software to make buildings more comfortable and use less resources)



Year of the Green Economy

Last week’s Climate Forum was the one which all those working in the small but growing Russian “Green” economy have been waiting for.

In the west (particularly Great Britain & the English speaking countries) over tens years has passed since the connection between climate change and the green economy was understood. The difference between “ecology” and “climate change” may sound unimportant but it is actually very significant to grow a green economy.

2017 was declared the year of ecology by President VV Putin. Although this has been announced nationally (even on every Aeroflot flight), in reality it is a call for the Waste Industry to modernise. Why does all of the civilised world separate and reuse their waste while we in Russia simply try to bury it in increasingly mountains outside our cities?

Anton Kulbachevsky — Head of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at Moscow City Council, has taken this a step further. Moscow is one of the 90 С40 cities, which worldwide take leads and teach each other about fighting climate change. Until now Climate Change has not figured highly on the agenda. Yes Russia attended and supported the Paris Agreement. But the “secret reserve” held by Russia for its reduced carbon emissions in the 1990s has not been acknowledged world-wide when Gref decided not to sell carbon credits under the Kyoto system. Subsequently Russia’s “green economy” has developed slowly.

Public opinion though is changing and the environment is becoming more valued by Russian citizens as an important element of their Quality of Life, affecting their health and comfort directly. Times are changing!

Moscow — a great world city

In today’s world, cities are rising quickly and competing with each other. Moscow should be competing with London, Peking or New York, not Tula. But in many ways Moscow is nowhere to be seen on the world “city” stage. This is truly tragic as Moscow builds world class infrastructure, paints the best art, creates the best galleries, sporting venues. Muscovites who have travelled know this and are eager to show Moscow to the world — to bring it onto the world stage.

The Green Economy is a sign of civilisation, a mature and stable country. Green economies create quality jobs which in turn improve people’s lives, health and comfort. THe Green Economy can be divided into sub-sectors — waste (materials, the cyclical economy), transport and energy. This is in addition to traditional professions of managing parks and zoos.

Climate Forum — the starting point — green buildings

So what is so important about the Forum? Well it links Changing of Climate to the Economy as a driver, a catalyst. Let’s take Green Buildings as an example — one of the world’s fastest growing industries globally. Green Building links so many sectors of the “green economy”:

  • materials (& waste),
  • energy & water,
  • ecology
  • Transport
  • Ecological management
  • Innovation

Around 50% of energy is used by buildings and green buildings can reduce energy by 50-100%! They strongly influence productivity in offices (which affects company profits directly). Comfort and good health of those occupying green buildings is very significant — not to mention they look great!

The Russian Green Building Industry has been growing since its start in 2009 and now Russia has several hundred green buildings — including a couple of hundred registered to BREEAM certification (the best known international certification scheme). The Climate Forum gave the industry a boost. Until now most of the Green Buildings in Russia have been market driven — private developers made the decision to design and build green buildings. Now it appears that we are getting a stronger signal from the state.

At Climate Forum two developers announced that as part of the Moscow Renovation Program that they will build according to BREEAM. PIK group and SPEECH architects. Green Building was also seen by many of the round tables to be a major part of the answer to adaptation to climate change and resilient cities. This is the key signal that the industry has been waiting for!

Green Future?

The many round tables and plenary sessions, cultural programs and exhibition were an undoubtable success. Yes it was an experiment so “next time” some lessons will be learnt. For me these are:

  • The venue was ideal — in the city centre not outside in an exhibition place;
  • Needs more promotion — the event was packed (3000 attendees) but could have been 30,000;
  • Great International feel — so refreshing, brings Moscow back into the International Stage;
  • Too many round tables — many were repetitively similar;
  • Not enough IT — I would have liked to see an App;
  • Celebrities — where was Mayor Sobyanin? Could have been more Russian celebrities as well as “Experts” — I’m sure that writers, film stars, industrialists also support the green economy — they can be real role models for many;
  • Bring in Industry — could be rebalanced a little away from Scientists and towards the Green Economy (with an emphasis on start ups and deep green rather than sport companies).

There has been no announcement yet from the Dept of Natural Resources about next year — let’s all support such an event to make sure this is not a false start.

Photos credit by the author.

Русская версия здесь:

Гай Имз: Климатический форум обозначил начало новой эры в зелёной экономике Москвы



SRO 19
By SRO 19 30 августа, 2017 19:16
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