An ambitious city in South America approached Challenge Advisory with an objective of improving their greenhouse gas emissions beyond the regulatory requirements.
An ambitious city in South America had an objective of improving their greenhouse gas emissions beyond the regulatory requirements. They had already made significant progress in the transport, power and waste management, but they approached Challenge Advisory wanting more – namely, the reduction of CO2 emissions to a pre-1990 level.
Challenge Advisory’s sustainability team rose to the challenge, and collaborated with the client to compile a list of emission abatement measures, including an analysis of cost, feasibility and potential impact. They also generated citizen engagement by encouraging participation in interviews, surveys and fundraisers, and this had the added effect of proliferating data. Combined with a substantial body of work that the client had previously compiled, a foundation was built for effective strategic decision-making.
Most of the emissions came from vehicles as well as buildings (both commercial and residential). Furthermore, the anaylsis of abatement strategies showed that a further 60% could be saved in that sector by either retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient, by managing the demand for private transport, and introducing a renewable energy supply system in the city.
About half of the strategies analysed had the potential to generate local jobs in the short term, mainly due to the onsite labour requirements for the retrofitting of buildings, as well as upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units, and building the infrastructure for transport management.
In the long term, employment could also be boosted by the development of new green industries, such as energy-efficient lighting and appliance manufacturing.
The client learned that by using a combination of behavioural and technological measures (ranging from congestion pricing to building retrofits) the opportunity was there to reduce emissions by 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) or more per year by 2030 on top of its already ambitious targets.
Individual measures varied from a net cost of $400 per tCO2e to a net saving of $1,500 per tCO2e. Overall, the assessments showed that the city could make a number of bold moves, including implementing building retrofits, introducing variably priced parking, and increasing recycling and composting. Other measures would require further analysis of economic and other impacts as well as benefits such as health, safety, and productivity, while some measures needed pilot projects to test their effectiveness.
As a result of this effort, the city now has an opportunity to implement a bold strategy to attain its targets, continue to influence the national and global debate on climate change, and reinforce its leadership in the field.