News Article
April 30, 2010

Edificios y Política Climática

Climate policy balancing act

Global climate change came to the fore as an environmental concern. To address climate change, policy makers around the world are designing and implementing policies to reduce energy consumption and reduce annual emissions of carbon dioxide capture and burn methane gas, and change cooling technologies. The buildings consume a significant amount of electricity, and in much of the world require air conditioning systems (associated with significant GHG emissions). For this reason climate policy should include buildings as a key part of the climate solution. Buildings, for example, can implement renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaic solar systems, or use intelligent building systems to reduce energy consumption and thus reduce dependence on inefficient power plants. Change the way they design and operate buildings to reduce emissions requires the adoption of approaches innovative policies. Commonly, three types of environmental policies are used: market - based controls of standards and technologies approaches and codes and standards. Two approaches to climate policy based on market systems cap and trade and carbon taxes, occupy a central role in the emerging climate policy.


Market-Based Approaches: Policies that increase carbon price

Climate policy approaches based on the market added cost to carbon emissions intended to reduce demand. Policy makers can influence the cost of emissions requiring organizations to acquire permits to emit greenhouse gases or by incorporating a tax on the use of renewable energy sources not associated with carbon emissions. In both cases, the price increase makes issuers seek new ways to minimize it, which leads them to invest in technologies to reduce emissions.


Maximum limits and Trade

Since the nineties, systems cap and trade have been based on the preferred market to improve air quality in the United States approach. Emissions are "limited" to a predetermined level considered acceptable for the environment. Up to that limit, a number of permits are issued; usually, the holder is allowed to produce one ton of emissions per permit. These permits are auctioned or given to companies from the start. Businesses return them as they produce emissions. If you do not have sufficient permissions, they reduce emissions or acquire more permits from the government or another company that has more permissions than required to cover their own emissions. Thus, companies that find economic opportunities emission reduction benefit by investing in these clean technologies because they can "sell" pollution that do not use. Companies that face difficulties in installing new pollution controls can buy permits to lower the installation costs of controls and, anyway, help strengthen innovation elsewhere. The environmental community has adopted the approach limits cap and trade carbon emissions because it provides environmental certainty (the level of pollution is clear and default) and because it encourages innovation. Europe established the first program of cap and trade greenhouse gas emissions in 2005: Scheme Emissions Trading Greenhouse Gases of the European Union. In 2009, in the northwestern United States an initiative of cap and trade was implemented to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the region. For more information about the system of cap and trade, see the Bottom Line on Cap and Trade the World Resources Institute.


Carbon Tax

An alternative approach based on the market sets a predetermined price for carbon: a single rate per ton of carbon dioxide produced in a specific activity. Proponents of a carbon tax believe that this approach provides economic certainty, whereas a system of cap and trade leads to price fluctuations based on the market and greater uncertainty. Policy carbon tax may also include tax credits for activities and investments that reduce GHG emissions, such as adding insulation or upgrading windows or chillers for greater energy efficiency. Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and Norway began implementing carbon taxes in the nineties to reduce GHG emissions. Other European countries and Japan have implemented or are considering implementing similar policies to tax the use of non - renewable energy. In 2008, the Canadian province of British Columbia also established a tax on fossil fuels, which starts at 10 Canadian dollars per metric ton of carbon dioxide will rise to 30 Canadian dollars per metric ton for 2012. The tax British Columbia She designed to be "revenue neutral" because the funds generated will be refunded to consumers through tax credits, rebates and lower taxes on personal and corporate income. 1 for more information about carbon taxes, see the Bottom Line Carbon Taxes on the World Resources Institute.


Both systems cap and trade and carbon taxes alter the price of electricity, which becomes more economically attractive investment in energy efficiency in buildings. With an intelligent network interface, it is possible that an intelligent building generates electricity in response to demand:  - this allows buildings to communicate with enterprise intelligent power to reduce demand instead of putting a power source up very polluting. However, because they often hide the price of electricity to tenants of buildings and structures of ownership and capital constraints hamper investment, it is possible that the price of electricity itself not only be a appropriate to promote actions that lead to a considerable improvement in the performance of buildings incentive. in fact, the approach taken for buildings has generally been that of codes and standards  , rather than adopting market - based approaches. This is because the economic gains are not as visible, and incentive structures that favor the status quo and options set lower in structural design and procurement of components initial costs. A combination of approaches, including systems of cap and trade, a favorable tax regime for investments in energy efficiency and a renewed codes and standards approach can help align all incentives and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas greenhouse.




1 World Resources Institute, Bottom Line on Carbon Taxes [ ].