Bjarke Ingels BIG

10 Big Ideas from CREtech Climate

Paul Unger runs through a selection of the concepts and predictions heard at the inaugural CREtech Climate conference in Copenhagen.

Make it easy | Decarbonising the built environment is clearly not easy, and can overwhelm those that confront the challenge for the first time. We need to make it seem easy to encourage change. Look for ready-to-go technology. One thing we don’t have is time on our side. Complacency, apathy, greed are arguably the biggest blockers, not the necessary tech, all of which has been invented.

Stop doing stupid shit | Third Sphere managing partner Shaun Abrahamson’s utterance during the VC panel debate became the unofficial motto for the event and was quoted often and gleefully – seeing sand being imported from the Netherlands to build a tower in UAE was his favourite illustration of the point. So much of our traditional capitalist growth-obsessed short-term profit-chasing system is plainly broken and wrong.

Green premium | No sooner have you heard of this idea than it’s supposedly on its way out. The pace of progress in tech is so fast that an advantage a year ago will have been neutralised by now as people have caught up. It’s better to share and trade notes and move together.

Test together | Continuing the sharing theme, we hear so much in business about collaborating, but not when it comes to firms competing to solve the same problem. Why not? What are you hiding? The benefits of getting it right through pooled results are worth the risk of being copied. Better than all failing the same way. There is more than enough market to go around in property.

Dr Parag Khanna Move Go North

Dr Parag Khanna, author of Move, painted a picture of the changing world

Move | Author of the book of the same name, Dr Parag Khanna, delivered a bleak yet fascinating tour through the human geography that will shape the next 100 years. The cities at risk and the likely emerging winners. Basically, GDP is heading north.

Zoom towns | Khanna described how climate havens in high-lying northerly locations with low tax and good infrastructure could emerge as winners as mass migration takes effect.

Green swans | “Adaptation is the best insurance,” Khanna believes. Climate change risk is unhedgeable and will remain so as long as system wide action is not taken, citing the BIS Green Swan report

Data scam | Roxana Isaiu reminded us of the importance of measurement when it comes to energy and carbon emissions. If buildings are not measured properly and companies are dishonest with their data we risk incorrect and misleading figures clouding our vision and jeopardising the mission to decarbonise the industry.

Return on inaction | There was a lot of debate about financial incentives and if they exist or not for investors and property companies in today’s market when it comes to carbon. What’s the return on doing nothing, with the fear of stranded assets? Some property people want to make a change but are confused by the options – analysis paralysis – and don’t know where to start. Do something! Take the first step.

Hedonistic sustainability | BIG founder Bjarke Ingel’s assertion that cleaning a city’s waterways is not only good for fish but also people and the city, attracting fun behaviour that then encourages economic activity, really struck a nerve with attendees and was an upbeat note to end the event on.

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