On the 21st February 2020, our final climate frontier workshop in Bucharest again brought together a strong mix of experts from government, industry, non-governmental organisations and analytical centres in Romania and Bulgaria to assess the opportunities and challenges for adopting best climate policy practices in the transport and buildings sectors. As in Warsaw, our participants heard from western European experts on their experiences implementing best practices in climate policy, and discussions were centred around policy applicability in and between Bulgaria and Romania.
The event was organised within the framework of the CEE Climate Policy Frontier project, supported by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) and implemented by Climate Strategies, WiseEuropa, Expert Forum and Climate Analytics.
The workshop was opened by Aleksander Śniegocki, Head of the Energy, Climate and Environment Programme at WiseEuropa, who gave an overview of work conducted by Climate Analytics. The work involved an analytical stocktake on climate action progress in the transport and buildings sectors in the CEE region, detailing the opportunities and barriers for transferring best policy practices. Participants were then divided into parallel working groups. The transport sessions were focussed on sustainable transport modes and electromobility, while the buildings sessions were focussed on energy efficiency and clean heating sources.
The policies presented in each session were discussed and assessed by the participants for applicability in Bulgaria and Romania, using criteria such as: the availability of public and private financing, quality of cooperation between stakeholders, know-how potential, political willingness, public acceptability, and supportive policy frameworks for the introduction of the new instrument. Supporting these assessments, presentations were given on the buildings sector by: Senta Schmatzberger, Buildings Performance Institute Europe on the German Energy Efficiency Construction and Refurbishment (EECR); Otilia Nutu, Expert Forum on the Swedish Subsidies and Consumer Protection Programmes; and Olivia Crowe, Climate Strategies on Austrian Direct Grants and Housing Subsidies for solar plants and heating system control. In parallel, the transport policy assessments were supported by input on the Netherlands Action Plan on Electric Vehicles by Sonja Munnix, Senior Advisor on Electric Mobility, Netherlands Enterprise Agency; the ElectriCity partnership in Sweden by Peter Nordin, City Mobility Director from Volvo; and the new developments to the London Low Emission Zones by, Erica Belcher, Centre for London.
The second part of the day brought the parallel working groups back together, and consisted of a cross-country evaluation of the common challenges and opportunities for Bulgaria and Romania. This was followed by a practical exercise conducted in working groups. Participants were asked to brainstorm a set of focus topics, selecting three for which activities and responsibilities were established to determine pathways for future collaboration. This was an important opportunity to exchange ideas on possible interventions and to develop collaborative solutions, leveraging both the collective expertise of the participants and the information from the best practice policy options that had been explored throughout the day.
The opportunity to exchange ideas and learn together in the regional workshops conducted throughout this project has enabled knowledge gain on the commonality of challenges as well as opening up opportunities to expand networks and support further collaboration within the buildings and transport sectors. Moreover, opportunities to be selective and ‘leap-frog’ using lessons learnt from policy interventions has highlighted practical and efficient ways to drive the CEE Frontier closer to the Paris Agreement 1.5C goals.