Conference LIFE IP CARE4CLIMATE: With Successful Practices to Climate Neutrality

On Wednesday, 8 June 2022, the international conference entitled "With successful practices to climate neutrality", which was part of the LIFE IP CARE4CLIMATE project, took place at the Austria Trend Hotel in Ljubljana. The conference brought together 21 experts from nine countries to share up-to-date best practices on sustainable mobility, green building renovation, sustainable and climate-friendly land use (LULUCF), sustainable construction, and green public procurement. The aim of the conference was to reach out to representatives of municipalities and development agencies, professional circles, and the general public in order to co-create good practices for Slovenia’s transition to a climate-neutral society.

The participants had the opportunity to listen to experts and to exchange knowledge and experiences that provide a solid basis for achieving the climate-neutrality objective. "Transfers of best practices from abroad are a good inspiration so we can set more ambitious plans for our country," Mr Luka Mladenovič from the Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia said, highlighting the lecture by Professor Dr Hermann Knoflacher, one of the most prominent experts in sustainable mobility, spatial planning, urban planning, and the planning of transport equally accessible to all. Dr Knoflacher had inspired the participants with his many years of experience and the projects he has carried out. He is known for his criticism of the overuse of cars and their effects on people and the environment. He is also the author of numerous attempts to demonstrate and visualise the irrationality of urban motor traffic and its excessive use of space. At the event, he presented how climate neutrality cannot be achieved without a paradigm shift in urban planning and transport

As regards land use and land use change and forestry, attention was drawn to the challenges of adapting to climate change, measures in the sector, and the importance of balancing environmental, social and economic aspects. Dr Emil Cienciala, Head of Science and Research at the Institute of Forest Ecosystem Research in the Czech Republic, presented the challenges of climate change mitigation in the Czech Republic, where they are faced with rising annual average temperatures and extreme droughts resulting in progressive damage caused by bark beetles. In the strategy for adapting forests to climate change, he attaches great importance to species-rich and structurally rich forests suitable for changing environmental conditions, along with long-term planning, smart use of wood and soil health.

The common denominator of the event was the realisation that changes take time, which we regretfully do not have. So we need to work even more cohesively.

This was also emphasised by the Acting Director General of the Environment Directorate, Tanja Bolte, MSc, in her address to the participants:"Slovenia has achieved its legally mandated targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, as greenhouse gas emissions have not increased by more than four percent compared to 2005, as required. However, this does not yet translate into long-term control of greenhouse gas emissions, which is particularly important in the long run for the transition to a climate-neutral society, which we have set out to achieve by adopting a long-term climate strategy."

As regards green building renovation and sustainable construction, Mr Miha Tomšič, MSc, stressed the importance of developing a Slovenian system of sustainable construction indicators, which will be the basis for the way forward. "We are quite far from the times when we were only interested in heating buildings on winter days. Today we are talking about sustainable buildings, which are quite complex. A building is not a unit that can be viewed separately from others, but we need to include different factors." Furthermore, the renovating of buildings should not exclude cultural heritage, as Dr João Bravo Dias pointed out in his lecture on the case of the renovation of the historic part of the city of Évora in Portugal. Architect Jernej Šipoš, from the Scapelab architectural office, made a presentation of the energy renovation of buildings in the case of the heritage-protected Cukrarna (sugar refinery) in Ljubljana. He outlined the ideas, requirements and constraints that the architects had faced and how they managed to incorporate them in the structural and energy renovation.

The event once again demonstrated the importance of such meetings and the exchange of experience. The participants were representatives of municipalities, development agencies, expert groups and NGOs, who were acquainted with a number of local initiatives with good results (for example the School Street as an area of safe school arrival, implemented by the Institute for Spatial Policies - IPoP). The conference ended with a carbon-neutral bicycle trip and a guided tour of good local practices in Ljubljana, organised by Umanotera, the Slovenian Foundation for Sustainable Development.

Through awareness-raising, education, training and information exchange, projects such as LIFE IP CARE4CLIMATE, with its 15 partners, promote the implementation of climate change mitigation measures and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The conference was therefore just one of the activities carried out within the project, alongside various education and training opportunities, workshops, publications and the like.

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