The COST Association and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) will host a joint workshop aiming at revisiting the importance of both bottom-up and top-down solutions in accelerating the penetration of low-carbon policies into practice.
Following the Competitiveness Council Conclusions on progress in the European Research Area of 21 February 2014, which confirmed the need to “facilitate transnational cooperation and sharing of information”, there are concerns that current initiatives are not sufficient to overcome the growing disconnection between policy goals and their practical implementation. Although resources have been secured to reach ambitious objectives in terms of research and innovation in these fields, this does not appear to be leading to the rapid adoption of sustainable technologies by the market.
According to Prof. Philip Jones, Chair of the COST Action Smart Energy Regions: "the current emphasis is on top-down solutions, such as large scale energy supply systems, whereas bottom-up may offer distinct advantages of ease of implementation and local benefits, and reducing the pressure on top-down solutions, making them potentially easier to implement."
Any future energy scenario must combine top-down and bottom-up approaches: the first must set the framework and incentives, so that the latter can occur in the broader market, ideally identifying and implementing best practices.
This argument will be at the core of the proposed COST-JRC joint workshop and the event will focus on city-regions as their contribution is crucial in the achievement of a low carbon economy: city-regions are the first to experience the negative externalities of CO2 emissions and are often front-runners charged with the implementation of innovative solutions, especially in environmental standards for buildings.
The role of city-regions in the achievement of a low-carbon economy
Presentations from the event are available on the COST event page.