Axel Stenbom nystar i Agenda 2030:s framtid

The Mayan calendar ended in 2012 – The rest of us have to wait until 2030

Between 9am and 5pm (if we're being honest, 7am and 11pm) I think, talk and read about the property industry and its quest for a more sustainable tomorrow. Lately, I've been stuck on what could be described as a conceptual dilemma - is the transformation of the property market a process or is it a goal? The 2030 Agenda influences all areas of today's green policy, but can such a clearly articulated goal have a negative impact on the way we conceive a problem? Whatever happens, I wonder what will happen on 1 January 2031?" asks Axel Stenbom.

Although the basis for this idea has since been corrected, there was a period in 2012 when everyone was talking about the end of the world. With a marketing campaign only Hollywood can offer, most people knew about the Mayan calendar and the (contemporary) fact that nothing seemed to happen after 21 December 2012. No more calendar days, no more Mayan Indians, nothing. The most obvious interpretation – captured in Roland Emmerich’s 2012 film – was that the world was going to end.

If you were to stand in the street today and ask a randomly selected person “what do you think of when I say the end of the world?”. that person would probably respond in terms of climate change or nuclear holocaust – not the Mayan calendar. This must be considered progress, only because these threats are, unfortunately, real.

Novels have and will continue to be written about the species’ aversion to acceptance, the cognitive dissonance that rises from the desire to save the world AND fly to Dubai – the difficulty of reacting to something you don’t see everyday – political camps and oil company lobbyists massaging our elected officials with the soft hands of King Midas. But in the middle of it all there is also hope, protests, Greta Thunberg, the Paris Agreement and of course Agenda 2030.

The 2030 Agenda is an action plan with targets for the transition to a sustainable society for the planet. That’s great! I love agendas with a clear mission for the year 2030. And the year 2030 seems to have stuck. Joe Biden aims to halve CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030, Boris Johnson wants to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, Justin Trudeau wants to see emissions reduced by 42% by 2030 and Ulf Kristersson wants to reduce the transport sector emissions by 70% by 2030. And the property world is no worse for wear. 2030 seems to be the year when we can all be expected to live in climate-positive homes and the sun itself will get a tan from the reflections of our solar panels. This sounds great – any successful achievement is preceded by a clear vision.

But the climate is not a dragon you defeat on New Year’s Eve 2029 – the climate is something you have to learn to live with. We’ve been smoking indoors for a long time and our landlord is starting to complain, so what should we do? We will get better! We will not smoke as much and as often, at least until 2030. And then we will…?

This is the question my metaphor is trying to raise. What does life look like on the other side of 2030? Who dares to talk about our future lifestyle – not just the road to it? I imagine that few politicians look in the mirror before a town hall meeting, thinking “I’ll tell them to get used to eating much less meat” – instead, the meat industry will reduce its emissions by 2030. Just as few will during a debate say “that future generations will not be able to fly as lightly as we have done” – instead, the transport sector’s emissions will be reduced by 70% by 2030. With just over 40% of the country’s total energy use, I imagine that perhaps even fewer will say that “buildings must immediately make their energy use more efficient” – instead… Well, you get the idea.

Living better – more sustainably – greener, must at some point be considered a lifestyle, not a project whose delivery date we, like the most indifferent plumber, keep postponing. Because the climate threat, unlike the Mayan calendar, is a real threat and real threats require real insights. They are hard to swallow and harder to sell but there they are anyway – ready for delivery well before 2030.

At Mestro we arm property owners with our product suite to reduce their carbon footprint. Here and now. When an agreement is signed, the goal is not set for 2030, but for tomorrow. It is often said that a problem without a solution is a truth to be accepted. When it comes to the year 2030, it sometimes feels like the idiom should be read in reverse. Because we have to accept the truth that we already have solutions to many problems.

So let’s start solving.

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