Uruguay to update climate change goals this year

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, September 15, 2022
Uruguay to update climate change goals this year

Uruguay is rushing to adapt its infrastructure to climate change and bring regulations into line with the goals of the Paris climate agreement, with the government set to offer assistance for construction firms willing to invest in resilience and energy efficiency. 

Authorities are currently updating the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for the Paris deal, which currently only cover 2020-25, and a preliminary version will be published for public consultation soon. 

A final version for the 2025-30 NDCs is expected to be ready by the end of this year, Beatriz Olivet, environment advisor for the industry, energy and mining ministry (MIEM) said during a construction sustainability webinar held by Uruguay’s construction chamber (CCU).

The current NDCs include commitments to implement mandatory energy efficiency labels in new structures, including housing.

She pointed out that while an estimated US$4.5tn was spent worldwide on construction and renovation during 2018, only US$139bn was spent on energy efficiency. 

When asked by BNamericas how the updated NDCs would affect transport infrastructure, Olivet stated that the main objective in this area is to make structures more resilient.

“Many projects related to flooding are now considering much longer time frames, such as climate events during a 100-year period,” she said.

Earlier this year, Montevideo was hit by severe floods, which authorities attributed to poor drainage infrastructure. 

Olivet said that coastal environments such as the capital are included in the government’s long-term climate change adaptation plan, alongside agriculture hubs and cities in the interior. 

At the same time, construction firms are being encouraged to invest in energy efficiency through government incentives.

Between 2016 and 2021 the government provided US$563,000 to businesses to finance energy efficiency studies. 

Future incentives will cover implementation of energy efficiency measures, starting with small and medium-sized companies.

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