Interactions of mitigation options with vulnerability and adaptation
If the world experiences warming, energy use for heating in temperate climates will decline (e.g., Europe, parts of Asia and North America), and for cooling will increase in most world regions. Several studies indicate that, in countries with moderate climates, the increase in electricity for additional cooling will outweigh the decrease for heating, and in Southern Europe a significant increase in summer peak demand is expected. Depending on the generation mix in particular countries, the net effect of warming on CO2 emissions may be an increase even where overall demand for final energy declines. This causes a positive feedback loop: more mechanical cooling emits more GHGs, thereby exacerbating warming (medium agreement, medium evidence).
Investments in the buildings sector may reduce the overall cost of climate change by simultaneously addressing mitigation and adaptation. The most important of these synergies includes reduced cooling needs or energy use through measures such as application of integrated building design, passive solar construction, heat pumps with high efficiency for heating and cooling, adaptive window glazing, high-efficiency appli-ances emitting less waste heat, and retrofits including increased insulation, optimized for specific climates, and storm-proofing. Appropriate urban planning, including increasing green areas as well as cool roofs in cities, has proved to be an efficient way of limiting the ‘heat island’ effect, thereby reducing cooling needs and the likelihood of urban fires. Adaptive comfort, where occupants accept higher indoor (comfort) temperatures when the outside temperature is high, is now often incorporated in design considerations (high agreement, medium evidence) [6.9].