This BBL will present findings from a new regional report Toward a Framework for the Sustainable Heating Transition, which assesses the current status and impacts of the heating sector, transition costs and barriers, and offers a framework for the sustainable heating transition along with a suite of policy, regulatory, program, financing and outreach solutions.
Cold, harsh winters are common in many parts of Europe and Central Asia (ECA), so heating is critical to livelihoods. Unfortunately, energy use for space heating, which is overwhelmingly met by fossil fuels—including natural gas and coal—has expanded to 24% of total regional energy demand today, largely driven by household heating. Compounded by an aging and energy inefficient building stock, ECA’s heating sector is unstainable and hazardous: emissions claim 302,000 deaths annually across the region. And annual gross CO2 emissions from ECA heating of buildings are estimated to be about 22% of total regional emissions, or 678 MtCO2.
The status quo affects everyone, but harms the poor most: a third of the people in ECA are energy poor. When heating becomes unaffordable, households are often left with two unappealing choices: reduce home heating or revert to cheaper, dirtier fuels.
Achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century in ECA is impossible without transforming the heating sector. While complex, transitioning to sustainable heating is essential for the region’s development and future. Many of the existing institutions, systems, fuels, and technologies will have to undergo a massive shift to achieve this goal, as will enabling policies, financing, business models and communications. These changes must be initiated this decade and at scale.