°Alternatives: Cities take the lead

 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
[EPA-EFE/Ida Guldbaek Arentsen]

Climate change is an issue to be taken on at all levels of society. Local and regional governments can, and increasingly are, leading the way in reimagining life in their towns and cities. Certain effects of climate change can already be felt on the local level. That is why it makes a lot of sense that local governments are part of addressing them. Making climate change, and climate action, tangible can also help build support for larger-scale action.

One key area in which this is already playing out is air pollution. The WHO has demanded that clean air and its consequences for health are integrated more closely into the national climate plans adopted under the Paris Agreement. However, according to the UN, only 20% of climate plans currently deal with the health consequences of air pollution. At the same time, poor air quality causes 422,000 premature deaths each year in Europe.

At the C40 World Mayors Summit, taking place in Copenhagen from 9-12 October, 35 cities decided to take the lead in addressing this problem. Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Heidelberg, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Paris, Rotterdam, Stockholm, and Warsaw have all committed to set new air quality standards that meet or exceed existing national targets within two years. Such local leadership is key to success in dealing with climate change. This case also shows that dealing with climate change actually helps us deal with many other issues we want to address.

Euractiv: International alliance of cities commits to tackling air pollution

We almost stopped climate change… 30 years ago

Except for Greta Thunberg’s “We will not forgive you” speech, newspapers did not write much about UN 2019 Climate Summit in New York. The reason: except for some national leaders and CEOs promising to increase their ambitions, there were no results to write about.

If you are disgruntled about all these meetings without results, read this remarkable and must-read 30-year-old story about The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change published by the NY Times.

“Like most human questions, the carbon-dioxide question will come down to fear. At some point, the fears of young people will overwhelm the fears of the old. Some time after that, the young will amass enough power to act. It will be too late to avoid some catastrophes, but perhaps not others. Humankind is nothing if not optimistic, even to the point of blindness. We are also an adaptable species. That will help.”

Let’s keep this in mind at the 2020 COP26 in Glasgow.

15 geboden voor een eenvoudig en duurzaam leven

Een daling van je uitstoot kan perfect samengaan met een hoge levenskwaliteit.

Netwerk Bewust Verbruiken lijst 15 geniale geboden op voor een duurzaam en eenvoudig leven.

  1. Denk groot, woon klein 
  2. Eenvoud siert
  3. Wees af en toe onbereikbaar
  4. Het is jouw tijd, ga voor de essentie
  5. Bezit is passé. Deel spullen, ervaring, ruimte en tijd
  6. De belangrijkste dingen in het leven zijn geen dingen
  7. Haast en spoed zijn zelden goed
  8. Als je lokaal koopt, doet iemand een vreugdedansje
  9. Durf nee zeggen
  10. Hou van het verhaal, niet van het materiaal
  11. Ontspul je huis. Je bent niet wat je bezit
  12. Alles is te repareren (ook je fouten)
  13. De grootste bedreiging voor de planeet is denken dat iemand anders het wel zal oplossen
  14. Drukte is een keuze, er is moed voor nodig om minder te doen
  15. Doe wat je graag doet en doe het NU


De klimaatverandering gaat iedereen aan. We kunnen elk ons steentje bijdragen aan de oplossing. Dit is een van de basisprincipes van Carbon+Alt+Delete.

Vanuit dezelfde logica laat Canvas mensen aan het woord die elk op hun eigen manier strijden tegen klimaatverandering. Dit levert een serie van leuke en inspirerende kortvideo’s op.

#klimaatraad (Canvas of VRT Nu)

To (m)eat or not to (m)eat

Recent is er in de media veel aandacht voor de impact van vleesconsumptie op het klimaat. Zie bijvoorbeeld dit artikel op VRT NWS. In deze blogpost kaderen en nuanceren we dit nieuws.

Aanleiding voor deze stroom aan nieuwsberichten is een nieuw rapport van het Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Het IPCC analyseert in dit nieuw rapport de impact van landgebruik op klimaatverandering. Hierbij kijken ze naar alle aspecten van landgebruik, zoals ontbossing en landbouw. In het hoofdstuk over landbouw komt ook vleesconsumptie ter sprake. Hierbij geeft het IPCC een genuanceerd beeld, waarbij ze pleiten voor een gebalanceerd dieet bestaande uit plant-gebaseerd voedsel (vb. groenten en fruit) en duurzame dier-gebaseerd voedsel.

Samenvattend artikel (EN)

Summary for policy makers & full report (EN)

PS: Ter herinnering, het IPCC is een grote groep wetenschappers die in opdracht van de VN klimaatverandering analyseren, opvolgen en hierover rapporteren.

Earth Overshoot Day has never been so soon…

Today is Earth Overshoot Day, the day the humankind has exhausted all the resources the Earth gives us for a year. This day has never been so early and even worse, the day has moved up three months in just the last 20 years.

However, the day differs enormously between countries. Qatar already sees the day on February 11 and other countries that rely on their oil production (the USA, Canada, Kuwait and the UAE) are not that much later in March.

On the other side, countries such as Indonesia and Ecuador, only have their Overshoot Day in December. Belgium has their day already on April 6, which means we still have a lot of work to do to push back the date…

Current heatwaves made 5 times more likely due to climate change

Based on data from the heatwave of the end of June, the World Weather Attribution Network found that this heatwave had temperatures that were 4°C higher than heatwaves in 1900. There was a town between Montpellier and Avignon were there was a recorded temperature of almost 46°C, which is 1,5°C higher than the previous record. The whole heat wave has been made “at least” 5 times more likely due to climate change, but potentialy the effects may have been much higher.

However, this is not where it ends. The current heatwave has already broke record temperatures in Bordeaux and this Thursday, records are projected to break all over France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. In Belgium, it is the first time ever that a red warning is issued for a heatwave.

As the energy usage is rising due to the increase in air conditioning use, there can be even more problems. Two nuclear reactors have already shut down to keep the water used to cool the reactors at a reasonable temperature.