As a part of its commitment to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, the City of Brussels will plant a tree in a country in the South to contribute to reducing their Co2 emissions by 30% by 2025. The Baby boom campaign will inform parents of new-born children of this action through a small card once the birth is registered. This campaign has the merit of making reforestation actions feel close to citizens, but how ambitious is this in relation to the target for CO2 emissions reduction?
The estimated impact of this measure is a reduction of some 13 tons of Co2 per year, the equivalent of taking 4 or 5 cars off the road. Other projects on the city’s climate change plan website such as using low consumption lights for the city, greening the city’s vehicle fleet and promoting grouped purchases of green energy add up to a reduction of 65 tons of Co2 per year. The yearly reduction sought for 2020 is around 47 800 tons, of which only 5 600 have been reduced.
There is a timid allusion to improving alternative travelling methods and promoting cycling, but the actions have limited budget and no sense of big picture planning. Looking at the final energy consumption, we note that fossil fuels are by far the highest contributor to the energy matrix, so any meaningful action must radically change the way we move to and in the city. The administrative division of Brussels does not help: while the overall commitment to the covenant of mayors is for the agglomeration of Brussels, the campaign seems to be only for the City of Brussels. To be fair the city has invested close to 1 billion Euros on improving the energy standards of buildings, where most of the reductions come from. But at a time when youth is showing the way and demanding meaningful actions to save the world they will inherit, Brussels’ municipalities need to come together to put forward ambitious plans to drastically reduce the city’s reliance on fossils fuels.