Belgium's Climate Coalition will meet with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Monday to present a document entitled "100 solutions for the climate".
"When we heard the Prime Minister in Sharm el-Sheikh say 'Let's look for solutions together', we replied to him: 'Let's meet, we have a lot of solutions to propose,'" President of the Climate Coalition Nicolas Van Nuffel told RTBF.
Founded in 2008, the Climate Coalition is an umbrella group comprised of more than 90 organisations from across Belgian civil society including trade unions, youth councils, and volunteer collectives. It describes itself as committed to "lobbying political decision-makers for strong [climate-oriented] measures and mobilising the public for a fair and climate-friendly society".
Federal is fundamental
Van Nuffel also emphasised that it is only at the federal level that effective climate action policy can be implemented; he criticised Belgium's previous climate action proposals for being "not being plans, but lasagnas with a whole series of measures on the left and on the right where each region does in its own thing". He stressed the need for a coherent plan.
In terms of specific proposals, Van Nuffel highlighted the crucial importance and urgency of so-called 'green' renovation.
"We are very late in Belgium in terms of the renovation of buildings," Van Nuffel said. "In Belgium, we renovate only about 1% of our buildings every year. If we want to succeed in in our efforts to implement effective societal change to reduce global warming, we would have to renovate 3% to 5% of buildings. We must multiply [our efforts] by three, or even five and that requires all of us to get started together. For that, we need our captain, our Prime Minister, to take on his role."
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Van Nuffel further noted that improving access to public transport is another area in which Belgium's Federal Government could play a potentially key role: "The Federal Government can do much more in terms of mobility, starting with the SNCB [Belgium's national railway company]."
"We will have to work a lot harder if we're going to convince people [not] to take the car to work. We will have to invest so that the train is a real solution, and also for what is called 'intermodality', where people who don't have a station in their village can reach one as quickly as possible and be able to use shared cars, buses, and bicycles rather than relying on cars."
Van Nuffel added that Belgium should aim to reduce the number of vehicles on its streets by more than two-thirds within the next few years. For that "we must have the solutions that allow us to go without cars".