Materials and climate

Materials and energy are two sides of the same coin: reclaiming and transporting materials and manufacturing goods from them has a high energy cost that is inevitably associated with CO2 emissions. So the circular economy provides an answer to a part of the climate problem.

The Climate Agreement was concluded in Paris at the end of 2015. In that agreement, 195 countries committed to restricting global warming to well under 2° Celsius, with the ultimate goal of restricting this to 1.5°.

The climate challenge is often reduced to an energy problem. According to this vision, we can then also solve the problem by restricting the demand for energy and ‘greening’ up energy generation.

But we now know that the high energy demands are caused, to a major extent, by the way in which we deal with materials. The first exploratory calculations based on data from the Vlaanderen1 energy balance sheet for 2014 showed that no less than two thirds of the gross domestic energy consumption in Flanders can be attributed to material-related activities.

Because of the strong link between materials and the climate, the circular economy can kill two birds with one stone: better use scarce raw materials while simultaneously avoiding high amounts of CO2 emissions.

circulaire economie en het klimaat

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