Paper short abstract:
The talk addresses a creative alternative for fighting climate change with social fairness. The project consists in street-by-street energy efficiency roll-out schemes and the conditions of implementation will be deepened in Belgium. The core of discussion deals with the social and environmental implications of such a new measure.
Paper long abstract:
Climate change has risen to the top of the policy-making agenda with the debate focusing on what targets should be set for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the measures need to meet those targets. Far less attention has been paid to the implications of these measures for different groups in European societies. In Brussels, the King Baudouin Foundation has launched a unique project which developped an approach which combines effective measures to fight climate change with social fairness in Europe. At the close of these days of talks, street-by-street energy-efficiency roll out schemes are promoted as a practical way of negotiating the relation between the social and the ecological sphere, and the University of Brussels has charge of analysing the drivers and the barriers in Belgium.
The talk questions the interest in this creative alternative. To take up the environmental challenge, the energy efficiency of buildings has been a major focus in recent years, and most promotion schemes are targeted at individual consumers and households. Whilst this can be effective, it can be more efficient to treat the energy efficiency upgrading of buildings as a local infrastructure problem. Furthermore, focusing on a community-wide approach can help to create incentive for people to work together to improve efficiency, as well as building common awareness of the importance of climate change mitigation efforts. With this case study, I also hope to show the ethical concerns and the potential clashes raised by such a political project and to what extent they could be overcome.
Practices of environmental justice: negotiating the relation between the social and the ecological sphere