The earth is warming up rapidly because we are all emitting too many greenhouse gases. Scientists from all over the world agree on this.
The consequences are becoming more and more apparent on a global scale and can also be felt in Leuven. In recent summers, our city is unable to cool down sufficiently during heat waves and water shortages threaten, while at the same time more and more inhabitants have to deal with flooding. In July 2021, we narrowly escaped when heavy rain hit Belgium.
Not allowing these consequences to get worse is reason enough to reduce our emissions significantly and to move towards a climate neutral Leuven as soon as possible. However, for us there may be an even more important reason to make such a strong commitment. For us, a Leuven with less emissions is also a city with more future.
What do we mean by 'more future'? Shouldn't we all just use our cars less, eat less meat and use fewer fossil fuels? Yes of course, but all that will only make our city an even better place to live.
In this Leuven, there is a whole range of ways to get around sustainably. You decide whether you walk or cycle, or whether an electric (shared) car, public transport or a scooter are more convenient at that moment. This tailor-made offer makes it easier for you to get where you need to be, and to do so more safely, in healthier air and in the coolness of abundant greenery and refreshing water. And while your home, office, school and sports club are heated and cooled in an energy-efficient manner, it is also more comfortable to be there. If you go out eating or shopping, you can discover a whole host of new tastes and dishes in addition to your favourite food. As we are a city with so many innovative entrepreneurs, a shift to a more sustainable economy will also provide interesting new job opportunities, whether you like to work with your head or your hands. This is an excellent opportunity to ensure that everyone in Leuven can enjoy a good life.
Don't get us wrong: it won't be easy and our lives will change drastically. There is a reason that climate disruption is called the greatest challenge of our time. But it will certainly be worth the effort.
That's why we are going all in for a climate neutral Leuven, in cooperation with as many inhabitants and partners as possible. With the Roadmap as our guide, we bring key actors from all corners of Leuven society together: organisations, companies, (semi-)public institutions, knowledge institutions and citizens. We aim for ambitious, concrete commitments from all players, which can be upscaled quickly through agile breakthrough projects. The selection of Leuven for the European mission for climate neutral and smart cities offers Leuven the chance to execute the roadmap to climate neutrality in an accelerated pace.
And we hope you will join us.