Frank Venmans / Assistant Professor

UMONS / Economist

The translation of this testimony was generated automatically by a translation program. Thanks for your understanding.

I’m am particulary concerned with the irreversibility of environmental degradation. Loss of biodiversity and climate change are good examples of irreversible processes.
I try to reduce my emissions when that is possible on an individual basis. My house is old and I have insulated the walls and the attic. I have photovoltaics on my roof producing more electricity than I use. I do not go to conferences outside Europe, although in the future that might occasionally be necessary. I also make a yearly donation of 3000 euros to Greenpeace because I think rising awarenss is important. I am cycling almost daily and go to work by train, but that still leaves a lot of kilometers by car. Therefore, I am saving to buy a small electric car, but do not have the money yet.
Changing lifestyle is not always easy. I plan to eat meat only twice a week, but in practice I eat meat much more often. Eating smaller portions turns out easier for us than reducing the frequency. However, a zero emission society is not possible based on individual choices alone. Although I might buy an electric car in the future, electricity production sill needs to become 100% renewable which has to be imposed by regulation. All major victories in improvements in environmental quality, such as the worldwide end of the production of ozon-depleting gases (Montreal Protocol) or the improvement of water quality in our rivers have been the result of environmental regulation, enabled by social protest and rising awareness, not by individual consumer choices alone.
My top 4 regulations regarding climate action are:

  1. The Belgian nuclear reactors will stop producing in 2025. Replace them by as much renewables as possible.
  2. Forbid the installation of natural gaz and mazout heating in new buildings, because we will need heat pumps in a zero emission society.
  3. Forbid selling new cars for personel use combusting fossil fuels (diesel and gasoline) by 2025, because by then, the relatively small extra cost of electric cars largely justifies the environmental benefit.
  4. Stop the tax incentive for companies to provide cars to their personnel, rather than a fixed compensation for transport in general. The latter would give people the extra choice to commute by bike, train and/or bus.