Koen De Ridder / Sr Researcher

VITO / Climate physics / modelling / impacts / climate services

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

In our team at VITO we focus on the impacts of climate change, in particular in cities. One of the main outcomes of our work in recent years is that, under the business-as-usual scenario, cities might be experiencing a tenfold increase in the number of heatwave days by the end of the century. We found this very concerning, and find it hard to even imagine how that would really be like. At the same time, most people are simply not aware of such drastic potential climate change effects.
I try to personally contribute by being a vegetarian, and by having a PV installation (solar panels) that more or less covers our home’s electrical energy consumption. We also increasingly favour the bike or public transportation to the car. Apart from that, we have taken a few fairly regular measures at the level of our house such as having the roof and the radiator tubing isolated.
A difficulty we’re facing with respect to the house, which dates from the 1960’s, is that achieving a profound isolation of e.g. the walls and floors, is not straightforward. Another difficulty is that at times, in our work, plane travel is unavoidable. Most of the research projects in our team are international, and even though we use teleconferencing a lot these days, sometimes you need to be able to meet your project partners face to face. Unfortunately, many destinations are accessible only by plane.
Despite some of the personal actions listed above, I bear no illusions regarding my carbon footprint or the average footprint that comes with a Western lifestyle. To meet the Paris targets, rather drastic changes are needed, requiring individual but also governmental actions, requiring energy efficiency together with ways of producing clean energy, and requiring behavioural change as well as technological advances; and in the end making sure that all that does not cause social injustice.  

Originally posted 2018-06-17 23:06:32.

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