In 2015, 195 countries, including Belgium, signed the Paris Agreement and committed themselves to fight global warming. The countries recognized climate change as an urgent and possibly irreversible threat to our society and our planet. They set a goal to keep the rise of the average global temperature clearly below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, compared to the pre-industrial period. They agreed additional efforts should be made to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Meeting these climate commitments will require a radical reduction of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, the most important driving force behind global warming. The Flemish government, for example, supports the European long-term objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050 compared to 1990.
To do so, Flanders will need an ambitious approach to break with the past and achieve a more sustainable society. Small steps will not be enough. All stakeholders in society will have to be involved: from governments to citizens and industries.
From Ambition to Action
As a significant source of CO2 emissions, the Flemish industry has a key role to play in shifting to a more sustainable society. Through innovation, the Flemish industry can create entirely new raw materials, products and production processes that help to curb CO2 emissions. Through breakthrough technologies, the Flemish industry can translate climate ambitions into climate actions. This is where the idea for a long-term industrial innovation programme, a Moonshot initiative, took off.
In 2019, the Flemish government mandated Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for the Flemish chemical and plastics industry, to take the lead in putting this industrial innovation programme into practice and to support the Flemish industry in becoming carbon circular and low in CO2.