Stopping global warming below 1.5°C requires urgent and extensive emission reductions as well as lifestyle changes. The changes required are so comprehensive that individual actions or projects are not sufficient to change societal structures quickly enough. Change requires several simultaneous actions from smart regulation to technology solutions and behaviour change. The first step is to consider what should be addressed in order to maximise the impact.
Lead change by communicating the big picture so that everyone understands that we need to tackle sector based emissions and consumption based emissions.
Some changes are easier to make but all require a lot of innovation and commitment from various actors.
Smart & Clean community has been building impactful climate solutions for systemic challenges in cities. New types of mobility, energy, housing and circular economy solutions mitigate climate change while providing new business opportunities for the companies involved. The foundation used a model that illustrates the complexity of different actions needed to change a system.
For example, changing the transport system needs everything from changing the way cities are planned and how regulation and incentives drive change to technological innovations, alternative fuel use and interoperability and shared data among actors.
Some changes are even harder to make.
Tackling consumption based emissions mean that we need more international cooperation to cut down emissions all the way from the production of materials, often in poorer nations, to how we deal with waste and recycling in EU and changing behavior and public procurement to favor circular economy. It means collaborating with the whole demand and supply chain and a need for all to understand the interlinkages between actors and causations between their acts.
Our flagship project was Closed Plastic Circle, where the goal is to comprehensively cover the entire life cycle of plastic, from product design to collection and reprocessing into new products. The change will be achieved by using a widespread, fact-based management approach that uses all available means. The Closed Plastic Circle is an example of a regional project for which the ecosystem produces solutions. It sets a common goal for the different actors: all recyclable plastics should be recycled into materials. It involves, for example, creating new solutions in plastic collection, ensuring the circulation of hard plastics, considering how to generate demand for recycled plastics and thinking about how plastic circulation can be promoted through regulation.
An example of how to make a closed plastic circle and how it effects different sources of emissions:
It’s all possible but it needs leaders, funding, regulators, innovators, research, test platforms and overall commitment.