A great deal of opportunities can be found in the resources/waste sector for climate mitigation actions, in particular through the implementation of circular economy which can contribute to a low carbon economy, as found out during a conference on 12 January 2016.

Brussels, Belgium – The conference organised on 12 January 2016 at the Committee of the Regions by the Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and sustainable Resource management (ACR+), Zero Waste Europe and Zero Waste France gathered 130 participants to discuss the transformation of the European Union into a low carbon economy, and more specifically the promotion of low-carbon solutions to material resources issues.

Circular economy must be perceived as a driver which can stimulate  sustainable production and consumption and through this ease the transition to a low carbon economy.” With these words Céline Fremault, Minister of Environment of the Region of Brussels Capital Region, opened the conference and highlighted the clear link between circular economy and climate change.

This position was backed by the presentation of a report commissioned by the three organisers to Eunomia, entitled “The Potential Contribution of Waste Management to a Low Carbon Economy”. Dominic Hogg, Eunomia chairman, gave a summary of 11 recommendations drawn from the report. “We need to be focusing on upper levels in the hierarchy because that is where the potential for GHG savings is”, he said. The ensuing lively discussion showed that even if certain details of the report are still debated, everyone agrees on this main message. 

The participants also had the opportunity to listen to and exchange views with Julio Garcia Burgues (EU Commission – DG Environment), Tom Van Ierland (EU Commission – DG Climate Action) and Claire Roumet (Energy Cities). This panel debate proved the necessity for a closer cooperation between the policy fields of circular economy, energy and climate.

ACR+ – who invited two of its members, Porto and Brussels, to showcase their examples – highlights the key-role played by local and regional authorities (LRAs) in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and whose potential should be better taken into account. This is why, in its latest position paper, ACR+ calls on decision-makers to provide direct support to LRAs circular economy plans and initiatives as well as to set enabling conditions for a transition to a circular economy by applying the best possible regulatory approaches and economic incentives that will catalyze and scale-up the implementation of climate actions.

All the presentations from the conference are available online.

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