written by
Julie Colback

5 important climate change plan traps to avoid πŸ’ͺ

Consultancy Climate Action 5 min read , March 24, 2020

As you're working on a climate change plan for your city, there are some important traps to avoid. Number one: Don't get lost in the numbers! Filter the measures that have the most impact and start working with the data you already have. Discover 4 more tips below.

Climate plan change traps

πŸ”’ Climate change plan trap #1: Don't get lost in the numbers

As experts, we know that there is often a (small) error somewhere in the figures used and its results. It's sometimes tempting to focus on having 100% correct figures, but keep in mind that your data will improve along the way. In the meantime, these numbers should give you an idea of where your city is heading.

Acting is better than doing nothing. You may not see the direct result, but you have to start somewhere... πŸ˜‰

β˜€οΈ Tip - Filter the measures that have the most impact and use FutureproofedCities to start working with the data you already have or with the measures you can implement (there will always be time to fill in the missing numbers later).

πŸ•΄Climate change plan trap #2: Not everything should rest on one person's shoulders

Or at least it shouldn't be like that. Remember: teamwork makes the dream work! It’s essential to involve people from other departments within the municipality. If you can't convince your colleagues, or if your municipality doesn't have enough staff: don't despair! There are also other starting points. πŸ‘‡

πŸ“ Local companies

Get in touch with your local businesses, and look for those that have already developed sustainable projects or wish to do so.

In Wallonia: you can consult the list of members of the Tweed cluster, a network of companies (private or public) that brings together stakeholders active in the sustainable energy sector, all sectors combined. Putting these companies in contact with others in your territory to stimulate the development of sustainable projects can be very interesting. πŸ’ͺ

Do your SMEs need help to make a successful energy transition or to finance their innovative projects? Sowalfin's initiative Novalia (FR) is a good way to help them!

In Flanders: you can join Samenklimaatactief (NL), an initiative of the Antwerp city to drastically reduce the CO2 emissions of offices, light industry and shops in Flanders (present in Antwerp and Ghent).

In Brussels: you can inform Greenbizz to companies looking for a methodology of support adapted to innovative start-ups in a sustainable economy.

Climate change plan traps to avoid

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘§ Your citizens

Search for projects carried out by committed citizens, groups, organizations, or communities. Don't hesitate to turn to a young audience, who will potentially be more sensitive to making your city future proofed and willing to act.

Leuven 2030 (NL) is a good example: this non-profit organisation has 60 founding members, including citizens, companies, institutes (universities, research centres, etc.) and (semi-) public authorities who work together to make Leuven a sustainable and healthy city. How do they finance their projects? In many different ways: the city budget, the participation of the different members, investment requests at EU level... Don't hesitate to contact them to find out more!

🌎 Our Community

Remember that you are not the only one working on a climate plan. Our online community allows you to ask other cities and municipalities for advice or ask them your questions. (And don't forget, there is no such thing as silly questions... πŸ˜‰).

β˜€οΈ Climate change plan trap #3: Don't start from the responsibility, but from the advantages

Every climate plan starts with responsibility, and many benefits come with it. That is why it’s important to show what you can gain by improving your city, its services, and above all, its quality of life. Think about the co-benefits of climate measures, they will allow you to easily identify those different benefits.

Focus on the co-benefits of climate measures

πŸ’° Climate change plan trap #4: Don't focus on the budget of your city or municipality

Don't focus on your city's budget: that's a big climate plan trap! Widen your research and think about other sources of investment: European funds, private investors, regional or federal subsidies, the help that can be given to you by the inter-municipal bodies...

PS: It has been calculated that an investment of around €1,000 per person per year, made by all stakeholders between now and 2050, is necessary to maintain the course of the energy transition by 2050. Of course, a city or municipality can not invest alone... This is why cities are facilitators and need all stakeholders to commit to their climate plan to make it happen! 🀝

Take inspiration from the workshop (NL) given by Leen Peters during one of our FPC Talks to learn more about subsidies, questions to ask yourself, and ways to proceed. Professionals can help your municipality to write and develop your ideas or project proposals.

Climate action

πŸ“£ Climate change plan trap #5: Start 'small' and don't hesitate to communicate

Having trouble getting political support? Do you find it difficult to communicate about climate plans? Do you think you have nothing or not enough to communicate?

This climate change plan trap is very common as it might feel there is nothing to share. However, you can communicate about measures and actions that have already been carried out (and successfully, even better), or that are currently in progress. Also, think about actions that don’t involve political commitment or figures in the first place.

The different actors of the territory will be happy to know that you’re acting, even if these are small actions at first. Think for example of an action on a workshop, an information session, a collective purchase... By taking a step back from what is happening in your community you will realize that there is more to tell than you think.

β˜€οΈ FutureproofedCities make it easy to set priorities, focus and monitor concrete climate action.

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