The Antwerp Port Authority signed an open letter, along with Belgian companies and members of academia, to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the run-up to COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties 21, in Paris. COP21, or the “Paris Agreement” aims to:
- keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius (compared with pre-industrial levels) and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
- increase countries’ capacity to cope with the effects of climate change (climate adaptation) and generate climate resilience.
- make the transition to a low-carbon economy.
- ensure that climate financing are consistent with the transition to this low-carbon and climate-resilient development.
Why a low-carbon economy?
There are several benefits to a more climate-friendly economy with fewer greenhouse gas emissions:
- more resilient to external shocks, more growth opportunities and increased competitiveness, e.g., in the case of oil-dependent companies.
- more “green” employment, by employing workers who operate sustainable installations or processes.
- stimuli for innovation: creative and smart solutions in industrial activities are applied on a smaller scale elsewhere, e.g., in energy-efficient housing, smart cooling systems, e-cars and so on.
Greener transport options
The port community is making efforts on several levels:
- ADPO has replaced traditional trucks with hybrid trucks, that also run on LNG and are less noisy. The fuel cost and greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 25%, and LNG is also 90% less harmful than diesel. Moreover, everyone can use the filling station on the company’s premises.
- At Zuidnatie, the quay forwarders have been driving around in Fiat Ducato vans powered by CNG engines. The big advantage of these engines is that they emit almost no CO2 particulates or other harmful substances. The company also operates hybrid forklifts and company vehicles.
- PSA has chosen to work with ecars and hybrid straddle carriers.
- The Antwerp Port Authority is “greening” all the movements of its personnel. It replaced most of its fleet with more environmentfriendly cars and also makes available bikes for short journeys. The Port Authority also implemented eco-driving principles for its own vessels, leading to fuel savings of 5 to 15% on a total consumption of 6 million litres a year.
- In addition, the Port Authority also uses 100% green electricity. By making onshore power supplies available to barges, they no longer have to run their engines when at berth, but can connect to the onshore power supply. You can find further information about energy choices in the port here.
What can you do to help the environment? The European Commission experts have shared these tips.