STS - conferences, IST2012

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Limburg Carbon Neutral by 2020: A Belgian transition case exploring the boundaries of sustainability and desirability
Leen Gorissen

Last modified: 2012-03-19


In 2008, the province of Limburg, Belgium launched the ambition ‘Limburg Carbon Neutral by 2020’, one of the most far-reaching ambitions in terms of climate policy in the world. Since emission reductions are often correlated to sectors like energy production, industry and transport, technological solutions are generally what authorities and the general public expect when it comes to reducing emissions. However, technological feasibility is confounded by non-technological barriers obliterating any guarantee on success and secondly, also non-technological measures will be essential parts of the solution. In the recent study Limburg carbon neutral for the province of Limburg (Flanders) we started out depicting scenario’s to carbon neutrality from the technological point of view. During our quest however, opportunities arose to widen the scope of the project to include also non-technological measures. In this presentation, we will briefly depict the evolution of the Limburg carbon neutral project, highlighting how bottlenecks of technology can provide opportunities for broader sustainability, which favourable conditions allowed widening the scope of the study (reframing) beyond technological solutions and how conditions and components of transition theory have been fashioned to the local hands–on approach. Together with the audience, we aspire to reflect upon the possible pitfalls and opportunities that lay ahead for realizing the transition to a post carbon Limburg.