Climate agreement reached by regions and federal government

Summary

After six years of negotiations, the country’s four environment ministers have agreed Belgium’s policy goals on climate change

Greenhouse gases and renewable energy

Belgium’s four environment ministers – one from each region and one from the federal government – have finally reached agreement on the policy goals the country will adopt on climate change. The agreement was reached on Friday, six years after the negotiations started and a week after the start of the UN conference on climate change in Paris.

The agreement covers the period 2013 to 2020 and deals with the emission of greenhouse gases and the production of renewable energy. The EU plans to reduce greenhouse emissions by 15% and produce 13% of its total energy from renewable sources.

Belgium’s contribution to the financing of climate measures is €50 million a year – €25 million from the federal government, €14.5 million from Flanders, €8.25 million from Wallonia and €2.25 million from the Brussels-Capital Region.

Achieving the national target on greenhouse emissions will require cuts in Flanders of 15.7%, with 14.7% in Wallonia and 8.8% in Brussels.

The country has a carbon dioxide quota that, under the Emission Trading Scheme, is worth €326 million when emissions quotas are sold to industry. That will be shared out as follows: federal 10%, Flanders 53%, Wallonia 30%, Brussels 7%.

As far as the production of renewable energy is concerned, the total production represented by 13% comes to 4.224 Mtep (million tonnes equivalent of petroleum). Flanders will contribute 2.156 Mtep, Wallonia 1.277 Mtep, Brussels 0.073 Mtep and federal 0.718 Mtep.

“Everyone had to compromise on something,” said Flemish environment minister Joke Schauvliege. “Flanders will do more than was first expected, but that’s also the case for Wallonia and the federal government. Everyone has made an effort to ensure that there was a binding agreement.”

Photo: More than 10,000 protesters took part in a climate march in Ostend on Sunday

©Arie Asona/Demotix/Corbis

Belgian government

Belgium is a federal state made up of three regions and three communities, based on language (Dutch, French and German). The federal level is responsible for issues such as justice, defence, finances and foreign affairs – matters that affect the entire country. Belgium is also a constitutional monarchy.
Regions - The regions are comparable to American states or German Länder. They are geographical entities, responsible for matters related to their territory, such as public works, environment and economy. Belgium’s three regions are the Flemish Region, the Brussels-Capital Region and the Walloon Region.
Communities - Communities are responsible for matters that directly affect residents, such as education, welfare and culture. Belgium’s three communities are the Flemish Community, the French Community and the German Community.
Flanders - Although regions and communities do not overlap exactly, the Flemish Region and the Flemish Community have merged into the Flemish government. Its official language is Dutch. The Flemish Parliament sits in Brussels, which is the official capital city of Flanders (as well as Belgium).
11

population of Belgium in millions of people, with 6.2 million living in Flanders.

6

number of state reforms that have resulted in the federal system as it is today.

4

number of years for which the federal House of Representatives and the Senate are elected.