Klimaatzaak takes governments to court over climate policies


About 9,000 members of the public have joined the group of 11 prominent Flemings as they subpoena four Belgian governments, concerned about a lack of commitment to climate policy

Preliminary hearing in two weeks

Almost 9,000 members of the public have joined an initiative launched by a group of 11 prominent Flemings to take legal action to force the federal and regional governments to improve their climate policies.

Klimaatzaak (Climate Business) was formed at the end of last year, with the statement that the four governments – federal, Flemish, Walloon and Brussels – were in breach of their obligations regarding climate change. The group is demanding a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 87.5% based on 1990 levels, with a deadline of 2050.

The four governments issued a response to the demands earlier this year and met with Klimaatzaak. “Despite this interesting and constructive discussion, it soon became clear that the various parties could not come to a consensus that would see the necessary commitments translated into a climate policy,” said Klimaatzaak in a statement. “All parties were in agreement that a global temperature increase of more than two degrees Celsius must be avoided.” 

The group includes artists, scientists and conservationists, including film director Nic Balthazar, Ignace Schops of the Regionaal Landschap Kempen and musician Stijn Meuris.  They are now joined by 9,000 members of the public who added their names to a subpoena bringing the four governments to court and asking them to provide a timetable for their compliance with the CO2 demand and a division of responsibilities. 

The subpoena has gone out, and the group expects a preliminary hearing within two weeks. If the governments fail to meet the group’s demands, and those are upheld by the court, the group is asking for an exemplary fine of €10,000 a day to be levied.

Photo: The founding members of Klimaatzaak, from left: Musician Stijn Meuris, sustainable design engineer Serge de Gheldere, European Climate Foundation director Tom Brookes, conservationist Lambert Schoenmaekers, Regionaal Landschap Kempen director Ignace Schops, TV and radio host Francesca Vanthielen, AB director Dirk De Clippeleir, artist Koen Vanmechelen, TV director Tom Lenaerts, filmmaker Nic Balthazar and naturopath Johan Van Den Bosch
© Klimaatzaak