A group of experts from both French-speaking and Flemish universities has presented what it calls a “ready-to-use” climate law for the government to adopt in the face of widespread and growing public disquiet with the lack of action on climate change. The group includes university professors as well as specialists in constitutional law and the environment. The proposed law, they said, not only revises the country’s aims upward, but also integrates principles of social justice and integrity.
“The object of this proposed law is to quash what exists at the moment on climate governance and look again at how the different instances work together in order to formulate a model which actually functions,” commented Mathias El Berhoumi, professor of constitutional law at Saint-Louis faculty in Brussels.
To that end, the law proposes four organs: the inter-ministerial climate conference, which already exists, which would approve the national climate plan in line with long-term objectives; an inter-federal agency which would monitor policy advances and draw up the national plan; an inter-parliamentary commission that would bring together federal, regional and community parliaments with the Senate; and an independent expert committee to comment on the science of climate change.
The law also adopts the demand of the Rise for Climate marchers, to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 65% by 2030, based on 1990 levels. Also by 2030, Belgium would increase the share of energy from renewable sources to 32%, and meet the EU standard of a 32.5% increase in energy efficiency – on which the regions could not agree when the subject came up in December.
“Our proposal is ready to use,” professor of law and sustainable development at Saint-Louis, Delphine Misonne, told Le Soir. “It was drawn up against a background of today’s federal situation, and so needs no reform to be put in place before it can be implemented. It could even be adopted tomorrow, even by a caretaker government,” she said. “The aim is to bring together a wide variety of scientists,” said Carole Billiet of the university of Ghent. “That means not only climate scientists, but also financial and economic specialists. There will be only one institution for all of Belgium, so that all levels can speak with one voice.”