Share article:
Share article:

Belgium’s €1 million/month climate trial begins today

Credit: Ariadne Van Zandberge/Belga

Belgium faces fines of €1 million for every month that it fails to meet climate targets as part of a massive trial in the former NATO headquarters kicking off today.

The case, brought forward by vzw Klimaatzaak with the support of a reported 58,586 people in Belgium, is demanding that the authorities fulfil the promises made in their respective climate policies, and for them to be fined if they do not.

“We cannot keep saying that the transition is not feasible. We have a very strong case today,” Francesca Vanthielen, one of the founders of Klimaatzaak, told Het Belang van Limburg.

The climate targets set by the three regions and the federal government are not legally binding, which means that there are no real consequences if they do not meet these targets.

Related News

 

The plaintiff argues this should change, and that a penalty of €1 million should be imposed per month that the governments fail to meet the targets.

They are specifically asking for the emission of greenhouse gases in our country to be reduced by at least 42% by 2025 and by 55% by 2030.

In line with the objectives set out by the Paris Climate Agreement and the European Green Deal, the group argues that by 2050, our country should be completely climate-neutral.

The lawsuit was first brought forward seven years ago, in 2014, but due to language issues – the former Flemish Minister for the Environment Joke Schauvliege appealed against the legal proceedings taking place in French – it was delayed for years.

Belgium was at the time the second country worldwide where such a climate case has been launched, following the Netherlands, resulting in the Dutch government having to withdraw the licenses of and impose restrictions on four coal-fired power stations.

The success of this court case leads Bernard Vanheusden, professor of environmental law and rector of Uhasselt to believe that the case in Belgium could be successful.

“Those two cases are almost identical: the claims and subpoenas, on violated articles in the constitution and in the Convention on Human Rights, for example, are the same,” he told VRT News.

However, he said it may be too little too late, but that it is a strong signal from a large group of citizens to the government that it should be paying attention to this.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Limiting private contacts ‘needed to fight autumn wave’, expert warns
The Consultative Committee announced it is introducing a handful of measures in public spaces to control the quickening spread of the coronavirus, ...
After 5 rescues in 2 days, hundreds of migrants take shelter in Italy
After five rescues in less than two days, almost 400 migrants aboard the Geo Barents search and rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean, operated by ...
Belgian wind farm closed down to save migrants floating in sea
A wind farm near Zeebrugge had to be shut down on Wednesday morning as more than 25 migrants had been adrift in its vicinity off the Belgian coast ...
Cinemas will require Covid Safe Ticket from Friday
The Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will be required to attend cinemas across Belgium from Friday, which marks the start of the autumn holidays, the ...
UN issues strong warning ahead of climate change summit in Glasgow
New and updated climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, leaving the world on track for a ...
Disastrous year for Belgian beekeepers
Belgian beekeepers have experienced a disastrous year, with honey production 50 to 60 percent lower than last year due to heavy rainfall during ...
New measures for schools considered as situation becomes ‘untenable’
Belgium's various education partners met on Wednesday to discuss additional measures to implement in schools as the coronavirus situation worsens in ...
Belgium in Brief: Back To Masks
I really hope you didn't throw out all your masks. You'll be needing them again. Now I do appreciate that this isn't a huge change for ...
Belgium a climate slowcoach as EU reveals emissions progress
The European Union is on track to pass its first big climate test, according to new figures published this week. But Belgium has been singled out for ...
Belgium’s decision on possible third shot postponed until Saturday
The decision on how Belgium will proceed with the roll-out of third shots of the coronavirus vaccine has been postponed until Saturday.  The news ...
Experts and politicians respond to new coronavirus measures
The handful of measures (re-)introduced by Belgium's Consultative Committee on Tuesday in response to the worsening coronavirus situation have had a ...
New fraudulent e-mails circulating in Belgium
A warning has been put out about new phishing e-mails that have been circulating since last Saturday and are sent from what could appear to be an ...