Flanders halts approval of climate plan 'to avoid criticism'

Flanders halts approval of climate plan 'to avoid criticism'
Credit: © Belga

The Flemish government has pulled the plug on a press conference where leaders were expected to present the regional climate and energy plan, saying more calculations were needed "to avoid criticism."

Climate Minister Zuhal Demir presented her regional counterparts with her Flemish Climate Plan on Friday, in preparation for her upcoming trip to the COP25 climate summit in Madrid.

The plan, which lays out the roadmap for the region to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, was also drafted ahead of a nearing deadline for EU member states to present the ways in which they intend to contribute to the bloc's climate goals.

While a spokesperson for Minister-President Jan Jambon said that Flanders' plan was ready, he said that the "technical information" in it still needed some tweaking to avoid criticism, De Morgen reports.

"We want to be sure of the figures, that is why additional calculations are needed," spokesperson Olivier Van Raemdonck said. "The plan itself is ready but the technical foundation must be perfect, otherwise we will rightly be criticised if our figures are wrong."

The postponed approval of the plan throws into question plans by Demir to arrive with an approved plan under her belt to the U.N. climate conference, to which she said she was planning to go by "plane-pooling," meaning on a shared flight.

The Flemish government, led by the nationalist Nieuw Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA), is aiming for a 29% cut on emissions by 2030, according to De Morgen, a reduction which falls short of an initial EU goal to cut down emissions by around 35% by 2030 from 2005 figures.

The EU's new leadership, which made an ambitious pledge to implement a Green New Deal, could raise the bar even higher for authorities in Flanders and overall Belgium, after it was announced that the EU intended to reach climate neutrality by 2050.

The Flemish climate plan, expected from the EU by 31 December, will be merged with those of other regional governments and with those from the federal government.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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