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    COP23: Belgium may miss 2020 climate targets

    © Belga
    The European Commission recommends that the Belgian government should enable more infrastructure investment within its public expenditure, including that of the transport sector.
    © Belga

    The European Union overall is on track to reduce its target of 20% reduction in greenhouse gases (“GHG”) by 2020. However this is certainly not due to the Belgian contribution. This is observed in a report published by the European Commission on Tuesday. Belgium, which regarding these targets, is in the same position as Malta, Finland and Ireland, is not able to achieve its objectives for non-industrial emissions.

    The report stresses that the GHG emissions do not account for those within the EU’s European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), or non-industrial emissions. These fell by 11% across the entire Union between 2005 and 2016. This global result already exceeds the objective fixed for 2020, namely that of 10%. However the European Executive is calling for caution in this assessment, as emissions increased in 2015 and 2016, explained by the low oil prices.

    As alluded to above, Belgium is amongst the four countries which have not sufficiently succeeded in reducing their non-GHG emissions in 2016. The European Commission has calculated that Belgium may miss the 2020 objective by some 3.5 percentage points. To redress the balance, the Commission says that the Belgian government should improve “the make-up of its public expenditure so as to create more space for infrastructure investment, including that of the transport sector.”

    The Commission also states that the advantageous tax regime for company cars “contributes to pollution, congestion and GHG emissions.”

    The report indicates that Germany, Austria and Luxembourg are also below their objectives compared to their 2020 climate targets, but to a lesser extent than Belgium.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times