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Flanders rolls out new climate ranking system

Credit: © Belga
The city of Ghent in Flanders is one of several localities in the region to have received a "climate score."
Credit: © Belga

Every city and municipality in Flanders is now ranked in accordance to a “climate score,” as part of a new initiative launched by Flemish authorities on Wednesday in an attempt to push local governments to pursue greener policies.

The main indicators used to rank each city or municipality are total CO2 emissions, the prevalent forms of energy production, energy consumption rates, public lighting and mobility, among other “influencing factors.”

In the ranking, the coastal city of Ostend is the best-rated Flemish municipality, where households emit an average of 2.22 tons of CO2 per year, while the average emission in Flanders was of 3.51 tons.

“The figures are not very encouraging,” Kim Rienckens, a climate policy official who took part in the creation of the database, said. “On average, there is a slight decrease in emissions, but there is still work to be done,” Rienckens said, adding that heating and mobility were the main sectors that needed to be worked on.

While the ranking takes into account a variety of indicators, Dutch-speaking daily De Standaard points out that not all variants are taken into account, suggesting that one reason that Ostend tops the ranking is the high number of holiday homes, which remain vacant for large parts the year.

The data-fueled ranking system draws on climate reports jointly prepared by Flanders’ environmental and energy authorities together well as research and industry groups, in an effort to help put Flemish localities in line with the Covenant of Mayors, a European-wide initiative aiming to support European Union goals to cut down on CO2 emissions by 20% by next year.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times