The European “Green deal” is a very ambitious challenge that will require Belgium to majorly adapt the way it produces and consumes energy, the Belgian National Bank (BNB) concludes in its latest annual report.
The Green deal commits Europe to work towards becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.
“We are totally committed to reaching this target, but it is very important to highlight how ambitious it is,” Pierre Wunsch, BNB governor, says.
Belgium could become carbon-neutral by eventually refusing to use fossil fuels. “This includes natural gas, which was still considered part of the solution 10 years ago but is now part of the problem. This shows how much our economies will have to adapt over a very short period of time,” Wunsch explains.
The BNB said achieving an efficient transition would require controlling costs, minimising the effect on production potential and taking the social dimension into account.
For example, insulating buildings throughout the country would cost 220 billion euros. Who would cover that? The state? Or private citizens? “Even a zero-interest loan is useless if a person doesn’t have the means to pay it back,” the BNB governor said. “If we want to deal with the environmental challenge, we also have to increase public investment,” he added.
The BNB has highlighted the important “piloting” role public authorities will play in an uncertain technological context, via “stable and predictable” regulation and a “coherent approach.” “It will be necessary to encourage behaviours that help sustainability.”
The Brussels Times