Climate change mitigation - National Responses (Belgium)

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Policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the different levels of government in Belgium.
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22 Dec 2010
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Published: 05 Nov 2010 Modified: 21 Mar 2015 Feed synced: 22 Dec 2010 original

In the Belgian federal system, policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are mapped out at different levels of responsibility based on the division of powers between the federal government and the regions. Each level of power establishes its own priorities for environment and climate policy. Coordination bodies have been set up to harmonise and create synergy between the policies implemented by the federal government and the three regions, the National Climate Commission being the most important. The general context for the preparation of climate change policies and measures is consequently determined by the plans established by the federal and regional authorities setting out policy objectives and strategies.

Through the cooperation agreement for the national burden sharing dated 8 March 2004, each federal entity has been assigned a target for reducing emissions by comparison with 1990: -5,2 % for the Flemish Region, -7,5 % for the Walloon Region and +3.475 % for the Brussels-Capital Region. The balance, still in accordance with Europe's burden sharing, allows Belgium a target of -7,5 %, which means a reduction of 2.442 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year for the period 2008 to 2012 at the national level.

Under the aegis of the National Climate Commission, a national climate plan[1] has been set up. This is based on the various regional plans and federal measures. It is called ‘Belgium's national climate plan for 2009 to 2012 – an inventory of the measures in place and the state of play as of 31 December 2008’. This plan is based on six sectoral strategic axes. These are to optimise the production of energy, to use energy rationally in buildings, to exert influence on industrial processes, to develop sustainable transport modes, to foster sustainable management of agricultural and forestry ecosystems, to reinforce efforts having regard to waste management and five auxiliary strategic axis that are more horizontal. These are to step up research efforts on the subject of climate change, to create awareness among Belgian protagonists of the fight against climate change, to reinforce direct involvement of the res publica in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, to implement flexibility mechanisms and to integrate the climate dimension into policy on development aid. Each of these axes has its corresponding series of concrete policies and measures. Within the framework of chapter 5 of the fifth National communication on climate change, these axes have been slightly modified.

The public authorities are nonetheless endeavouring to promote the development of renewable energy as a response to the issues of security of energy supplies and polluting emissions, and with a view to enhancing the value of local resources and creating jobs. In time, renewable energy is expected to constitute a substantial share of primary energy generation. Directive 2001/77/EC on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources establishes an indicative target of 6 % of electricity from renewable sources in gross electricity consumption, to be attained by 2010. Various wind energy projects in particular are being implemented. In 2007, renewable energy (hydraulic, wind, biomass and recovery fuels) represented 5,4 % of primary electricity generation.

At regional level a number of climate plans have been implemented. There is the climate policy plan for 2006 - 2012 for the Flemish Region[2], the Air-Climate plan for the Walloon Region[3] and the air and climate plan for 2002 to 2010 for the Brussels-Capital Region[4]. Some of these plans have already been assessed and structures are already in place for preparing the next plans.

A summary of policies and measures for the reduction of GHG emissions at the federal and regional levels is available in the Belgium’s Fifth National Communication Climate Change under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (, especially see the overview table of policies and measures, p73-87). 


[2] See

[3] The ‘Plan Air Climat’ for the Walloon Region:


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