Country profile - Future developments (Belgium)

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Evolution of demography, consumption, energy and transport 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
Key message

A general growth in population with an increased share of elderly people is foreseen. Energy and transport sector keep on exerting high environmental pressures as well as other consumption patterns.

Demographics ...

The foreseen demographic changes are characterised by a general growth in population (around 11 % between 2010 and 2030). The share of people aged 65 years and over will increase from 17 % in 2010 to 23 % in 20301. This projected trend is about the same in the Flemish and the Walloon Regions. However, in the Brussels-Capital Region this increase will be weaker, from 14 % in 2010 to 16 % in 2030, because of a higher birth rate. Another important foreseen development is the growing number of households in the population. They will influence the urbanisation patterns and will go with new types of consumption that might have negative effects on the environment. Regarding economic forecasts, the length of the financial crisis remains uncertain, as well as the social and environmental side effects. The likely decrease in environmental pressures due to the current negative economic growth rates will nevertheless not contribute to sustainable development.

At the sectoral level, under baseline assumptions, the energy and transport sectors will keep on exerting high environmental pressures: regarding energy2, national requirements for coal and natural gas will increase between 2000 and 2030. The surge in renewable energy sources (RES) is noticeable (4.2 % on average per annum). Final energy demand will increase by 10 % during the period 2000-2030; however, this scenario, carried out in 2007, does not take into account new elements such as the adoption of the package ‘Energy-climate’ at the European level and the delay of the phasing out of three nuclear power plants

  • regarding transport3, according to four reference scenarios, passenger transport is projected to increase between 2005 and 2030, with a growth rate estimated between 22 % and 30 % depending on the reference scenario. The growth of passenger transport is dominated by private cars. The freight transport also rises in the four reference scenarios. Trucks and heavy goods vehicles remain the main mode of freight transport in 2030.

Our food consumption is also expected to contribute to future environmental pressures within Belgium and at the global level but no baseline scenarios have been developed for food.

As a feedback loop, climate change caused by our unsustainable consumption and production patterns might also have severe impacts on the environment with the foreseen increase in the number of extreme climate events, such as storms, floods and droughts4.


1 Bureau fédéral du Plan (2008). Perspectives de population 2007-2060. Planning paper 105. Mai 2008.

2 D. Devogelaer en D. Gusbin (2007), Energievooruitzichten voor België tegen 2030 in een tijdperk van klimaatverandering, Perspectives énergétiques pour la Belgique à l’horizon 2030 dans un contexte de changement climatique, Planning Paper 102. Bureau fédéral du Plan.

3 Hoornaert B. Vervoermemissies. Historische evolutie en vooruitzichten. WP 8-09. Bureau fédéral du Plan.

4 European Commission (2009). Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament 2008 Environment Policy Review. 11505/09.


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