Belgium Belgium

Belgium’s performance again fell compared with the previous CCPI, as was also the case last year. The country this time drops nine ranks and is now 49th.

In the GHG Emissions, Renewable Energy, and Climate Policy categories, Belgium receives a low rating. In the GHG Emissions category in the GHG per Capita indicator, Belgium shows low performance, with 10.09 tC02/capita, and the country has low-performing benchmark indicators in this category. In the Energy Use category, Belgium has a very low rating, dropping 13 places. Belgium’s overall performance is thus rated low.

The EU in 2021 endorsed the Belgian National Recovery and Resilience Plan as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Recovery Plan includes ambitions of investments and reforms geared towards climate action. The investment part of the Plan is seen as an improvement in Belgium’s climate action, while the EU Commission notes the Plan lacks reforms towards better climate policy.

Like Germany, there was a court rule in Belgium this year against the federal and regional governments because of inadequate responses to the climate crisis and for failure to uphold promises. The Belgian CCPI experts welcomed the strengthening of climate objectives at the federal level and in some regions, but Belgium’s overall climate ambition is still held back by the Flemish government.

The experts note some signs of improvement in the transport sector, with more investments in public transport announced, as well as projects to improve offshore wind power. That notwithstanding, the experts are concerned that concrete policies have been lacking thus far, at every level of government, for delivering policy-driven emissions reductions. This also is reflected in the low rating in the Climate Policy category.

The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI: Greenpeace; Bond Beter Leefmilieu; Inter Environnement Wallonie; WWF; Coalition Climat

Technical note: how to read the target comparison graph

The graph above shows the development of a country over the past years compared with its Paris compatible pathway and 2030 target. For all three quantitative categories of the CCPI, this visualisation gives an overview of where a country is right now, where it would need to be to fulfil the Paris Agreement promises and where it aims to be in 2030.

For GHG emissions per capita, the data includes LULUCF, as used for the emissions per capita indicator. This leads to the vast changes in emissions of some countries with high forest coverage. The calculation of individual country target pathways is based on the common but differentiated convergence approach (CDC). It is based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” laid forth in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. All Annex I countries therefore have a decreasing pathway from 1990 onwards, starting at that year’s emissions. 60 years later, in 2050, these countries are expected to reach net zero emissions. All other countries, which did not reach the level of global average emissions in 1990, are allowed to increase emissions until the average is reached. But by latest 2015 these countries, too, have decreasing pathways and 60 years to reach net zero. These pathways start from the global average.

The Renewable Energy data is given in per cent of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and includes hydro energy, consistent with the respective CCPI indicator. As global distribution of Renewables (especially solar and wind) only started in the 2000s, the pathways in this category start in 2010. All countries have an equal goal: 100% Renewables in 2050, each starting from its 2010 value.

For Energy Use the Primary Energy Supply per capita is shown. All pathways for this category start at country’s 1990 values and meet at global average of 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES. For 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, a decrease in emissions by reducing the (growth in) energy use is as crucial as deploying renewable (or other low-carbon) technologies. The IPCC carried out a scenario comparison using a large number of integrated assessment models. From the scenarios available, we observe that the total amount of global energy use in 2050 has to be roughly the same level or a bit higher than it is today, with a margin of uncertainty. At the same time population will grow slightly between today and 2050. We therefore pragmatically chose the well-below-2° compatible benchmark to be “same energy use per capita in 2050 as the current global average”, which is 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.