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Flanders releases Climate Plan with 350 measures

11:15 11/12/2019
From Flanders Today

The government of Flanders has produced its Climate Plan, setting out measures the region will take to address the climate crisis over the next 10 years. It contains some 350 measures intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, including shifting energy production towards cleaner sources and reducing the impact of the dirtiest vehicles.

If all of the policies are implemented, the plan will produce a 32.6% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030. This is below the minimum 35% target set by the European Union. It also falls short of more ambitious plans to cut emissions by 40% in Brussels and 55% in Wallonia.

Presenting the plan on Monday, Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon said that technological developments would help make up the shortfall. “There are no electric, self-driving cars yet, but I have the feeling there will be in a few years,” he told VRT.

If technology does not close the gap, Flanders will also be able make up the difference by buying emission allowances from other European countries who have been more successful, VRT reported.

Other measures in the plan include planting 10,000 hectares of new forest by 2030, and the introduction of low-interest loans for people who buy or inherit a house and renovate it for energy-efficiency. There will also be campaigns to urge people to use public transport.

The media’s favourite measure was a reduction of the maximum speed on the Brussels Ring road from 120 to 100km/h. The suggestion was greeted with scepticism from opposition parties, which pointed out that congestion on the R0 rarely allows speeds of 120km/h.

Environmental groups were also unimpressed by the plan as a whole. While they welcomed the realisation that investing in nature had a role to play, they wanted to see more ambition across the board.

“To achieve a real reduction in emissions in Flanders, strong action must be taken in the transport and building sectors,” said Laurien Spruyt of Bond Beter Leefmilieu. “This plan does not do that: It lists many symbolic measures that yield little real results.”

Written by Ian Mundell