Environment minister clashes with EU on climate goals

The Flemish environment minister Zuhal Demir (nationalist) has indicated that Flanders won’t accept new European climate goals if they are not feasible and affordable.

The European commission’s goal is for the bloc to be carbon neutral by 2050, but Ms Demir now says that she wants to have a good look at everything: “It has to be feasible and affordable” she adds.

The environment minister is eager first to realise the goals already agreed instead of setting new targets now.

The European commission announced its revised, stricter goals on Wednesday.  Targets for 2030 become stricter with the bloc becoming carbon neutral in 2050. However, at present the northern Belgian region isn’t on course to achieve the EU’s 2030 goals.

European commissioner Frans Timmermans is not impressed by Ms Demir’s stand: “I bumped into her and full of pride she told me about her goal.  When I added that we are going to propose reductions of up to minus 55 percent in 2030 she voiced surprise”.

Mr Timmermans explained that the climate accord reached in Paris is a guideline.  Countries that sign up agree to keep global warming under 2°C.  “This will require stricter goals.  That’s what I tried to explain yesterday” the EU supremo said.