Nicolas Maeterlinck

“Climate goals must be legally binding”

Not-for-profit organisation Klimaatzaak (’Climate Case’) is taking the Belgian authorities to court to oblige them to comply with international climate obligations.  The case started before the court of first instance in Brussels today.

58,586 Belgian citizens have joined Klimaatzaak in taking action against the Belgian, Flemish, Brussels and Walloon governments that all have responsibilities in the field of climate policy.  The case is being brought to oblige the authorities to comply with the promises they made in the field of climate policy.

At present all goals that Belgian governments commit themselves to as part of international treaties are not binding under Belgian law.  Klimaatzaak, which was set up and is borne by a whole set of Flemish celebs, wants to make such commitments binding in law to allow judges to rule and impose penalties if the goals are not met.  The organisation is also seeking a penalty of a million euros a month for every month that the authorities don’t meet the goals they have set. 

Commitments already made mean that greenhouse gas emissions in Belgium need to be reduced by at least 42% by 2025 compared with 1990 standards, to at least 55% by 2030.  By 2050 Belgium should have become climate neutral in line with the Paris Climate Accord that hopes to limit global warming to 1.5°C.  Scientists see this goal as the limit if the worst effects of global warming are to be avoided. 

FOTO: Gerard Til

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