Flemish Environment minister to appeal against ruling in climate case

Flemish Environment minister Zuhal Demir (N-VA) is appealing against the Brussels Court of Appeal decision. The ruling orders the Flemish Region, the Brussels-Capital Region and the Belgian State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990.

A French-speaking judge is imposing collective impoverishment on the Flemish community, she responded on Radio 1 on Friday morning. Following the announcement of the verdict in the climate case on Thursday, Demir said she would analyse the decision "with a view to cassation".

The ruling stems from a case brought by the non-profit organisation Climate Case, along with 58,586 co-plaintiffs. They went to court in 2015 to force the Belgian authorities to meet their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

55 per cent

On Thursday, the Brussels Court of Appeal decided to enforce a 55 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. This target not only goes beyond what Europe is asking of Belgium but is also legally binding. Failure to comply by any of the convicted parties could result in fines.

While federal ministers Khattabi (Ecolo) and Van der Straeten (Groen) and Brussels minister Maron (Ecolo) want to use the conviction as an opportunity to implement more climate policy, Flemish minister Demir has no intention of accepting the decision.

We live in a democracy, but the Court of Appeal is going beyond European obligations

"We live in a democracy, but the Court of Appeal is going beyond European obligations. I will not allow a judge to make political decisions," she said. "Because what they are imposing is a 'degrowth' narrative".

In addition, she said, the judge had erred by speaking of a general reduction without distinguishing between sectors covered by the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) - the 'cap and trade' system for reducing emissions through a carbon market - and those outside it.


Demir was also very surprised that the Walloon Region was not condemned. "Why is that? Because Wallonia closed two blast furnaces in Liège and Charleroi. As a result, CO2 emissions fell significantly, also impacted employment".

Therefore, Demir has no intention of closing down companies or entire sectors to meet climate targets. "We will not go down that road," she confirmed.



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