July 28, 2021

Belgian government condemned for climate policy deemed negligent

The Belgian authorities have made a mistake by carrying out a negligent climate policy. Thursday, June 17, a Belgian court found guilty the federal state of Belgium as well as three regions of the country (Flanders, Wallonia, Brussels) for not having taken the necessary measures to fight against global warming. This decision, unprecedented in the country, has been described as“Historical” by the association that brought the lawsuit.

“In pursuit of their climate policy”, the four entities “Do not behave like normally prudent and diligent authorities, which constitutes a fault” with regard to the Belgian Civil Code, underlines the judgment, a copy of which was communicated to the press. In addition, “By refraining from taking all necessary measures to prevent the effects of life-threatening climate change” complainants, they violate the European Convention on Human Rights, he continues.

Reply to the Dutch proceedings

The Brussels Court of First Instance, however, did not follow the request of the plaintiffs – in particular the Klimaatzaak association (“climate case”, in Dutch) – to impose concrete greenhouse gas reduction targets, as in the case of recent trials in the Netherlands and Germany.

The procedure, launched in 2015 by Klimaatzaak, was intended as a Belgian response to that which led in the Netherlands to the condemnation of the Dutch government for non-compliance with the emission reduction targets set by the Paris agreement. In The Hague, this judgment became final in December 2019.

Some 58,000 Belgian citizens (three times more than in the Netherlands initially) were associated with the action brought by Klimaatzaak, and “All were considered admissible” (legitimate to act), which is « unique », said Serge de Gheldere, president of the association.

Read also COP21: States’ contributions on the climate

The World with AFP