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BELGIUM: THE NATIONAL ENERGY AND CLIMATE PLAN

At the federal council of ministers of 21 April 2023, the " Final National Energy and Climate Plan " proposed by energy minister Tine Van Der Straeten has been approved. This plan was already approved in the Consultative Committee on 18.12.2019. Since then, a plethora of legislation has been enacted ( mainly by the Flemish Government, chaired by Jan Jambon), whereby the dates of certain provisions in the plan were brought forward and are meanwhile already in implemented. Everything stipulated in the NEKP must be implemented by 2030. The plan has a follow-up program with the same provisions that will be even tighter by 2050.


NEKP covers 413 pages and reads like a suspenseful thriller. However, it is not science fiction but bitter reality. Every citizen should read this plan so that every one knows what is in store for us all and has been concocted behind our backs under the auspices of the EU. The media does not say a word about it and neither do the competent authorities which once again confirms how much they disdain the citizens they are supposed to represent and protect.


Some of the provisions upon which has been decided :


page 65-68 :

Private homes :

A reduction of Belgian domestic emissions of greenhouse gases with at least 80% by 2050 compared to 1990

Buildings

Phasing out scenario for the marketing/installation of fossil fuel boilers (no more new oil boilers sold from 2035).

NOTE : this has been brought forward to 2023 in Flanders

Achieving energy and climate neutrality for federal government buildings by 2040. (taking into account the existing building stock and technical,legal and HR constraints as well as the accessibility of public buildings and the continuity

of public services).

Mobility& Transportation

-To decarbonise and reduce externalities on the environmental (pollution, noise, etc.) and societal (accidents, traffic jams, public health, etc.) aspects of mobility in Belgium.

-Promote and regulate alternative fuels such as bio-fuels (taking into account a global bio-based policy and hereby tightening sustainability criteria of bio-fuels at European level as well as limiting and excluding the use of problematic alternatives through standardization.

The goal is to reach a modal share for trips with "soft road users" (walking, cycling, electric motorbikes limited to 25 km/h and speed pedelecs) for commuting by 2030. Besides, travel plans for pedestrians will be promoted.

Promotion of transport electrification for-electric cars, light electric vehicles , bicycles, scooters, scooters and motorcycles, etc.

-greening of the public car fleet (exemplary function), with the ultimate goal of zero-emission vehicles.


Belgium, in consultation with EU Member States, will study the introduction of a mechanism to ensure a transition to the use of carbon-free energy in the maritime sector at international, national and international level be it through the imposition or strengthening of emission standards.

Within the framework of the Inter-Federal Cooperation Agreement on Sustainable Mobility, taxation and regulation of electric mono-wheels, bicycles, scooters, scooters, motorcycles and light electric vehicles will be assessed and reviewed, .


Circular Economy

-Action plan for strong circular economy where raw materials remain within the economy as much as possible, are reused and retain a useful value for as long as possible.

-With their sustainable public procurement, the government will give the market incentives towards the transition to a carbon-free economy (greening their fleets, purchasing green electricity, purchasing in line with the principles of the circular economy,choice of award criteria, etc...)


Fiscal instruments, public finance and financial regulation

-Shifting the burden from less fossil to more fossil-based resources

-Phasing out support for fossil fuels _

-Make financial flows consistent with the transition to a low-carbon society


Organization of the labor market

-Ensure an equitable transition, Education and awareness-raising

-Attention to changing people's behavior, through initiatives in education, upbringing, training and sensitization through culture with a particular focus on the importance of sensitization on the ecological footprint of consumption with the intention of motivating, encouraging and informing citizens to change behavior and to

invest permanently.

-Inform about climate issues and policies, and encourage citizens to initiate and reinforce climate actions (behavioral changes and investments).

Deploy education, public awareness, public participation, public access to information and public debate in implementation of Article 12 of Paris Agreement to increase support for the carbon-neutral transition among stakeholders and the general public.


Adaptation

-Objectives of the federal contribution to the National Adaptation Plan30:

the risks associated with the impact of climate change can be better

evaluated and better anticipate and respond (expanding knowledge) to the risks and mitigate them, and to maximize any benefits from the

climate change


Transportation :

p.99 : Energy consumption :

30 -35% less by 2030

p.143 Use of materials :

P.150 : Protein transition :

In the summer 2019, the Protein Transition Steering Group was launched within the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, with representation from ILVO, envisaging a protein transition in the broad sense for both feed and food. This platform considers policy, research and stakeholder consultation.

This includes various working frameworks:

Making protein sources more sustainable within animal feed, following the alternative proteins action plan in cooperation with the Belgian Feed Association (BFA).

Making conventional animal production more sustainable.

Focusing further on plant proteins via protein crops.

Supporting the development of alternative plant and animal protein sources via the strategic platform for insects, algae, etc., among others.

Supporting new markets for this entire chain from production to waste.


From p.152 specific for Flanders ( stricter than in Wallonia and BCR )

Some regulations already in place since 2016

Page 172 collaboration with Federal level

The introduction of a carbon charging system (to internalize the damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions and encourage entrepreneurs to use low-carbon solutions). In its absence, the Government will defend the progressive increase in excise duty on fuel;

The reduction of VAT on repair services;

The adjustment and gradual strengthening of product standards, especially banning the marketing of:

Household products that consume a lot of energy;

Beverages in plastic bottles, with the simultaneous introduction of a framework promoting the use of deposits and the introduction of two or three standardized formats for all beverages sold in Belgium.


Policies and measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from means of transport are built around the following 3 axes:

1. Reducing demand for mobility, mainly through spatial planning (reducing distances between residential areas, services and recreation) and behavioral and cultural changes;

2.Steering mobility development. This is done by building and investing in a multimodel mobility system, promoting modal shift by strengthening and improving public transport supply and encouraging the use of

soft mobility (walking, cycling);

3. For the part of transport that remains by road, aim to gradually decarbonise road transport through low-carbon or carbon-free technologies


p.178

We encourage the use of light, mainly electric vehicles

Within a multimodel mobility system, for individual journeys, light electric vehicles such as bicycles, speed pedelecs, motorbikes, ... are more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient than heavier alternatives. The same obviously applies to ordinary bicycles. Work is being done on appropriate design of the public domain so that the necessary space and infrastructure are created for safe and comfortable use of such means of transport. Coherent, comfortable and safe soft(er) mobility networks will also be developed.

There is great environmental potential in light electric vehicles (LEVs), both for commuting and logistics.

We support the purchase and use of zero-emission vehicles.

By 2030, the average CO2 emissions of new cars sold per manufacturer should fall by 37.5% compared to 2021 for cars and 31% for new vans.

Truck manufacturers have been required since 2019 to measure the fuel consumption of their vehicles using the VECTO test procedure and report CO2 and other vehicle data to the European Commission. The Commission's proposal to cap CO2 emissions from heavy vehicles was agreed between the European Parliament and the Council on 22 February 2019. The agreement aims at a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions from new trucks from 2025 and 30% from 2030 compared to the 2019/2020 reference level. The 2030 reduction target is binding unless otherwise decided at the review foreseen in 2022.

We will ensure that real emissions from vehicles fall


p.184 Trajectory control

Trajectory control ensures a more constant average speed and smoother traffic flow. For at least three years, we will build 20 section control installations per year at new locations on regional roads. We also want to drastically increase the number of section controls on motorways. Using the federal ANPR network on motorways, the ambition is to result in a 'coverage' of ± 50%.


Self-driving and automated vehicles

Developments in connected and autonomous driving means of transport offer great opportunities for safer and smoother traffic (fewer accidents, shorter tracking distances), but also for more sustainable and inclusive mobility. They facilitate the combined use of

different modes, and also bring new challenges (potential increased mobility demand, cybersecurity, privacy, etc.).

With the Mobilidata program, innovative mobility solutions are being realized, in co-creation with private partners. We also continue to build a digital data infrastructure and qualitative and sustainable data sources.

We reduce speed limits faster if fine dust standards are exceeded. When fine dust standards are exceeded, various mitigating measures are taken. For example, the speed on motorways and ring roads is limited to 90 km/h.The general limitation of the speed limit to 90 km/h also has a beneficial effect on the CO2 emissions. We reduce the maximum speed limit when there is a threat of exceeding the standards for particulate matter This measure has a positive impact on air quality for direct residents as well as a positive impact on CO2 emissions.


p.187

Heading 1: Rationalizing mobility needs (Avoid)

Aiming to 'reduce our need for individual travel and goods transport' is a crucial line of thinking to make the transport system sustainable.

Main line 2: Promoting modal transfer (modal shift)

relies on a shift of freight transport by truck to rail and waterways by 2030. The same applies to passenger mobility: the car should be significantly curtailed in favor of public transport and active modes (walking, cycling, etc.).

Axis 3: Improve vehicle performance (Improve)

The increasing electrification of the vehicle fleet will be reinforced by 2030. At the same time, the orientation of new vehicle purchases towards less energy-consuming models (less powerful, lighter) will be promoted through an approach that will also offer benefits in terms of a reduction in road accidents.( pretext )


p.190 : Mobipool

A 'mobipool' is: a physical place that has a structuring mobility offer, i.e. with an attractive service level.

We speak of a structuring offer when the frequency, speed and comfort level of service offer potentially attractive solutions compared to the traditional use made of the car (i.e. a use in under-capacity). This offer will consist of the development of forms of service whose characteristics will focus mainly on the expectations of future users.

The mobipool is also a place that should be as accessible as possible to a maximum number of people and types of solutions. This aspect of the concept aims to avoid scattering infrastructure resources throughout the territory.

Finally, it is also a place destined to grow into a transit point. Resources must therefore be found to make the mobipool attractive as such. It is imperative that 'the diversions pays off'.


p.195 Brussels and other major cities

Banning combustion engines

Like other big cities, the Brussels-Capital Region faces a special transport situation because of the large number of commuters. Moreover, mobility needs are still largely met by individual solutions that emit very high levels of carbon and air pollutants.

In view of this situation, the government decided to take measures to improve air quality in the capital. It therefore approved banning diesel vehicles by 2030 at the latest and petrol and LPG vehicles by 2035 at the latest.


p.206 Exit from fuel oil as from 2025

Fuel oil is still widely used on the regional territory for heating and domestic hot water. It represents 16% of the boiler fleet and emits 32% more carbon dioxide than natural gas. However, low-carbon or renewable alternatives are available. Studies and feedback from the field show that heating systems, especially boilers, have a much longer useful life than other building equipment.

Owners tend to keep their equipment as long as it functions, regardless of its energy performance. A fuel oil boiler installed and minimally maintained today will still be in use in 28 to 30 years (or even 35 years).

Given the challenges, we must therefore use the coming period to gradually reduce the use of fuel oil for heating.However, special attention will be paid to large oil-fired boiler rooms in schools and public buildings.

In this context, the government commits to:

Include in legislation the ban on the installation of heating appliances and/or sanitary hot water production appliances powered by fuel oil from 2025 onwards

Note: the ban is already in force in Flanders since 01.01.2023


Exit from natural gas as of 2030

Approaching carbon neutrality means, as envisaged in the Energy Pact, ensuring that we will no longer use fossil energy for our heating needs by the middle of the century. Taking into account the lifetime of equipment (20 to 25 years for natural gas-fired plants), the gradual exit from natural gas should also be worked on from 2030 onwards.

The Government undertakes to:

Examine the possibility of banning the installation of cooking, heating and sanitary hot water production appliances running on natural gas or butane/propane gas from 2030 onwards

NOTE : No new gas installation is allowed in Flanders since 01.01.2023


p.208 Agriculture

The policy guidelines for non-energy emissions in the agriculture sector and related measures are set out as follows:

-Animal production

-Lower enteric emissions (methane)

-Lower emissions from manure storage and management (methane, nitrous oxide)

-Plant production

-Lower soil emissions due to increased nitrogen efficiency (nitrous oxide)

-Close cycles / valorize by-products

-More sustainable fisheries sector

-Horizontal measures within agriculture

-Common Agricultural Policy after 2020

-Cooperation in the chain

-Integrated approach to research, innovation and knowledge flow


Animal production :

The general trend of consumption moderation for meat products

(including beef and pork) that started in the last decade will continue. Falling demand leads to falling supply as the trend on the demand side occurs not only within Belgium but within the entire single market/customs union. The European Commission predicts that on the supply side, both pig and cattle herds will decrease by 2030. Both optimizing feed rations and feed efficiency and improving farm management can reduce methane emissions per animal.

Both optimizing feed rations and feed efficiency and improving

crop production.

Reduced soil emissions through increased nitrogen efficiency

Current nitrogen losses in the agricultural sector have a direct and indirect impact on environmental quality (greenhouse gases, acidification, eutrophication).

Nitrogen emissions to air and water from animal and crop production and biomass processing can be reduced :

Animal feed with low protein rations, own protein production and proteins from residual streams;

Precision agriculture: right dose at the right time and place;

More efficient nitrogen uptake through adapted crops (breeding, new techniques,...) and crop rotations (e.g. with leguminous plants);

Reduce fertilizer use by encouraging adapted crop rotations and the use of fertilizer substitutes;

Transition manure processing from nutrient removal to nutrient recovery and limit N losses.


And so it goes on and on for another 200 pages ....



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