Belgian greenhouse gas emissions have increased for the second year in a row

After going up 2.9% in 2015, Belgian greenhouse gas emissions increased again in 2016.

They went up by 0.7%, Le Soir reported on Saturday. This is according to provisional data Belgium gave the European Commission. There is a margin for error, and the definitive figures are expected to be available in 2018. The paper says an increase two years in a row, after an initial decrease in 2010, is worrying.

The provisional figures provided for 2016 show an annual total of 118,194 million tons of “CO² equivalent” (all gases grouped in one unit). This is a slight increase of 0.7% compared to 2015. There is a reason for this: 2016 was colder than 2015, and there are now more buildings and equipment. There was also a bond for Belgian metal production which included a new furnace in Ghent. But the sector they are most worried about is transport, in particular road transport, which has become the biggest source of emissions.

With an 18.5% reduction in emissions compared to 2005, Belgium is still in line with the European commitment to reduce emissions by 15% by 2020. But what some estimates predicted seems to be happening: after doing better than average, the reduction in Belgian emissions has slowed down, or worse still could even reverse. This means Belgium could end up only just meeting the target for 2020, and struggle with the one for 2030 (-35%) too.

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