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The Kyoto policy of Belgium

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Since the start of negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol, the Belgian authorities have always taken a favourable position towards an ambitious climate change regime, both at international and European level. This is obviously linked to the perception of a series of threats in Belgium.1 However, the Belgian position also results from the clear awareness that a global threat calls for a global solution. In the context of the Kyoto Protocol, the Belgian authorities have assumed ambitious commitments within the European Union. The start of the first commitment period (2008-2012) of the Protocol offers an excellent moment to evaluate the results so far. In this perspective, the present note recalls Belgium’s reduction commitment (§ 1) and describes the institutional structures put in place (§ 2), the general policies and measures taken at the federal and regional levels2 (§ 3) and finally the results obtained (§ 4). Karel VAN HECKE & Tania ZGAJEWSKI3
1. To get a overview of these threats, see the 2004 report entitled Impact of climate change in Belgium by the Université Catholique de Louvain. This report analyses the potential impact of climate change in Belgium. Although the report finds that the initial impact of global warming would be relatively limited in Belgium, the identified possible consequences are worrying. Belgium would be confronted with an increased risk of flooding, a heavily affected coastal area, less biodiversity and considerable health risks. The summary in English is available from 2. One must emphasize that it is impossible to mention all initiatives taken at all levels. For example, as CO2 is the main source of difficulty in Belgium, some initiatives regarding other GHG gases than CO2 are sometimes not mentioned in this paper. 3. Karel VAN HECKE is Research Fellow at EGMONT – The Royal Institute for International Relations and Tania ZGAJEWSKI is Director of HERA and Senior researcher at the University of Liège. This comment does not in any way represent a position of the institutions to which they belong. The authors thank Professor Franklin DEHOUSSE for his observations.
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