‘Transport sector hinders Belgium to achieve climate targets’

Belgium will probably not achieve the agreed European environmental targets for CO2 emissions and green energy, although there are differences per sector. The transport sector, in particular, is finding it difficult to transition away from fossil fuels. These are the conclusions of research by the Federal Planning Bureau.

The European Commission imposes targets for 2030 on each Member State for greenhouse gas emission reductions and renewable energy. Europe should become climate-neutral by 2050.

Belgium, for example, must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 47% by 2030 compared to 2005. However, calculations by the Planning Bureau show that the reduction in our country will probably remain at 32% by then due to differences in sectors.

Fossil fuels

The residential and services sectors would easily achieve that interim target by 54% and 62%, respectively, but freight transport, in particular, appears to have great difficulty switching away from fossil fuels.

Even in the passenger transport sector, it will become difficult since the European ban on selling cars with a combustion engine will not come into effect until 2035. Therefore, the transport sector will require special attention, especially vehicle fleet electrification.

Higher energy prices

Belgium must make significant efforts to bring its share of renewable energy to the desired level. Significant investments will need to be made in alternative technologies to complete the transition. As a result, the Planning Bureau predicts that energy prices will “increase significantly” for households and the service sector until 2030.

The Planning Bureau predicts that emissions in Belgium will decrease less rapidly by 2050. One explanation for this lies in the delayed carbon phasing out of industry and electricity producers: in 2050, these sectors will still significantly use fossil fuels.

Challenge

According to current European targets, Belgium’s share of renewable energy must increase to at least 34% by 2030, but, according to the projected evolution, it would remain at 24%. The costs of the energy transition will increase significantly until 2030 (due to investments in alternative technologies) and will decrease again after 2030.

For industry, the share of energy costs in total costs will double by 2030. “The challenge is particularly great in the metal industry, chemicals, and the minerals sector,” says the Planning Bureau. “The high costs could encourage industrial companies to move to other regions where energy is much less expensive,” the Bureau concludes.

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