On November 9, 2021, Flemish newspaper “De Morgen” published an article titled “Belgium loses more terrain on climate index: 49th place between Belarus and Slovenia.” Does Belgium really perform that bad in the Climate Change Performance Index compared to other European countries? Yes, it does.
What is the CCPI?
The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) is a monitoring tool for looking at the climate protection performance of countries. The CCPI measures the efforts made by 60 countries and the European Union on how they try to preserve the climate. These countries collectively are responsible for 92% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. The results are being evaluated by 400 experts of the respective countries.
How is the CCPI calculated?
The Climate Change Performance is calculated using 80% quantitative data from internationally recognized institutions, the other 20% is based on the CCPI’s unique climate policy section. This data gets transferred into four categories and fourteen sub-categories. The four categories are global greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy. This way the Climate Change Performance delivers a comprehensive and balanced evaluation of the countries that are being compared.
Why does Belgium perform so bad?
Belgium dropped 9 places in the ranking to become 49th on the Climate Change Performance Index, they just perform better than countries like Poland who still mine for lignite (a very harmful, non-reusable coal, used as fuel source) and Hungary who are not following the terms that are being set by the European Union. Belgium performs worse than the likes of China (place 38), one of the biggest industrial countries in the world. Belgium is also miles away from their neighboring countries France, the Netherlands and Germany, who are in the top 20.
But why does Belgium perform so bad according to the climate change performance index? In all of the categories Belgium performs very bad. In the categories GHG emissions, renewable energy and climate policy, Belgium received a low score. In the category energy use Belgium got a very low score, in this category Belgium dropped 13 places thus they are in the lowest 10 in this category. The spokesperson of WWF Belgium is very strict for Belgium. “Only in 2020 the emissions of Belgium dropped due to the corona lockdowns. We now see that there is no further drop in emissions. There need to be structural changes to perform better, but if we watch our neighboring countries, our climate policy is seriously underdeveloped.”
The government of Belgium made a few new rules to suppress the further downfall and to perform better on the CCPI, but Belgium’s overall climate ambition is being held back. The European Union endorsed Belgium to perform better and to make a plan to improve Belgium’s climate action. The European Commission thought the plan was not good enough and said the ambition of Belgium’s plan lack reforms towards a better climate policy. According to WWF Belgium this is indeed true. “Belgium performs a lot worse than neighboring countries and is a lot less ambitious. One of the biggest examples is the wish to become climate neutral. Germany wants to be climate neutral in 2045 while Belgium only wants to drop emissions with 45%.”
Experts of the Climate Change Performance Index note some signs of improvement in Belgium’s transport sector. With more investments in public transport and projects to improve offshore wind power. WWF Belgium confirms this. “Belgium has promised to build a windmill park in the North Sea. This way Belgium will produce three times as much power as they produce today. We will also buy more green power from Denmark.” This would mean Belgium would get a better score on the Climate Change Performance Index since they perform the worst in the energy categories. Even though there seem to be possible changes in the future the experts are concerned that concrete political changes will be made since they have been lacking so far. This is also reflected in the low rating Belgium has in the Climate Policy category.
The claim that Belgium performs bad in the CCPI is true. The Climate Change Performance Index is a respected benchmark when it comes to the performance of climate change control of countries. Bond Beter Leefmilieu, Greenpeace, Inter-Environment Wallonie & WWF all respect the CCPI and express their concerns to the poor performance of Belgium on the Climate Change Performance Index.
RESEARCH | ARTICLE © Lennert Jeursen, AP University College Antwerp, Belgium
Leave your comments, thoughts and suggestions in the box below. Take note: your response is moderated.