The “flat country” paid homage to by native singer Jacques Brel is in reality a country of many contrasts. Brussels is home to the European Commission. The national territory of 30,513 km² is divided into three federal regions: the Flemish, Walloon, and Brussels-Capital regions. Although the government is hesitant to create a ministry for climate affairs, it is debating constitutional reforms that would reflect sustainable development concerns.
A landfill ban on household waste went into effect in January 2008; however some municipalities, faced with no alternative, are likely to violate the ban. Although incineration of household waste is now compulsory, provinces without appropriate incineration facilities are faced with the problem of transporting waste.
Energy: currently, green energy sources account for only 2% of domestic consumption. It seems highly unlikely, therefore, that Belgium will reach its stated goal of raising that figure to 6% by 2010.
To supply 57% of its electricity needs, Belgium relies on two nuclear power plants, one in Doel (with four working reactors) and another in Tihange (three reactors). These plants have a life expectancy of 30 years; the prospect of extending that life expectancy, for a projected decommissioning date between 2015 and 2025, raises concerns in more than one quarter.
Inspired by Nicolas Hulot’s movement in France, the Belgian ecological pact assembles a considerable number of Belgian environmental organisations. Inter-environnement Wallonie is another federation of 145 French-speaking environmental associations.