Greenhouse gas emissions

  • Greenhouse gas emissions decrease between 2005 and 2018

    The total greenhouse gas emissions decreased in the Flemish Region between 2005 and 2018 by an average of 1 megaton (Mton) CO2 equivalents per year.

    Yet the recent results show that this trend is still very fragile. In the period 2015-2018 the  total greenhouse gas emissions  seemed to stabilise in the Flemish Region with even a slight increase of 0.16 Mton between 2017 and 2018. Weather dependence also remains important: in colder winters, CO2 emissions as a result of the heating of buildings increase each time.

    The total emissions can be divided into emissions that are regulated by means of the European Emission Trading System (ETS) and the emissions that do not fall under this system (non-ETS).

    The ETS emissions largely concern CO2 emissions in industry and the energy sector. Over 40% of Flemish greenhouse gas emissions come under the ETS. In the European Union, ETS greenhouse gas emissions should be 21% below 2005 levels by 2020, and 43% below 2005 levels by 2030. This ETS target only applies to all European ETS emissions and is not further divided at Member State level.

    The EU Member States must also reduce their non-ETS emissions between 2013 and 2020 according to a linearly decreasing path with annual reduction targets. These are largely emissions from transport, households, trade and services, agriculture and some parts of the industry and energy sectors. Slightly less than 60% of Flemish greenhouse gas emissions are non-ETS emissions. The Flemish Region has committed itself to reduce non-ETS emissions by 15.7% by 2020 in comparison with 2005. Flemish non-ETS emissions hardly decreased in the period 2013-2018 (-0.9%). At first those emissions were still below the path of the non-ETS target, but since 2016 the non-ETS emissions have been above the predetermined path.


Flemish Environment Agency (VMM): Environmental report (MIRA), greenhouse gas 


European Emission Trading System (ETS): part of the European climate policy. System according to which installations must submit one emission allowance for each ton of CO2 emissions. The total number of emission allowances is limited, but installations are free to exchange these allowances with each other. Since the number of available emission allowances decreases each year, the market is characterised by scarcity. Installations are thus put before the choice: either reduce emissions or purchase emission allowances. Emissions from the energy and industry sectors in particular come under the ETS system. 

Publication date

26 January 2021

Next update

August 2021

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