Annex to Belgian historical emissions, NECP and 1.5°C scenarios
What does IPCC says about staying under 1.5°C and what does it means for global and Belgian emissions?
Belgium has ratified the Paris Agreement, which has entered into force on May the 6th 2017 for our country. Parties to the Paris Agreement have engaged to “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change” (PA - Article 2).
Fixing this target of 1.5 °C, Parties have also mandated the IPCC to do a special report on a 1.5 °C warming, which was published in October 2018. Several useful numbers are contained in this IPCC report, that gives indications of the emissions reductions needed in order to stay below 1.5 °C of warming (IPCC SR15, Tables 2.4 and 2.2, SPM C.1.3) :
- Global GHG emissions should be down to around 22.1 GtCO2e in 2030, which is a 50% reduction from their 2010 level. The World should reach global net zero GHG emissions around the 2060 decade.
- Global CO2 emissions should be down to around 13.4 GtCO2 in 2030, which is a 65% reduction from their 2010 level. The World should reach global net zero CO2 emissions around the 2040 decade.
- In order to have 2 chances out of 3 to remain under 1.5 °C, global cumulative CO2 emissions from 2018 onwards should not exceed 420 to 570 GtCO2.
Taking into account common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of countries, as decided in the Paris Agreement, developped countries should reduce their emissions faster than developping ones.
This means that striving for 1.5 °C, Belgium and Europe should aim towards net zero GHG emissions around 2050 and net zero CO2 emissions around 2040.
The global carbon budget of 420 to 570 GtCO2 can be divided between countries. Considering an equal share per capita (population basis), this leads to a remaining budget of 630 to 850 MtCO2 for Belgium from 2018 onwards (6 to 9 times of our current yearly CO2 emissions). Considering a repartition according to current emissions (countries with more polluting infrastructure get a bigger share to avoid being more subject to stranded assets), this leads to a remaining budget of 990 to 1340 MtCO2 for Belgium from 2018 onwards (10 to 14 times of our current yearly CO2 emissions). These numbers illustrate the size and speed of the changes that are needed to remain under 1.5°C of warming. They do not take into account historical responsibility or equity from a development perspective.
For illustration purpose, linear reduction fof CO2 and other GHG emissions from 2018 levels to net zero in 2040 and 2050 respectively are plotted in graph 1 below. In this 1.5 °C scenario, cumulative CO2 emissions in Beglium from 2018 to 2040 amounts to around 1000 MtCO2, which is in the (high end of the) range discussed above for the Belgian share of the global carbon budget.
Graph 1 : Belgian emissions in the NECP scenario and in a 1.5°C scenario
In addition to territorial emissions that are considered in the UNFCCC process, Belgian policy needs to pay attention to emissions related to imported goods, and should aim to reduce the total carbon footprint of Belgian consumption to zero around 2050.
 These two numbers reflect two different approaches on estimating the global mean surface temperature, as detailed in the IPCC report.
 In 2017, Belgium accounts for 0,15% of the World population and 0,24% of global CO2 emissions.