Tegengas Dégaze opposes the expansion of fossil gas and nuclear energy in Belgium. Both fossil gas and nuclear energy are dangerous, outdated and undemocratic energy sources which continue fuelling an unjust and destructive economic system. The time is now for a politics of climate justice. We struggle for a just transition to a low-energy society that serves the needs of all within planetary boundaries.
Therefore, we demand:
1. A full and unconditional nuclear exit by 2025
A life time extension for nuclear reactors Doel 4 and Tihange 3 beyond the legally planned exit in 2025 is not only practically unfeasible, but also undesirable. We campaign against nuclear energy, as it is undemocratic, maintaining energy production in the hands of the few, not the many. Risks of nuclear accidents remain and there is no solution for the management of radio-active waste. Importantly, nuclear is not renewable, but depends on continuous mining of uranium. These neo-colonial supply chains cause unacceptable harm to marginalised communities in the Global South.
2. An end to subsidies for fossil infrastructure
Engie-Electrabel is already Belgium’s most polluting company. Still, Engie will receive almost €1 billion (!) in subsidies to build two new, fossil gas-fired power plants. Paying the polluters to destroy our livelihoods even further, that is not only fundamentally unjust, it is absurd. This does not only force households to pay for constructing Engie’s gas plants, it also locks them into a future of ridiculously high electricity prices, like the winter of 2022 showed.
As internationally agreed at COP26 and elsewhere, fossil fuel subsidies must be phased down, not ratcheted up. Or, as Greta says it: ‘Anything less than immediately ceasing these investments in the fossil fuel industry would be a betrayal of life itself’.
3. A halt to the construction of new fossil gas power plants
The colonisation of the atmoshophere has to stop. Staying within a fair and realistic carbon budget for 1.5°C, implies Belgium needs to bring down nearly all its emissions within ten years the latest. The science is clear on this: building new fossil gas plants now, with a lifetime of at least 25 years, locks us in for climate disaster.
Moreover, most of these new fossil gas plants are planned in regions that already suffered extensively from water and air pollution in the past. The gas plants’ emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ammoniac will further degrade poor air quality and excessive nitrogen depositions in the affected regions, such as around Vilvoorde and in the Meuse valley around Liège.
4. A just transition to a flourishing, low-energy society
Enough is enough. We strive for a society using significantly less energy to live well within safe planetary boundaries, making new fossil gas capacity and a nuclear life time extension superfluous.
Ever more, it becomes clear that scenarios of low energy demand, cutting excessive energy use from destructive industrial activities and needless overconsumption provide the best odds to tackle the climate crisis.
The cheapest and cleanest energy is of course the one that does not need to be produced nor consumed.
Through strong and socially just climate policies, reductions of overall energy demand can improve social equality and quality of life for all, as well as reduce energy poverty. We need a clean and affordable energy system, managed as common good. It should be designed to meet genuine needs sufficiently, rather than endlessly fuelling private profit.
We need enforceable limits on (peak and total) energy use in energy-intensive and environmentally harmful sectors of industry, combined with strong and well-negotiated social accomodations such as a work time reduction and increased paid leave. Instead of prioritising high-energy policies for the priviliged like subsidizing individual, electric cars, we need universal basic services such as well-insulated, affordable housing and a reinforced public transport.