Expatica news

Flemish lecturer to head European Environment Agency

Hans Bruyninckx 48, a renowned environmental political scientist, becomes the head of the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen. Leaving his post as chief lecturer in international relations at the Louvain University, his expertise is primarily international environmental policy. He will also resign from his position as president of the Flemish environmental umbrella organisation Bond Beter Leefmilieu, in March next year. Bruyninckx describes the European Environment Agency as an interface between knowledge and data collection on the one hand and the European climate and sustainable development policy on the other hand. “Data on environmental quality is collected from 33 countries and linked to European objectives. The European environmental policy is evaluated and innovative options explored.” His role will be aligned with the basic objectives of the European policy. Says Bruyninckx: “We must work towards a low-carbon society with a complete shift from our current energy and transport modes, while aspiring to a recycling economy that is less careless about the world’s limited resources. Europe has already set out the routes until 2050 and currently is a global leader in this field.” He further states that Belgium and Flanders are undisputed leaders in the field of waste prevention and recycling, with ‘an exceptionally innovative’ recycling economy. On the other hand the air quality in urban areas is much lower than in some other countries. He lauds the recent suggestion that Belgium could run entirely on green energy in 2050, saying: “It’s a highly innovative mindset, which would require a fundamental change in our lifestyle. And yes, it will be costly. But after a while a shift like this will also have tremendous benefits as we will be entirely independent from very expensive oil, gas and coal, as you well know. And let us not forget about the high cost of the accelerated effects of climate change on our weather patterns.”