Climate expert: agreement means more electric cars, fewer coal plants

Environmental experts believe that the Dutch population will soon start noticing effects of the agreements reached at the climate summit. These effects will include the closure of coal plants, more electric cars, even more solar panels and less dependence on fossil fuels.

On Saturday world leaders signed the equal and legally binding agreement that global warming will be limited to less than 2 degrees Celsius, with a clear view on 1.5 degrees Celsius. The agreement takes effect in 2020. State Secretary Sharon Dijksma of Infrastructure and Environment called Saturday a day for "writing green history". "Today a great achievement was made by closing a legally binding climate agreement for all countries. We have done our children and grandchildren a great service", she said on Saturday.

Greenpeace is very positive about the "historic" agreement, but thinks that the Netherlands has a big job in front of it if the agreements are to be reached. According to Faiza Oulahsen, climate and energy campaign manager at the environmental organization, the Netherlands is still far behind on reaching agreements made in the previous climate agreement signed in Copenhagen two years ago. "And in the current climate agreement we must stay below 1.5 degrees. That means we have to get to work", Oulahsen said to BNR. That means reducing CO2 emissions to zero by the middle of this century. "Then you have to think of measures like closing all coal plants by 202, but also insulating buildings such as schools, offices and homes. And moving over to electric driving as quickly as possible."

Tjerk Wagenaar, director of Natuur & Milieu, thinks that exciting environmental measures will be taken in the next 18 months. "This gives the closure of coal plants a big push", he said to broadcaster NOS. "Europe has plans to close most of the 280 coal plants within five years. This will also have consequences for the Netherlands." In addition to that, the climate agreement will also boost the greening of taxes - non-green business will pay more for production, which will lead to more expensive products from those companies. And even more of the Dutch roofs will be covered with solar panels. "The price is now so low. You ca assume that in 10 years solar panels will standardly be installed in renovation and new constructions."

Marjan Minnesma of foundation Urgenda, which won a lawsuit against the Dutch government for not doing enough to reduce CO2 emissions earlier this year, thinks that to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, the Netherlands will have to stop using fossil fuels within the next 20 years. It will also mean going over to electric cars and installing more wind turbines, she said to NOS.