Dutch election promises ditch Paris Agreement climate targets

Thorntonbank Wind Farm off the Belgium coast (photo: Hans Hillewaert / Wikimedia commons) . ()

Not a single political party in the Netherlands managed to go far enough in their election promises on the environment to reach the climate target set in the , the Volkskrant reports based on its own analysis of the election campaigns of the Dutch parties. Even where programs embrace the Paris targets, their intentions fall short, according to the newspaper.

The Paris Agreement states that global warning must be limited to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius, but also that all countries must do their best to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees. According to the Volkskrant, some parties added the 2 degrees goal to their campaigns. A few even mention the 1.5 degrees goal, but no measures to put that goal within reach.

The Netherlands' environmental assessment agency PBL calculated that to meet the 2 degrees target, greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by 96 percent in 2050 and should already be down 40 percent by 2030. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, the Netherlands needs to reduce its emissions to 47 percent in 2030 and by more than 100 percent in 2050. With the government's current policy, emissions will be reduced by around 12 percent in 2030, according to the newspaper. 

Greenpeace also asked the New Climate Initiative to calculate what will be needed for the Netherlands to reach the Paris Agreement goals. According to that study, all electricity should come from renewable sources by 2025, all coal power stations should be closed in 2020, all cars should be zero-emission by 2025, all heating must be emission free by 2035 and agriculture must stop emitting CO2 by no later than 2035. 

The Paris Agreement was welcomed by all parties left of the PVV, albeit with varying degrees of enthusiasm, when it was made in December last year. Yet despite this, even the green parties in the Netherlands, like GroenLinks and PvdA, are almost exclusively concerned with only meeting the two degree target. The 1.5 degree target is mentioned occasionally, but no party set reasonable goals to reach that target. 

Seven parties are promising that the Netherlands will be climate neutral by 2050. But according to Joris Wijnhoven of Greenpeace, that is no reason to be impressed. "Goals set for 2050 is tantalizingly far away. Without intermediate targets for 2030 for example you can't do much. That's a bit of free politics."

Animal party PvdD is the only party to go further - climate neutral by 2040, with 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 65 percent by 2030. "They're not going to make it", Wijnhoven said to the newspaper. "They rule out digestion of manure and only want windmills with no negative effects on animals and nature. With such limitations you will never make it. In Utrecht they recently opposed the construction of a biomass plant." 

To see what each party wrote in the climate part of the election campaigns, visit the Volkskrant .

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