Dutch professors call for €200 billion investment in sustainability

greenhouse gas emissions Frank J. (Frank John) Aleksandrowicz Wikimedia commons

Ninety Dutch professors called on the new government to invest 200 billion euros into sustainability in the coming decades, in an open letter published in Trouw on Monday. With this money the Netherlands can build new, smart infrastructure for green energy, sustainable water supply and climate-conscious mobility, according to the professors.

The professors made 12 recommendations on how the Netherlands can improve sustainability. These include closing all coal-fired power plants within three years, introducing a mileage charge for motorists, pushing more money into making housing more climate-neutral and appointing a separate Minister for Energy and climate. 

Following these recommendations could make the Netherlands the European leader in sustainable economies, the professors write. "If the Netherlands does not invest on a large scale, it misses the boat with respect to other countries", the letter reads. "The Netherlands is still deeply rooted in the fossil economy. The Netherlands still bungles at the bottom of the European rankings when it comes to renewable energy. Only long-term effort, based on a consistent combination of vision, strategy and action, can change this. That requires courage and leadership."

The signatories admit that their plan will require a financial investment from all Dutch. "But it also produces a lot: employment opportunities, innovation and a new economic perspective." A recent study commissioned by Milieudefensie - the Dutch Friends of the Earth -  showed that the poorest households in the Netherlands pay relatively the most on the current climate policy.

The letter was initiated by Professor Jan Rotmans of the Erasmus University. He is also one of the founders of environmental organization Urgenda, which won a ground breaking lawsuit last year. The court in The Hague ruled that the Netherlands is not doing enough to combat greenhouse gas emissions and ordered the government to reduce emissions by 25 percent by 2020, compared with 1990.


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