Set sustainability goals down in law: Dutch politicians

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Put environmental goals down in the law, reduce gas extraction in Groningen to almost zero, implement a road tax based on kilometers and emissions, ban the sale of fossil-fueled vehicles after 2025 and close all the coal plants in the Netherlands, the environmental committees of six political parties write in a proposal for the climate portion of the governance agreement, the Volkskrant reports. 

The parties - the four currently negotiating forming a government together VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks, plus PvdA and ChristenUnie - submitted their proposal on Tuesday. "Intended as input for the government agreement 2017 - 2021", according to the newspaper.

The plans also include a 10 billion euros fund for start capital to stimulate sustainable use of materials and energy savings. Windmills on land and sea to create 2 gigawatts of energy, enough for 2 million households. Heating homes by using residual and geothermal heat in combination with heat storage, solar water heaters and heat insulation. And putting the government, not the market, in charge of making sure that all environmental goals are achieved. 

The parties also want to formulate climate goals more clearly than in the Paris climate agreement. For example, they want a climate law that orders 2 or 3 percent energy savings per year and that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 25 percent in 2020 compared to the levels in 1990, 40 percent by 2030 and 95 percent by 2050. 

"They do not have to negotiate about the climate, we've already done that", Gijs Droge (VVD) said on behalf of the parties. The six party consultation club, united under the name Dopp, have been making joint sustainability proposals since 2008. They have no doubt that "the future cabinet must give sustainability the top priority."

The proposal was received by Ed Nijpels (VVD), the chairman of the commission responsible for ensuring that sustainability goals set in the Energy Agreement are reached. "Together they have enough [parliamentary] seats to change the Constitution", Nijpels said to the Volkskrant. "This is a very special and obvious signal to the formation. The government must indeed take charge."

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