Europe must be more ambitious in reducing emissions: Dutch PM

Mark Rutte, January 2016
Mark Rutte, January 2016Photo: EU2016 NL / Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Mark Rutte called on the government leaders in Europe to be more ambitious in reducing their countries' CO2 emissions, wile speaking at the climate summit in Poland. In the Rutte III coalition agreement the Dutch government agreed to lower emissions by 49 percent by 2030. The government wants to increase that to 55 percent and Rutte called on other European countries to set the same goal, NOS reports.

In his speech Rutte also emphasized that over the coming two weeks agreements must be made to hold everyone to the promise made in Paris to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. He also wants a serious attempt made to limit the increase to a maximum of 1.5 degrees.

Speaking to the press, Rutte said that he does not expect that the Netherlands will resist expensive measures to meet the climate target, as is currently happening in France with the yellow vests protests. "Then a typically Dutch approach again comes into play: we are always very ambitious, but we also have the habit of many people talking to each other so that society as a whole can experience such a journey", he said, according to NOS. 

The Prime Minister thinks that a climate agreement may be made in the Netherlands before Christmas. "We still think that's possible. The most important thing is that you talk to all those involved about it so that the whole society knows: we can make such a change without suddenly facing weird expenses. Because people really feel that it is necessary. There is a lot of support for dealing with the environmental problems."

According to Rutte, the Dutch government is focused on two paths - firstly to prevent the seal levels rising further by reducing CO2 emissions, and secondly making adjustments to compensate for the consequences of a slight sea level rise. "God made the world and the Dutch made the Netherlands", the Dutch Prime Minister said. "We created that beautiful country from the river delta, which was completely under water. I really think it is the most beautiful country in the world. We will work together to keep the CO2 emissions under control, but also make adjustments to keep this country afloat with a small increase in seal level."