Dutch politics need to wake up and deal with climate crisis: Council of State
The Council of State called on the Cabinet to take additional measures "urgently" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is "irresponsible" that the objectives of the Climate Act are "disappearing out of sight," according to the most important adviser to the Cabinet and parliament.
"The climate crisis is not something of the future. It is already well underway," warned vice-president Thom de Graaff of the Council of State. "And that should have awakened parliament and the government long ago."
He pointed to a recent UN climate panel IPCC report, which warned that the earth is warming faster than previously thought. According to the Council of State, floods in Limburg this past summer underline climate change already being felt in the Netherlands.
The Climate Act stipulates that emissions of greenhouse gasses, including carbon dioxide (CO2), must be reduced by almost half by 2030 compared to 1990 and by 95 percent by 2050. The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) calculated that the 2030 target would not be achieved under the current policy even in the best case scenario.
That is "serious and worrying," said De Graaf. The Cabinet may be ruling in a caretaker capacity, but the Climate Act still binds it. It was drawn up precisely to ensure that steps are continuously taken towards the climate objectives, even if the changing of the guard takes longer than hoped, as is currently the case.
The Council of State also believes that the Climate Act should be made stricter. Partly at the insistence of the Netherlands, the European Union agreed that emissions must be reduced by 55 percent by 2030. According to De Graaf, it would be "very strange" if the Netherlands itself did not go along with that.
The target for 2030 should also become a "hard result" obligation. The current goal of 49 percent is only a "best efforts" obligation. The Council of State also advocates formulating an interim target for 2040.
The Council of State also has recommendations for the parties at the Cabinet formation table. A separate Minister must be appointed in the next Cabinet who bears the responsibility for the entire climate policy. The climate policy is now part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate.