NL won't achieve climate goals even in most favorable scenario: Planning office
The Netherlands is still not on track to achieve its climate goals for the coming years. On the eve of the climate summit in Glasgow, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) calculated that the current plans will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 38 and 48 percent by 2030 compared to 1990. The Climate Act states that emissions must be reduced by 49 percent by that year.
Even in the most favorable scenario, therefore, emissions will not decrease enough. The PBL warns that practice is often unruly and that it "cannot be counted on in advance" that the many uncertainties will all be beneficial. All in all, the Netherlands faces a "major task."
The Climate and Energy Outlook (KEV) is more favorable than in last year's edition. This is mainly because plans that were still too vague to be calculated in the previous year have now been worked out concretely. The figures may improve further once the Cabinet's latest climate plans have been calculated. In next year's Budget, the Cabinet set aside an extra 6.8 billion euros for climate policy. Due to lack of time, the PBL could not include the effects of this in this analysis.
In its annual report, the planning office also stated that the emission reductions imposed by the court would be endangered again in the coming years. In the Urgenda case, the judge ruled that the government had to decrease emissions by at least 25 percent by 2020. That target was achieved or just not reached. The PBL reported a reduction of 24 to 26 percent based on preliminary figures. The final figure will follow early next year.
This year, however, emissions are rising again. This is partly because the economy has rebounded after the coronavirus dip. In addition, it was relatively cold at the start of this year, resulting in more energy consumption. If all goes well, emissions this year will be 24.5 percent lower than in 1990. If things do not go well, emissions this year will only be 19 percent lower than in 1990.
The risk that the Urgenda target will be exceeded will exist up to and including 2025, according to the planning office. That is problematic because the court ruling is not without obligation. For the Supreme Court, combating climate change is a human rights issue. After all, global warming is endangering human lives, the judges reasoned.
Incidentally, the target from the Climate Act does not go as far as the increased target of the European Union. The EU as a whole should reduce CO2 emissions by 55 percent by 2030. That too will present a "significant extra task" for the Netherlands, the PBL noted previously.
The caretaker Cabinet believes that it has made "great progress" in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But it also recognizes that more measures are needed to achieve the goals of the Climate Act. This is stated in the Climate Memorandum that State Secretary Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius presented to parliament.
In the Climate Memorandum, the government accounts for the progress of its climate policy and looks ahead at the priorities for the coming years. However, it left much to the new Cabinet, which is currently being negotiated by the four current coalition parties: VVD, D66, CDA, and ChristenUnie.
Reporting by ANP.