The Netherlands faces pressure as global ‘test case’ for deep emissions cuts in 2020

Posted: February 29, 2020 by oldbrew in Emissions, Energy, government, ideology, Legal
Tags: , ,

They are up against it. Governments are now finding themselves increasingly boxed in by their own climate ideology. From the report below:
Richard Tol, professor of the economics of climate change at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, said it is “highly unlikely” that the Netherlands will rise to the challenge, saying a [extra] 10% emissions reduction by the end of 2020 would “require shutting down a substantial part of the economy”.

But what options are there? Nuclear power is unpopular and can’t be built quickly anyway, while wind and solar power are part-time, intermittent, and relatively expensive. No viable ‘off-the-shelf’ way exists to store electricity on a massive scale. Awkward.
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The Netherlands is under pressure to slash emissions in sectors such as power generation and agriculture in 2020 after a ruling by a top court made the government a reluctant ‘test case’ for tougher global climate policies, says Climate Home News.

The government of conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte is working out new measures after the Dutch Supreme Court in December ordered it to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the end of 2020, compared with 1990 levels, as its fair share to combat climate change.

It is a daunting task – latest official figures showed only a 15% drop on 1990 levels by the end of 2018, meaning sharp cuts will be needed in an economy where major emission sources are manufacturing, energy generation, transport and agriculture.

The case marked the end of a six-year legal battle by the non-profit Urgenda Foundation and was seen as a landmark moment for climate justice. UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment David Boyd called it the “most important climate change court decision in the world so far”.

The Supreme Court stressed that the Dutch government and parliament had a great deal of freedom to choose how to meet the 2020 goal. At 12 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person in 2017, Dutch emissions per capita are one of the highest in the EU and have barely fallen over the past decade.

“It really is a test case for very rapid emission reductions,” said Christiana Figueres, an architect of the 2015 Paris Agreement and former head of the UN climate change secretariat. “Of course the Netherlands is actually quite vulnerable because quite a lot of the territory is below sea level. This is in their interest to do so.”

Figueres said other governments will be watching, even if they are not under the same legal pressure, because they are likely to have to take similar radical action if they are serious about limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C – the tougher goal of the Paris Agreement.

Full report here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    The Netherlands is under pressure to slash emissions in sectors such as power generation and agriculture in 2020

    Reducing electricity supplies and telling farmers to cut output don’t look like good policies for any government.

  2. Adam Gallon says:

    The chickens are coming home to roost.
    We see our governments, who happily signed up to this, thinking that it meant nothing, the can could be kicked down the road, so another government, of a different colour, have to deal with the promises. Are facing the real facts themselves.
    Finding out reality, that “Renewables” can’t power modern societies, that farming needs machinery, fertilisers & produces waste products.

  3. Ron Clutz says:

    A year ago Karel Beckman wrote in Natural Gas World The Flaws in Dutch Climate Policy. Some excerpts:

    “From this point on there are still many different roads into the future. The Dutch example is instructive because we are talking about a wealthy, urban, industrialised country – a self-proclaimed climate leader within the European Union. A country moreover that has decided to phase out the use of “unabated” natural gas for the sake of the climate. Yet its climate policies for cutting greenhouse gas emissions are full of flaws.”

    1. The cost of climate policies: anyone’s guess

    2. The poor will pay

    3. The built environment: minimal results

    4. Waterbed effects: cutting carbon emissions in one place means they can rise elsewhere, unless the cap comes down.

    5. Biomass: what is it good for?

    6. Jobs: no renewables job growth

    7. In the end: coming up short

    Beckman’s paper is here:

    My synopsis is:

  4. At KNMI they listened to Dr Noor Van Andel but did nothing to change direction
    Noor Van Andel impresses KNMI greenhouse physics
    14th Sept 2010
    Last Thursday was the speaker at the weekly colloqium Dr. KNMI. Ir. Noor van Andel, who was one of the few on earth (!!!) intensively studying the fundamental workings of the greenhouse effect, and correspondingly the expected effect of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
    Here are enthusiastic response at the end:
    My talk yesterday for the Dutch Meteorological Institute was a great success. There were 10% more than attendants Their Largest conference room seated Could containerization, the interruptive discussion was intense and emotional moment Sometimes, but always correct, Hein Haak Because His power wielded efficiently to keep it that way.
    KNMI directors Hein Haak and Remco den Besten invited me to write or come to KNMI Whenever I wanted, get the support from Their specialists when i needed it in order to continue the discussion started yesterday That Was. Very nice, and very Dutch.
    Maybe also Dutch to do nothing.

  5. DB says:

    The coronavirus may play a role. The Chinese PMI for February was lower than 2008….

  6. oldbrew says:

    Climate paranoia kills coal…

    The Netherlands has five coal-fired plants. Three new coal-fired plants were opened from 2015-2016, two in the Maasvlakte and one in the Eemshaven last year. At the same time three old plants were closed down

    Now these ‘new’ plants are already doomed.

  7. Stephen Richards says:

    Rutte is not conservative. He stole Wilder’s policies to get back into power. He is a neoliberal marxist globalist. If he could lose this court case it would please him because it gives him the excuse he needs to do what he wants

  8. dennisambler says:

    Rutte is not conservative.

    Sounds like Boris…

  9. Phoenix44 says:

    The farmers are already on the verge of revolt. They will simply not accept going out of business for this madness. But the silver lining is that the sooner these fantasies meet reality, the sooner we can move away from these extremist targets.

  10. dennisambler says:

    Netherlands, like the UK is “tackling climate change”. China produces 28.2 million tonnes CO2 PER DAY, Netherlands 162 million PER YEAR. China replaces Dutch emissions in just under 6 days, UK just over 13 days. China is on target (until Covid-19) to produce a further 2.5 billion tonnes by 2030.

  11. dscott says:

    While they sit in the dark arguing over how green they are, why not make your own electricity with a residential fuel cell generator. Honestly, why leave your fate in the hands of idiots?

    It must be embarrassing for European politicians to out smarted by market based approaches. Even if you actually believed the nonsense of man made global warming, you must have a bridge technological approach that helps transition to zero carbon emissions. That bridge is natural gas. This is why the US has met it’s Kyoto goals without even trying, we rejected your approach 97 to 0.

    European politicians should consider the following: Incompetence is not a qualification for leadership and virtue signalling is not a substitute for a successful plan.

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