Dutch National Climate Agreement

The Dutch government believes that public and social support is essential for the success of climate policy and for helping citizens to take climate action themselves. For example, it financially supports the reduction of household energy consumption. To combat climate change, the Dutch government wants to reduce the Netherlands` greenhouse gas emissions by 49% by 2030 compared to 1990 and by 95% by 2050. These objectives are defined in the Climate Law of 28 May 2019. The Climate Plan, the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) and the National Climate Agreement set out the policies and measures to be taken to achieve these climate goals. Perhaps it is thanks to the coronavirus crisis that the government has done so. Compared to the spending programs put in place in response to the pandemic, a climate program that would be huge any other year now seems weak and hasn`t attracted much attention. On 28 June 2019, the Dutch government presented the new climate agreement (climate agreement). It contains a number of measures developed in consultation with different parts of Dutch society in the common fight against climate change. The climate agreement aims to reduce CO2 emissions in the Netherlands by setting a national target of reducing it by 49% by 2030 compared to 1990. The Climate Act aims to strengthen the safety of individuals and businesses in the Netherlands in relation to climate goals. Under the Climate Act, the government is required to draw up a climate plan that sets out measures to ensure that the objectives set by the law are met.

The national climate agreement contains agreements with sectors on what they will do to achieve these climate goals. There are more than 1,500 climate complaints that are either completed or ongoing, including similar cases in Ireland and Norway, but this is by far the most successful to date. Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, says the Dutch case is “the strongest climate change decision ever made by a court” and the only one to have imposed government policy. The midst of a public health crisis may seem like a strange time to make new climate commitments, but the Dutch government had little choice. A lawsuit launched in 2014 by environmental groups and upheld last year by the Supreme Court forced the government to act to reduce emissions by 25 percent below their 1990 level by the end of 2020 at the latest. It is the protection of the climate under extreme constraint. Last month, the Dutch government announced a bold set of climate policies aimed at reducing annual carbon emissions by nearly 10 megatonnes, comparable to Latvia`s annual production. The crisis has also given the government some leeway in implementing the policy. Emissions for 2020 will be significantly reduced if so much economic activity is suspended. Pieter Boot, the climate chief at the Dutch Environment Agency, estimates that even a small lockdown could remove more than 5m from the annual total. The Dutch climate agreement, presented in the summer of 2019, was the result of cooperation between industry, the energy sector, trade unions, environmental groups and citizens` groups. .

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