Sunday, September 25, 2016

Netherlands parliament increases climate targets: 25 percent by 2020, 55 percent by 2030



The Netherlands parliament, in a non-binding vote, decided to increase their countries emission reduction targets to 25 percent by 2020 and 55 percent by 2030. This will almost certainly require the shut down of the 5 remaining coal fired power stations to achieve these targets.

These targets align the Netherlands with the temperature goals articulated in the Paris Agreement that were formulated and agreed to at COP21 last year in Paris.

During 2015 five coal fired power stations were closed down, however 3 of the 5 remaining power stations were new plants that had only come on line in 2015. These new power stations were built by Germany's E.ON and RWE, and France's Engie at a cost of 5.5 billion euros. These are now looking to be stranded assets.

The Netherlands had a 5 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions during 2015 and coal fired power has been blamed for this increase in emissions.

According to Reuters:

Dutch carbon dioxide emissions were 2 percent higher in 2015 than in 1990, mostly due to the increase in coal-powered generation.

Overall greenhouse gas emissions were 12 percent lower in 2015 than in 1990, as use of methane, nitrous oxide and fluorine containing gases have all been sharply reduced.

The vote ocurred in the Dutch parliament on the night of 22 September 2016. Both Liberal and Labour parties say they will now push for speedy implementation of the motion. The Labour party is part of the centre right coalition government but backed the opposition parties for this motion.

The Dutch government has been under pressure from citizens to step up climate action. In the Urgenda case, some 900 citizens took their government to court and won arguing for the Dutch government to have climate policies in place that were in keeping with the best climate science advice with emission reduction targets of 25 percent by 2020.

The Dutch coalition Government had initiated an appeal of the judgement, while preparing a climate package for early November. It now seems that appeal may not be necessary.

Voters in the Netherlands will head to the polls in March 2016. There are fears Geert Wilders’ far-right, populist and anti-immigrant Freedom Party may make major electoral inroads, and attempt to wind back renewable energy and climate policies.

Above average heat has continued during September in the Netherlands. The month is forecast to end at 17.2°C average, which while normal for July and August, will be the 3rd warmest September on record, according to a tweet by Kees van der Leun.

Read more at the Guardian: Dutch parliament votes to close down country's coal industry

Here is how Kees van der Leun saw the parliamentary vote: