The Netherlands set to achieve climate goals without outside help

The Netherlands is set to achieve the climate goals set by the EU for 2020. As a result, it is no longer necessary to purchase ‘carbon credits’ from abroad. The present government’s policies put the country on track to meet all its climate targets by 2020.

This news was announced in a letter to the House of Representatives on the climate by State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment Joop Atsma.

The Europe-wide target is to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 20% (under 1990 levels) by 2020. An Emissions Trading Scheme is in place for a number of economic sectors, known as ETS sectors. Companies in these sectors are only permitted to emit a certain amount of greenhouse gases. As this cap is progressively lowered between now and 2020 and beyond, the target will be met here automatically.

With regard to greenhouse gas emissions from other sources, the Netherlands distinguishes five non-ETS sectors, each of which has been assigned targets. Individual ministries will be responsible for ensuring that these targets are met. The State Secretary and his colleagues have agreed that any deficits will, in principle, be recompensed by the ministries themselves. Thanks to the government’s environmental policy, the emissions norm will be met years ahead of the 2020 deadline.

These projections are based on a continuation of current policy. The effect of raising the speed limit has not yet been factored in to these calculations. On the other hand, the positive effects of the Sustainable Energy Incentive Scheme (SDE+) and the Green Deal are not yet fully known either. Yet according to recent calculations by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, it can be concluded that the goals will be achieved regardless of these factors.

Over the past 15 years environmental policy has led to a drop in emissions in non-ETS sectors in the Netherlands. This drop was most significant in greenhouse gases other than CO2 . CO2 emissions are also expected to fall over the coming 10 years. This striking departure from the prevailing trend is due to a first-time decrease in emissions in the transport sector.


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