The Netherlands should close down all 11 coal-fired power stations in a clear signal of commitment to combating climate change, 64 professors say in an open letter in Monday’s Trouw.
MPs are due tomorrow to debate the Dutch position at the forthcoming Paris climate change talks when world leaders will meet to discuss how to tackle global warming.
The professors say all the coal-fired power stations can be closed down by 2020 without any problem. This, they say, is the only way to reduce greenhouse gases substantially and that an end to the era of coal is ‘inevitable’.
Shutting the coal-fired power stations and using gas instead would show leadership, the professors, from Delft, Leiden, Wageningen and other universities say.
The Netherlands is one of the worst performers in Europe in terms of reducing greenhouse gases and improving energy efficiency, according to a report last month from the European Environmental Agency.
In addition, judges in The Hague in June ruled the Dutch government must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by 2020 compared with 1990 – in line with international agreements.
The court ruled the government has a duty of care and cannot hide behind claims that the Netherlands is a small part of a worldwide process. The Netherlands is on target to reduce emissions by just 17% by 2020.
A global accord on tackling climate change is crucial for the future of the Netherlands, the Dutch weather bureau KNMI said on Sunday.
‘If we do not reach agreement in Paris and the earth continues to warm up, then it will be code orange,’ director Gerard van der Steenhoven told broadcaster Nos. ‘The climate situation is really critical.’
Around 26% of the Netherlands is below sea level and 29% is open to river flooding, making it one of the countries most vulnerable to global warming.
However, global warming sceptic Marcel Crok told the Telegraaf the KNMI was making a political statement.
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