Milieudefense joins energy transition debate, proposes CO2 tax for all


Environmental campaign group Milieudefensie has become the third organisation to publish its plans for reducing the Netherlands’ reliance on gas by 2030.

The lobby group says that without concerted action, just 20% of homes in the Netherlands will be gas free by 2030. However, that can be boosted to 80% if the government implements a broad strategy and tackles the cost, the organisation says.

The government’s target is to ensure one in four Dutch homes no longer relies on gas by 2030 and that all homes should be gas free by 2050.

Milieudefensie’s proposals include introducing lower property taxes for housing which is properly insulated and gas-free, and bringing in local authority grants to help people on low incomes prepare their homes to turn off the gas taps.

Work should also begin now on developing a network of underground pipes to deliver excess heat produced by industry and geothermal heat to private homes.

To pay for the changes, everyone should have to pay a carbon-dioxide tax, Milieudefensie says. Money raised by the tax should be put into a special fund to help pay for the transition.

‘Housing corporations, banks, domestic appliance sellers, grid operators – everyone should work together,’ campaign leader Jorien de Lege said. ‘The Netherlands has to overcome its gas addiction.’

Lobby groups

Milieudefensie is now the third lobby group in the Netherlands to publish its plans to cut gas usage as the Groningen gas fields are wound down.

Earlier this month, the construction sector lobby group said no more new homes should be connected to the gas network from next year.

At the moment builders can still opt for gas which the association says is tempting because homes relying on heat pumps for energy are significantly more expensive to build. NVB Bouw advocates a ban on gas and a transition scheme for builders who already have projects in the pipeline.


And in March, a consortium of lobby groups, including plumbers, manufacturers, green groups and several energy firms proposed stopping the sale of traditional gas fired central heating by 2021.

Instead, home owners should be required to install heat pumps or hybrid systems when old central heating boilers need replacing, the organisations say.

That plan has been heavily criticised because of the cost of installing heat pumps, which are not suitable for older houses and take up a large amount of room.

Traditional boilers cost around €2,000 but electricity-powered heat pumps will set home owners back some €9,000. Hybrid boilers, with a small gas system for very cold days, cost around €6,000.

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