Government even further away from Urgenda climate targets – report

Photo: Torsade de Pointes via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Torsade de Pointes via Wikimedia Commons

The Dutch government is set to fall even further short of its target for cutting carbon emissions than previously thought, according to research commissioned in the wake of the Urgenda court hearing.

A report due to be published on Friday says that under current plans CO2 emissions will fall by around 21% of 1990 levels by the end of next year, against a target of 25%. The Volkskrant newspaper cited a leaked copy of the document by the environmental planning agency Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving.

The agency was asked to evaluate the cabinet’s plans in the wake of an appeal court judgment last year that ruled the state had a duty of care to its citizens to meet the targets. Fines and compensation rulings will be imposed if it fails to achieve them, although the government is appealing against the ruling.

Earlier in the week sources in The Hague told NOS that the government would have to reduce CO2 emissions by an extra 9 megatons, more than was previously thought.

The Volkskrant said efforts to speed up the conversion to green energy by building more wind farms have been offset by the economic recovery, which has led to more traffic on the roads and increased consumption.

Other measures being considered to cut emissions include closing coal-fired power stations sooner than planned and cutting the speed limit on motorways from 130 to 100 km/h. However, experts say even these plans will not be enough to achieve the 25% target.

The bureau is expected to say the government will miss two other landmark targets for 2020: the European goal of ensuring 14% of all energy consumed comes from renewable sources, and a total energy reduction of 100 petajoules, stipluated in the government’s 2013 energy agreement. The actual figure is expected to be between 80 and 90 petajoules (billion megajoules).

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