NL may come close to 2030 climate goal “if all goes to plan”

An offshore wind farm. Photo:

The Netherlands may be on course to limit greenhouse gas emissions in line with official targets after all, according to new calculations by government planners.

Dutch and European-wide measures would, for the first time, add up to a realistic prognosis for reaching the goal of reducing emissions by 55% by 2030, the environmental assessment agency PBL says in its annual climate and energy report.

The sole proviso is that “all goes to plan”, including factors beyond the government’s control such as the weather and electricity imports, the PBL said. As things currently stand, the reduction will be between 46% and 57%.

“It’s about getting the plans off the page and putting them into practice,” PBL researcher Jaco Stremler told broadcaster NOS.

Making homes and public buildings more sustainable combined with the use of biofuels in petrol and the legal obligation to install hybrid heat pumps from 2026, will be the main contributing factors, Stremler said.

The emission total for 2022 is already 31% down on 1990, when less gas was used by households due to high prices, and a mild winter depressed its use in industry and greenhouses.

Plans to reduce emissions in agriculture, included in the provinces’ environmental programmes which have not been included in the calculations, could reduce emissions by another four megatonnes, the PBL said.

However, the weather could prove to be a fly in the ointment, Stremler said. “We can’t influence the amount of sun or wind and that could make a difference of a few megatonnes.”

The upcoming elections and a long formation could also be a problem if parties start to tamper with climate measures, he said.

In addition, the already stretched national grid is hampering the switch to sustainable electricity. “That is a real bottleneck”, Stremler said. “It would be great if we can make it to 55% by 2030 but even then we still have a long way to go.”

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