NL can become climate neutral, if all options are on the table


The Netherlands can become “climate neutral” by 2050 as long as all options are on the table and officials don’t shy away from controversial issues such as changing farming strategy, the Dutch environmental assessment agency PBL said on Wednesday. 

“It is a huge task,” PBL director Marko Hekkert told broadcaster NOS. “We only have 25 years left to get this done. Any further delay will make it either hugely expensive or impossible. So it is now mainly a matter of perseverance.”

In particular, more than half of the country’s energy needs will have to come from solar, wind and nuclear power sources, and biofuels and hydrogen-based power will have to replace fossil fuels in shipping, aviation and industry, the agency said

But if high-value biofuels and hydrogen power fail to deliver, the Netherlands can only become climate neutral through the mass storage of excess carbon dioxide, or a lifestyle that is less reliant on energy and raw materials, the agency said. 

“A climate-neutral Netherlands does not necessarily mean fossil-free, and in most calculations some fossil fuel would still be in use and the resulting emissions offset in the Netherlands itself,” the agency said.

For example, replacing fossil-based raw materials in plastics production will require high-quality recycling. “It is crucial to consider energy and raw materials as part of an integrated system,”the agency said.

The PBL’s calculations assume emissions will go down steadily between the legal target of a 55 % reduction in 2030 and climate neutrality in 2050. “But many additional policies will be needed for the period after 2040 to achieve the required scaling up,” the agency said. 

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