To achieve the GHG objectives, everyone has to do their part but the government has a guiding and exemplary role. Its decarbonizing attempt must not lead to adverse effects elsewhere, but rather contribute to a more sustainable world as a whole. In Renewable energy at what price?, I explained that base metals mining needed for the Global North energy transition leads to ecological destruction in the Global South, destroying the habitat of the local population, often without compensation. The Dutch government should acknowledge this and act accordingly .
Estimates by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency suggest that GHGs will be cut by only 38 to 48 % within 2030, much lower than the EU’s Fit for 55. The Dutch Council of State – the highest advisory body of the government and House of Representatives – concluded that Dutch climate policy is “not enough to meet the climate targets”, even though “the nature and extent of the climate crisis require immediate action” .
The coalition of the new Rutte IV cabinet has made the climate crisis fight a top priority. By earmarking € 35 billion over the next ten years and appointing a special Minister of Climate and Energy, Dutch climate policy should align itself with the EU’s directive of achieving a 55 % GHG reduction compared to 1990 by 2030. In addition, an independent scientific council will be established to evaluate and advise on the required new climate policy .
The Rutte IV coalition, however, has not specifically explained how it will tackle the climate crisis effects and especially the upcoming sea-level rise, which will hit hard on the Dutch coasts. It remains unclear how Dutch water engineers and managers are preparing for the outlined sea-level rise scenarios, as current policies are still too often focused on the short term. Both in the short and long term, the Netherlands must counteract the climate crisis not only to abide by European directives but to protect their coasts, their land, people and future.