This week, the contents of a climate agreement were revealed in the Netherlands, designed to take the country to Paris Accord standards and beyond. National Energy Commissioner Ruud Koornstra may end up in the history books as the spiritual father of this Dutch ‘Delta Plan for the Climate’. During the formation of the current Dutch cabinet, Koornstra turned into a motivated climate lobbyist who was instrumental in uniting all parties.
“No one can escape it. Every Dutch citizen will have to deal with the consequences of the Climate Agreement in the coming years, ‘said Ed Nijpels, chairman of the negotiations on the Climate Agreement, yesterday at the presentation of the plan. ‘The agreement must lead to the Netherlands achieving its climate targets in 2030, as stipulated in the Paris agreement. That means 49% less greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 and up to 95% less in 2050. ‘That can only be achieved if everyone participates.’
The Climate Agreement is one of the biggest economic reforms in Dutch history and there is a great consensus in politics and business to realize it. For example, the industry will replace large-scale gas with electricity, and capture CO₂ at factories and store it under the North Sea. In addition, the production of renewable energy will increase fivefold by 2030. This means hundreds of new windmills in the North Sea and hundreds of thousands of households that have to replace gas boilers by heat pumps or connections to heating networks.
For the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Eric Wiebes, the draft agreement proves that the polder model works in the Netherlands, as it shows a great ambition. ‘But we are not much more ambitious than other countries, we just started the game earlier. And those who start the game earlier have a greater chance of winning. ‘
Ruud Koornstra, as National Energy Commissioner, is on the front line of sustainable innovations. ‘We are faced with a huge task. We have learned from history that ‘disruptive’ innovation is of great importance to the success of our national mission. ‘
Every week the former sustainable entrepreneur blogs about innovations that can realize the Climate Agreement:
- ‘A farmer’s son has treated the slurry of cows in such a way that it can be spread over the land without harmful effects on the environment, eliminating the need for fertilisers. This means an annual reduction of 1 megatons (1 billion kilos) of CO2 at approximately 20,000 livestock farms.’
- It is now also possible to extract CO2 from the air and convert it into bricks. ‘
- ‘A small network operator has developed a regional plan to base a completely clean energy household on self-produced green gas from waste streams from the region by 2030.’
- ‘A Dutch invention for capturing hydrogen in powder form is a solution for the simple and affordable application of this energy storage medium.
- ‘A Dutch company has created a component for industrial electric motors, which can provide enormous energy savings for Dutch industry with a payback period of less than a year.
‘All these innovations appear at the climate tables,’ says Koornstra. ‘That is why I can’t name them yet: the process shouldn’t be disturbed. But despite the fact that the Climate Agreement is a huge challenge, I am positive. And especially about the fantastic innovations that the Netherlands produces. Embrace the innovative power! Realists are right, but optimists are successful. ‘
This post is also available in: Dutch