Address by Dutch Minister for the Environment Sharon Dijksma at the ZEV Alliance

‘We need dreamers, visionaries and investors to make the impossible possible’, said Dutch minister for the Environment Sharon Dijksma at a meeting with ZEV Alliance about zero-emission transport

Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to Amsterdam.
Together with the city of Utrecht, Amsterdam is an important trailblazer for smarter sustainable transport in the Netherlands.
And last year, it was crowned European Capital of Innovation.
So it’s a good place for us to meet!

I’d like to start with a quote from Elon Musk who, in my opinion, is one of today’s most inspiring innovators.
‘When something is important enough, you do it, even if the odds are not in your favour.’

Without pioneers like Musk, smarter, sustainable transport would still be a dream, and not fast becoming reality.
We need dreamers, visionaries and investors to make the impossible possible.

Next week I’ll be visiting California, where many innovative, inspiring companies like TESLA have their roots.
And where I’ll co-host an international conference organised in partnership with the State of California.

I took the initiative of organising this conference because I want to bring home the importance of working towards the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement
And the economic opportunities we can unlock by investing in climate innovation.
In other words, we need to walk the talk.

One of the main issues to be discussed at the conference will be sustainable transport.
As I just said, California is one of the world’s leading innovation hubs.
So I’m pleased we were able to sign up as two of the first parties to the Under2 MOU in 2013.

More than a hundred subnational governments around the world have joined the Under2 Coalition – pledging to cut their emissions to less than eighty to ninety-five percent of their 1990 levels by 2050.

Since signing, the Netherlands and California have been working together on many issues. Like introducing zero-emission transport technologies. This coalition connects, strengthens and expands our knowledge on sustainable transport.

One example is the excellent electric vehicle charging infrastructure we have in the Netherlands.
We have the highest number of charging point per capita in the world.
In Europe we have the second largest concentration of electric vehicles.

And our ambitions reach higher.
In 2020 we aim to have 200,000 electric vehicles on the road and for 10% of new sold vehicles to be electric.

In the Netherlands private and public parties have created an open and competitive market model.
We share this knowledge with our partners; in Europe, California and around the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The worldwide climate transition is being put into motion in all sectors and at all levels – national, regional and local.
This transition will continue and pick up pace.
It requires new, meaningful and fruitful cooperation between all parties: nations, regions, cities, knowledge institutions and society.
We owe this to future generations.
As former president Barack Obama once said:
‘We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it...’.

It’s up to us to move towards a clean, smart, safe and social global society. 
It’s up to us to support people who want to change our fossil fuel-dominated society, and who can do this.

It’s up to us to find opportunities for green growth that will allow us to get new business models up and running before the old ones expire.

it’s up to us to recognise the social impact this transition will have on people working in the fossil fuel industry.

The Paris Declaration on Electro-Mobility and Climate Change and Call to Action brings together individual and collective commitments to increase electric transport.
It builds on successful experiences worldwide.
And, of course, the converging interest in hybrid, electric and hydrogen solutions for all modes of transport.

This initiative is greatly needed.
Transport accounts for around 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. So we need to speed up our efforts.
Not tomorrow.
But today.

The good news is that we’re in the middle of the transition.
Just look at the figures.
At the beginning of this year, global zero-emission vehicle sales passed the 2 million mark.
All car manufacturers are investing in clean cars.
Some have pledged to produce hydrogen cars as well as battery electric vehicles.
Car makers, along with energy companies, have pledged a total investment of 10.7 billion dollars to research and development.

Other transport sectors are also adopting low-emission technologies wherever possible.
 Our national airline KLM operates flights using biokerosene.
And in the maritime sector, alternative fuels and technologies like bio-LNG are being used.

Thanks to innovation, we can choose from a growing range of low- and zero-emission fuels and technologies for all modes of transport.

The Netherlands mapped out this process with many partners in 2013. We formulated an overall vision and action plan for a sustainable fuel mix.
This national policy has been reinforced by European legislation.
We’re also sharing experiences with other countries, cities and businesses.
About how our approach allows us to accelerate towards sustainable transport.

Through initiatives on zero-emission city logistics and zero-emission buses, we’re also creating early markets for zero-emission transport technologies.

It’s clear that a combined approach of tough standards and providing the right support to innovators is key if we want to move forward.

Today you’ll hear more about what Dutch stakeholders and investors need in order to step in and step up when it comes to sustainable transport.
Like the EV-Box initiative to create a smart charging infrastructure in Utrecht.

It’s inspiring to see what we can achieve if we can find the right connections and work together!

Ladies and gentlemen,

I wish you a fruitful and inspiring few days.
We know the road ahead is bumpy with some sharp, dangerous bends.
But I hope you’ll all keep the words of Elon Musk in mind:
‘When something is important enough, you do it, even if the odds are not in your favour.’

Thank you.