Speech by Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the opening of the Climate Action Summit, New York

Ladies and gentlemen,

‘We are gathered together to address the defining challenge of our age. (…) Climate change is happening.

The impact is real.

The time to act is now.’

These are not my words, but those of former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Back in 2007.

To me it shows that the time for words and political promises is over.

We need ambitious climate goals, and solid measures for achieving them.

In the Netherlands we’re raising the bar.

We’re going to reduce domestic emissions by 49 per cent by 2030 and 95 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990.

And at EU level we’re even setting our sights on climate neutrality by 2050.

To reach our goals we have a set of measures that are both specific and broad.

They include phasing out all coal-fired power plants by 2030, imposing a targeted carbon levy on industry, and stepping up our efforts in offshore wind power.

We’ve laid down these measures and more in a National Climate Agreement.

An agreement we fleshed out with over 150 partners from all areas, ranging from trade unions and NGOs to major corporations and the financial sector.

In keeping with the deep-rooted Dutch tradition of securing broad support from across society.

We asked independent experts whether we’ll be able to achieve our goals in this way, and whether the financial burden will be shared fairly between businesses and citizens.

They gave us the green light to go ahead.

This shows that it is possible to set ambitious and widely supported climate goals at national level.

But climate doesn’t stop at borders.

So in Europe the Netherlands is calling for climate neutrality by 2050.

And I support Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen in her plans to raise the EU’s reduction target for 2030, possibly to 55 per cent.

Worldwide, the Netherlands is spending over one billion euros on climate programmes, half of which consists of publicly mobilized private capital.

And with the NDC Partnership we provide support to developing countries to help them implement more ambitious climate policies.

We also work with our financial sector to improve its climate impact.

As a nation that’s been fighting against water for many centuries, we’re looking forward to hosting the Climate Adaptation Summit in 2020.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Netherlands is working in all kinds of ways to ensure an ambitious climate policy – nationally and internationally.

Sharing experiences is an essential part of this.

And we are keen to contribute to this exchange, based on our experiences with our National Climate Agreement.

Because we are very aware that although climate action begins at home, we’re all in this together.

Thank you.