National speech by Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands at the opening of the UN Climate Change Conference COP25, Madrid
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me start by thanking the President of this conference, Ms Carolina Schmidt, and our host, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, for ensuring that COP25 could go ahead.
When the call came, you heeded the motto ‘Time for Action’.
Thank you for making this possible.
Ladies and gentlemen,
About one-third of my country lies below sea level.
So the people of the Netherlands are very much aware that the time for action is now.
At national level, we’ve agreed to drastically cut our emissions.
And I’m looking forward to the new European Commission’s Green Deal.
Not to mention the EU’s plans to reduce emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 and be climate neutral by 2050.
It’s time to get down to business.
These ambitious goals pose an enormous challenge.
Especially in a small, densely populated country like mine, where we have all kinds of ambitions.
But where we’re reaching the limits of what the climate, nature and the environment can handle.
If we’re to make this transition together, everyone needs to get on board.
And make their own contribution.
So in the Netherlands we’ve taken a multi-stakeholder approach.
We’ve signed a National Climate Agreement with over 150 partners from all areas.
From trade unions and NGOs to major corporations and the financial sector.
As part of this we’ve agreed to phase out all coal-fired power plants, to impose a carbon tax on industry and to step up our efforts in offshore wind power.
We’ve asked independent experts to calculate the impact and monitor our progress.
Because to gain and maintain broad support we need to ensure that everything we do is feasible and affordable.
Of course, this isn’t an easy process.
But it’s essential if we’re to make sure that the climate transition is just and widely supported.
And that applies internationally too.
To tackle this enormous challenge we need to help each other.
Not only financially, but also by sharing expertise and best practices.
So today I want to make a concrete proposition.
As well as our financial contributions, the Netherlands is more than willing to share its knowledge and experience with you.
That includes details of our consensus model involving scientific scrutiny, which could be useful to other countries.
Because we’re very aware that although climate action begins at home, we’re all in this together.