Keynote speech by Stientje van Veldhoven, Minister for the Environment at the conference Setting the scene for Climate Action in Mobility and Transport
“Government leaders have to be clear and will have to lead with predictable and sustained policy for many years. We have to set a clearly range of ambitions and objectives!” - Stientje van Veldhoven, Minister for the Environment at the conference ‘Setting the scene for Climate Action in Mobility and Transport’, Dutch Consulate, 12 September 2018.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to the Dutch Consulate, and to this Climate Action Summit affiliate event on sustainable transport.
Although thousands of miles and a big ocean divide California and my country, we share a strong commitment to a common challenge: to tackle the causes and effects of climate change. We’re also both forced to deal with the reality of climate change and the rising sea level: with its impact on our everyday lives, on the way we transport our products – and on how we ourselves travel from A to B.
I’m proud that we’re working together with California as one of the founding members of the Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance, which allows us to share valuable lessons with all our partners. We’ve been working together closely within this Alliance for five years now.
And I’m excited that the Alliance is open to further growth, involving innovative states across the globe. Together, we’ll make seamless, sustainable, cross-border travel possible. With open protocols, smart cars and charging systems. And in doing so, we’re breaking down barriers.
I’m also hoping that California will join the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance in which we work with local authorities and businesses worldwide to cut carbon emissions.
Together, we can create markets for low- or zero-emission transport! This includes building a sustainable energy system, so we can charge our vehicles in a way that’s easy, efficient and smart.
The transport sector accounts for 30 per cent of global carbon emissions. It’s up to us to work together to bring down that figure.
Fortunately, California and the Netherlands also share a similar pioneering and innovative spirit. And this is crucial in accelerating the decarbonisation of our economies.
It’s a major challenge, because according to long-term studies mobility worldwide is only set to grow in the next few decades. Especially in emerging economies and fast-growing cities. For the freight-transport alone we are talking about a growth of 400% till 2050!
We all need transport to go to work and back home, to harvest crops and to go the store for groceries and other goods. If we’re to achieve our the targets in the fields of energy, climate and air pollution, we need to act now and step up our efforts.
It’s up to us to move towards a clean, smart, safe and socially just global society.
It’s up to us to support people who want to change our fossil fuel-dominated society, and who can set the wheels in motion.
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 are out of date.
I’d like to mention three key elements of the Dutch approach.
First: strong regulation governing vehicles and fuels. For international modes of transport, that means regulation drawn up at international level. By IMO and ICAO for shipping and aviation. And the EU, UNECE and ITF for road transport.
Second: besides regulation, we need innovation. Innovative ideas that enable zero-emission solutions also rely on active leadership from business to successfully come to market.
A third element is working together. Because it really works! In the Netherlands national, regional and local authorities and businesses have committed themselves to national zero-emissions agreements. So we’re investing in better and cleaner public transport. And in cycling.
As you might know, cycling is in our DNA. Our country has more bicycles than people. You could call us the ‘European champions’ of cycling. We stimulate the use of bikes by investing in better and safer cycle paths.
And by encouraging companies to offer their employees financial benefits if they commute by bike instead of by car. We’re also promoting the use of e-bikes so that people can commute longer distances by bike.
Of course bicycles are only one form of zero-emission transport. We’re also taking action aimed at other forms, through incentives, strong public-private cooperation and ambitious targets at national, European and international level.
For example. From 2025 buses and urban logistics in the Netherlands will be zero-emission. And all new cars on Dutch roads will be zero-emission from 2030.
Improving vehicle-charging infrastructure is also at the heart of what we’re doing. I’m proud that we have lots of innovative startups, like NewMotion and EVBox, that are working to make this possible. It’s proof that we’re powering ahead with the transition towards more sustainable energy and transport systems.
Another great example of innovation is a special project in the city of Utrecht, where e-vehicles are charged using locally produced solar energy. It’s an initiative run by the people, for the people. What’s the secret? Just do it and dare to make mistakes!
The Netherlands has one of the most extensive vehicle-charging infrastructure systems in the world. With one public or community-access charging station for every four electric vehicles. And we’re not just limiting the system to cars. We also provide electric charging infrastructure for canal boats in Amsterdam.
The electrification of all modes of transport is key if we’re to meet the goals that we set ourselves in Paris. Battery solutions where possible and hydrogen fuel-cell solutions for more heavy-duty applications.
The Netherlands will have a national network of 20 hydrogen stations by 2020 which can be used by buses, garbage trucks and passenger vehicles. We expect this will lead to more hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles on the market from 2020 onwards.
We’ll also need to modify and invest in our energy systems.
Successful electrification of transport depends crucially on energy storage. In the north of the Netherlands, transport and energy companies are currently working on new hydrogen-based storage solutions for electricity from renewable sources.
Another example of the Dutch approach is the Green Deal on Zero-Emission City Distribution. It involves local authorities working with retail and transport stakeholders to make all transport within city limits zero-emission by 2025.
Earlier this year I signed a new zero-emission agreement. Under this deal, we will work with local authorities and business partners to ensure that transport to school for our children and transport to care homes and hospitals for vulnerable and elderly people are also zero-emission by 2030!
All these initiatives will make it easier and easier for Dutch people to opt for zero-emission mobility.
We’re making headway at national level. And we’re looking for support and cooperation at European and international level.
What’s more, we believe international cooperation enables us to learn and grow our markets faster. By keeping an open mind, we can find green and smart solutions together.
Of course these new solutions and technologies aren’t cheap compared to low-cost fossil fuel options. So we have to invest before we can reap the benefits. And it’s essential that we scale up our efforts and create more market demand for the zero-emission technologies. So that the numbers go up and the prices come down. So that zero-emission solutions become affordable for a wider public.
To conclude. It gives me great pleasure to kick off today’s event here at the consulate. I really look forward to hearing your ideas on how to accelerate our efforts, and what energy options and new vehicles we can expect to see in our cities and on our roads in the years to come. In other words: ‘let’s set the scene for climate action in mobility and transport’.