The Netherlands commits to historic climate change agreement

A new UN climate accord was approved in Paris today. The EU – including the Netherlands – approved the agreement. The accord is balanced and legally binding, with an ambitious goal: to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, with a clear target of 1.5 degrees Celsius. The agreement will take effect as of  2020.

A great service

Environment Minister Dijksma: ‘12 December 2015 is the day on which we wrote green history. This agreement is a landmark achievement. For the first time in history we have agreed a climate accord that is legally binding and applies to all countries. We have done our children and grandchildren a great service.’

Binding and ambitious

During the two-week Climate Change Conference, the Dutch delegation participated in the EU negotiation team. The commitment to a legally binding and ambitious accord with all nations bearing responsibility for combating global warming was for the most part included in the agreement. The long-term goal of achieving a climate-neutral society was linked to scientific knowledge. This does not affect the EU’s path towards achieving an 80 to 95 percent reduction in emissions in 2050. An important gain for the EU is the global five-year review system to increase ambition and differentiation between nations as to what their responsibilities are in terms of improving the climate and combating global warming. Moreover, the accord offers economic opportunities for Dutch industry and science to use their knowledge and expertise in the fields of, for example, water and agriculture in countries that have to cope with the effects of climate change. 

Firm foundations

The Paris Climate Change Conference had firm foundations given that 186 countries had submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC ) in the run-up to the summit. These 186 nations account for 96.5 percent of the world’s emissions, greatly different to the Kyoto Protocol agreed in 1997 which was signed by only 12 percent of the countries that contribute to global pollution. Robust funding will be needed to achieve the ambitious goals of the accord. It was agreed that from 2020 a minimum of 100 billion euros will be put towards implementing climate change measures in developing countries.