Speech by Minister for the Environment Sharon Dijksma at ‘Smart solutions to combat climate change’ seminar, 23 May 2017

'Climate policy creates jobs. That’s vital. Because we must offer new prospects to people whose jobs are at stake.'

•    Good afternoon. Thank you for that great introduction.

•    I don’t know about you, but the words Cuckoo’s Nest make me think of Jack Nicholson.
•    It was Nicholson’s breakthrough role. His portrayal of disruptive behaviour was superb. His character refused to accept the situation he found himself in.

•    And isn’t that exactly what you entrepreneurs do? You refuse to accept the status quo. You create new solutions that push the boundaries. ‘Disruptive’ technologies that aim to change the world. That’s how I see it.
•    You might not win any Oscars, but you’ll help us all win the battle against climate change!
•    So it’s great to be here today.

•    This morning I’ve met with many people in Silicon Valley. I’ve had a tour of Facebook. And spoken to Apple’s Lisa Jackson.
•    I’m inspired by the ‘can do’ spirit and the drive to use new technologies in combating climate change.

•    It reminds me of the hope we all felt when 195 countries concluded the Paris Agreement in late 2015.
•    An historic agreement and a clear turning point.

•    Now Paris is being ‘brought home’. And it’s inspiring to see that California is continuing to chart its own course, despite strong headwinds.
•    Paris has led to a broad movement involving many partners.
•    Big companies are asking the governments here and in the Netherlands for a consistent climate policy. They accept their social responsibility. But they want clarity so they can make solid investment decisions.

•    In the Netherlands, climate change is no longer the preserve of the left. We’re currently in the process of forming a new coalition government. And both left and right are asking for a clear climate policy.

•    The most important thing is the growing evidence that climate-neutral business is a real-life possibility.

•    In the Netherlands, we like to see ourselves as the Silicon Valley of the circular economy. It’s not an idle boast!
•    We’re home to many up-and-coming businesses that are storming the market with new ideas. Many of them have joined me on this mission. You’ll meet them today!

- We have companies like CEYES, which reclaims raw materials from tyres.

- We have the best electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the world thanks to Allego.
- We have SolaRoad, that makes roads that produce energy.
- And we have the Groasis Waterboxx, for growing plants with 99 per cent less water.

•    These are all Dutch solutions to global issues.

•    For me, creating the best conditions for combating climate change is the number one priority.
•    By bringing people, companies and ideas together through missions like this one.

•    But also by setting clear ambitions at national level.
•    For instance, on creating a circular economy. By 2050, the Netherlands wants to have a completely circular, zero-waste economy. Our products will be designed so that we’ll never need any new raw materials.

•    We’re equally ambitious when it comes to green transportation. Once again, we’ve got our sights set on 2050.
•    We’re working with the entire transportation sector to reduce transport emissions to between 85 and 90 per cent of their 1990 levels.

•    We’ve already done a lot to address this issue:
-    As of this year, all our trains run on wind energy.
-    We have the most electric cars per capita after Norway.
-    And we’re continuing to experiment with self-driving vehicles. Like California, we’re world leaders in this sector.
•    Of course, the government must keep investing. We’re currently drawing up our new budget. And take it from me: I’m doing everything I can to ensure new investment.

•    Responsible investment, that creates jobs. And this brings me to my last point.

•    Climate policy creates jobs. In the Netherlands, according to McKinsey & Company, strong climate policy will create 45,000 new jobs.

•    In the US, there are 2.5 times as many jobs in the sustainable sector than in the fossil fuel industry.

•    That’s vital. Because we must offer new prospects to people whose jobs are at stake. The concerns of miners and oil rig workers are justified. Climate policy must have a social component.

•    And finally, we need to come up with new answers. Smart solutions that tap into new markets.
•    I’m excited about the many solutions the Netherlands has to offer.

•    It’s so important that our ideas and knowledge cross international borders. And that we make the most of all that California has to offer.

•    So let’s make that happen right here, in the Cuckoo’s Nest. Let Jack Nicholson be your inspiration.
•    Groundbreaking, disruptive behaviour could be your big break!
•    Thank you.