Dutch goals for the climate agreement: rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, binding agreement, everyone joins in

Minister for the Environment Sharon Dijksma will represent the Netherlands at the so-called Pre-COP, the final preparations for the UN Climate Summit COP 21, to be held from 30 November up to and including 11 December in Paris, France. The Kingdom of the Netherlands is aiming for a broad-based, legally binding climate agreement featuring a proper balance between rapid reduction of emissions and adaptation to the consequences of climate change. The long-term goal is reducing global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees centigrade, working up to a climate-neutral world.

Taking responsibility

Ms Dijksma: ‘The days of non-commitment are over. The climate is the responsibility of us all. This is why the new agreement must be binding on each and every country. Both the developed countries and the developing countries take responsibility and contribute according to their ability. Furthermore, we are joining forces with companies, regions, cities and civil society. This will strengthen us in our pursuit of a climate-neutral world.’

Contemporary substantiation

In Paris, the Kingdom will be part of the European Union delegation, within which the EU member states and the European Commission will jointly negotiate. The EU contribution is a reduction of greenhouse gases by a minimum of 40% in 2030 and by 80% to 95% in 2050. In the second half of this century, the world must be both climate-neutral and climate-proof. The strict separation between developed and developing countries no longer corresponds to the worldwide reality; arriving at an ambitious agreement requires a more contemporary substantiation of the differences between countries. Even if all the countries are contributing according to their ability, they will need to be able to hold one another to account with respect to progress and responsibilities. The Kingdom advocates a climate agreement that will help the poorest of the poor bear the impact of climate change and that will take account of the particularly precarious situation of small, developing island states.

Progress

In the run-up to the UN Climate Summit, more than 150 countries have already submitted their contributions to the reduction of greenhouse gases, in the form of an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). These countries together are responsible for some 90% of all emissions in the world. This represents a major achievement vis-à-vis the agreements set down in the Kyoto Protocol, comprising only 37 countries that together account for approximately 12% of global emissions. Nonetheless, this is not sufficient to attain the 2 degree target. That is why the Netherlands and the EU keep urging countries that have not yet submitted an INDC to do so before December. Although Paris does not constitute the final destination, the summit is important for making great strides towards the ultimate goal. A cycle in which parties evaluate their contribution and efforts every five years must render the new climate agreement dynamic and transparent, and ensure a growing ambition among all the countries involved.