Dutch environmental policy visionary and adequate

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, calls Dutch environmental policy visionary and adequate, as it says in the Environmental Performance Review 2003 – 2015, which the OECD has conducted in the Netherlands. Minister for the Environment Sharon Dijksma was handed the review in Paris today by OECD Environment Director, Simon Upton, at the OECD. Mr Upton pointed out that the environmental rules and regulations, among other things, are well in order in the Netherlands, as is their enforcement. The policy pursued by the Netherlands is based on independent research, something many other OECD countries can learn from, according to Mr Upton. In addition, the Netherlands is one of the best performing OECD countries in the field of waste management, attaining ambitious goals at relatively low costs.

Ms Dijksma: ‘This OECD report is a nice boost for us, so close to the start of the Paris climate summit. OECD is holding a mirror up to our faces, not only showing us what we are currently doing right, but also what is open to improvement: for example, with respect to the quality of our water, soil, and air. There is work to be done there.´

The OECD points out the very fossil fuel-intensive energy mix in the Netherlands and the looming pressures from traffic congestion and intensive farming. Even though the share of renewable energy was 4,2% in 2013 it is likely, according to the OECD, that the Netherlands will fall short of the goals it has set out in the 2013 Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth. In 2014 the share of renewable energy has grown to 5,6% and the Netherlands intends to use 14% renewable energy by 2020 and 16% by 2023.  

The Minister will take the results of the review along to the UN climate summit that will commence next week. The Netherlands is aiming for a broad-based, legally binding climate agreement, with a proper balance between rapid emission reduction and adaptation to the consequences of climate change. The long-term goal is to limit global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius, with a view to making the world climate-neutral, a goal that can only be attained if people, companies, and governments work together in a proper and committed manner, taking their responsibility.

OECD member states, and other countries that so wish, undergo an environmental impact assessment once every ten years. This is the third time the Netherlands has been reviewed. In addition to compliments, the report also comprises recommendations and critical issues, such as the appeal to develop a long-term environmental policy, similar to, for example, the water policy that has been embedded in the Delta Programme. The government will act on this recommendation in the National Environmental Vision ensuing from the new Environment Act.