State Secretary Mansveld strengthens ties with California

Next week, State Secretary Wilma Mansveld (Infrastructure & the Environment) will make a working visit to California. The aim of the visit is to strengthen ties with the American state, and to encourage the sharing of knowledge on sustainability, electric mobility, and recycling. “California is a pioneer in its approach to climate problems and environmental awareness. There is a lot we can learn. I want to link sustainability, the economy and innovation to one another to make the Netherlands the European leader in sustainability,” according to the State Secretary.

Electric mobility

Ms Mansveld will visit Tesla Motors in Fremont. Tesla develops and manufactures electrically powered cars and has a European distribution centre in Tilburg. It has also chosen to set up its European headquarters in Amsterdam. Moreover, the Netherland is the first country in Europe to which Tesla vehicles have been delivered. “Tesla’s branches provide 150 jobs in the Netherlands. A green economy is a driver of jobs,” says Ms Mansveld.

The State Secretary will be speaking with the governor of California, Jerry Brown, about electric mobility, among other things. In the US, California is the leader in this field – on in four electric cars sold in the US drive  on Californian roads. At the end of September, there were over 13,000 electric cars driving in the Netherlands. The expectation is that this number will be 20,000 by the end of the year. The aim of the Netherlands is to reach  200,000 electric cars in 2020.

In Sacramento, together with Matt Rodriguez, California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection, Ms Mansveld will open a workshop on cooperation between California and the Netherlands in the field of electric mobility.

Sustainability

In San Francisco, Ms Mansveld will visit the waste recycling company Recology. A great deal of waste is recycled in both San Francisco and the Netherlands. The goal of the Netherlands is the optimum use of raw materials, the sustainable use of natural resources, and to improve the separation and recycling of remaining waste.   

During her visit to Sacramento, State Secretary Mansveld will speak about California’s emissions trading system (cap and trade) aimed at reducing CO2 emissions, with Mary Nichols who chairs the  California Air Resources Board. While in Sacramento, Ms Mansveld will also visit a sustainable housing project. The need for building and renovating in an energy-neutral manner is increasing due to climate change. The European Commission wants all new builds to be virtually energy neutral by the end of 2020. Finally, the State Secretary will travel by train and bicycle to the University of California, Davis (UC Davis). A campus has been built there which will ultimately be energy neutral. UC Davis is working closely with Wageningen University.

During the working visit, the State Secretary will be accompanied by representatives of Dutch companies and knowledge institutions, including Dick Benschop, President Director of Shell, Wiebe Draijer, Chair of the Social & Economic Council, Kees Slingerland, Climate Director of Wageningen University, and Manon Janssen, CEO  of Ecofys and head of the Energy Top Sector.   

Warsaw Climate Summit

The visit by the State Secretary is leading up to next month’s Warsaw Climate Summit where steps will be taken towards arriving at global agreements in 2015. Within the European Union, the Netherlands supports a minimum reduction of CO2 emissions of 40 percent in 2030.