The parties’ climate plans, and what they deliver

November 26, 2021 by No Comments

On the scoreboard in the climate arena, the winning political parties are clear. The analysis by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) shows that GroenLinks’ election plans will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by no less than 63 percent by 2030. A second place is for D66, which comes out at 60 percent.

It is also clear who the last one is. Execution of the CDA election program ensures that the CO2emissions – the cause of climate change – decrease by 46 percent. The ChristenUnie, SP and PvdA are in between with a reduction of 52, 53 and 55 percent. The figures are clear, but – emphasizes the PBL itself – be careful with the conclusions.

First of all, only six parties had their proposals calculated. This not only concerns climate policy, but also housing, mobility and nature and agriculture. The VVD did not participate because the party says it wants to implement the Climate Agreement reached last year. And that agreement, which should ensure a reduction of 49 percent, has already been calculated by the PBL and the VVD does not want to come to these elections with a lot of extra national climate policy. The largest opposition party, PVV, also did not submit any plans. Not surprising, because instead of climate problem, leader Geert Wilders usually speaks of “climate fairytale”.

Leakage effect

Not only the limited participation puts the position of the CDA in a different light. According to the PBL, the measures that progressive parties have in store could lead to polluting companies investing less or even partially or completely moving abroad. And that relocation ensures that the goals achieved in the Netherlands across the border are still nullified. And that can be a serious ‘leakage’. Until 2030, for example, GroenLinks wants to reduce CO . emissions2 by 65 million tons (megatons), but a leakage of 19 megatons through foreign chimneys would have a much smaller final effect. D66 and SP see 11 megatons leaking away and the PvdA 8.

These are substantial amounts, which can easily play a role during formation discussions. Is the policy effective enough? But how certain is that leakage effect? Not so sure, says the PBL itself. After all, it is impossible to calculate exactly at what extra costs a company will relocate activities. In addition, leaving will become less attractive if other countries in Europe also introduce stricter policies. This summer, the European Commission will launch its Green Deal, which will reduce the European Union’s emissions by 55 percent by 2030. According to the PBL, this policy can provide ‘tailwind’ for national ambitions.

However strong the carbon leakage effects are, the parties with the highest ambitions provide the most CO . with their plans anyway2-reduction. And the Planning Bureau came with another clear conclusion: all six parties want to invest extra in improving the living environment, on top of the existing plans. This extra policy will cost between 5 (CDA, SP) and 9 billion euros (GroenLinks, D66) annually. But the PBL itself came up with a perspective, because after 2030 the climate policy will not end. By 2050, the European Union wants to be climate neutral, without emissions. “To achieve that, the annual reduction at the CDA must increase a little after 2030,” said PBL director Hans Mommaas on Monday. “At ChristenUnie and SP, the pace can be slowed down a bit and at D66, GroenLinks and PvdA even considerably lower.”