15 Sep These are the climate plans from the Millions Note
On Prinsjesdag the new Millions Note for the coming year was published. The government has big plans and wants to give all citizens a little extra, as cabinets often do in their last year of government. But what does the climate look like? We’ll put the plans together.
In the Throne Speech, King Willem-Alexander explicitly mentioned climate. Climate change is no less urgent because of the coronavirus, he said. And the proposed Growth Fund, announced last week, will help us become more sustainable. “The unique scale and duration of the National Growth Fund make it possible to transfer the Netherlands more prosperously, cleaner and more sustainably to today’s young people,” said de Koning.
Nevertheless, there is little explicit about the climate in the Millions Note, which shows where the Government will spend its money next year. The word sustainability only falls a few times, and proposed measures are not yet concrete, or already existed. The government is fully committed to the Growth Fund as a driver of sustainability in all sectors.
CO2 emissions must be reduced. Partly because of the Urgenda case, the Government was already forced to make additional investments to reduce emissions. Power generation from coal-fired power plants also had to be reduced as quickly as possible. The note also mentions the ambitions of the circular economy, which would contribute to a reduction in CO2 emissions. Finally, there is the subsidy for electric cars, which started this year.
In terms of new plans, the previously leaked CO2 tax for industry is in the paper. Electricity companies must also pay a minimum CO2 price. From the note: “The Government thinks it makes more sense to tax what we as a society do not want than on what we do want, and to price negative side effects. In this way, the Government encourages consumers and businesses to take more account of environmental pollution in their choices.”
No additional investments
Additional CO2 measures are needed to meet the Urgenda requirement. “Most of the cost of the additional measures will be covered by using the available space in the renewable energy budget reserve,” the note said. So there is no need for new investment.
Next year, the government expects to spend less on ‘climate resources’ than in 2020. Most of the money goes towards making energy supply more sustainable, in the broadest sense. For example, the SDE scheme is covered by this cost. A much smaller proportion is for making other things such as mobility and agriculture more sustainable. After 2021, energy supply spending will grow again (well above EUR 4 billion), but investment for other forms of climate friendliness will continue to decline.
Almost EUR 800 million will be ready to cope with the dire nitrogen dossier by 2021. Most of it goes to ‘source control’; this can be buying out farmers, or investing in measures that reduce nitrogen. The rest is for a nature package, which should strengthen nature in sensitive areas.
Aviation is one of the biggest polluters, and the Netherlands is an important hub in this sector with Schiphol. From 1 January, the cabinet wants to introduce a flying tax. How high it gets doesn’t tell the million-dollar note. About Lelystad Airport, which is due to open in November 2021, the note says nothing – by then there will also be another cabinet in power.
The cabinet refers several times in the Millions Note to the Growth Fund of 20 billion, which ministers Wiebes and Hoekstra presented last week. This fund must also provide solutions for the climate. Polluting sectors such as agriculture and industry must become more sustainable, innovative and therefore future-proof with the available fund. However, the innovations must come from the business community; the cabinet will not send with demands, with the other industrial tax. For the time being, agriculture will not have to pay a CO2 tax, even if it makes a significant contribution to the Dutch footprint.
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