Netherlands Netherlands

By improving 10 spots from last year’s CCPI, the Netherlands rises to 19th and has been continuously increasing its CCPI rank. Nevertheless, the country still rates as a medium performer.

The Netherlands this year improves its rating in Renewable Energy from low to medium. It marks no change in the other categories: a low in GHG Emissions, medium in Energy Use, and high in Climate Policy.

In the National Climate Policy indicator, the country rates as medium. Since 2021, a minimum price for CO2 emissions, which rises until 2030, has been in place for the EU ETS sectors (energy-intensive industry, refineries and waste incinerators). The CCPI experts welcome this instrument because it sends a strong price signal for 2030, when the minimum will reach €125 per ton CO2. However, the experts note the pace of overall emissions reduction needs to more than double, compared with recent reductions, to meet the national targets. Additionally, use of coal for electricity production will be banned by 2030, according to a 2019 law. By then, the government plans to reach 75% renewable energy.

The experts note strong policies implemented for stimulating solar and offshore wind, but electricity grid limitations hamper development of large-scale solar photovoltaic fields. Furthermore, the experts recognise that new buildings may no longer use natural gas for heating. Additionally, communities should draw up plans on how the future of low-carbon heating systems will look. The Netherlands plans to stop heating 1.5 million (out of 7 million) homes with natural gas by 2030. The experts doubt, however, that this goal can be achieved with the current policies in place.

After a landmark Dutch Supreme Court ruling in 2019 that mandated emission reductions by 2020, further climate litigation took place. This time, an environmental NGO sued the Royal Dutch Shell Corporation for violating, among other things, its duty of care under Dutch law. In May 2021, the Hague District Court imposed a GHG emissions reduction of 45% (compared with 2019) by 2030, including own emissions and end-use emissions (best-efforts obligation).

The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI: Dr. Robert Koelemeijer (Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency), Sible Schöne (HIER)

Technical note: how to read the target comparison graph

The graph above shows the development of a country over the past years compared with its Paris compatible pathway and 2030 target. For all three quantitative categories of the CCPI, this visualisation gives an overview of where a country is right now, where it would need to be to fulfil the Paris Agreement promises and where it aims to be in 2030.

For GHG emissions per capita, the data includes LULUCF, as used for the emissions per capita indicator. This leads to the vast changes in emissions of some countries with high forest coverage.
The calculation of individual country target pathways is based on the common but differentiated convergence approach (CDC). It is based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” laid forth in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. All Annex I countries therefore have a decreasing pathway from 1990 onwards, starting at that year’s emissions. 60 years later, in 2050, these countries are expected to reach net zero emissions. All other countries, which did not reach the level of global average emissions in 1990, are allowed to increase emissions until the average is reached. But by latest 2015 these countries, too, have decreasing pathways and 60 years to reach net zero. These pathways start from the global average.

The Renewable Energy data is given in per cent of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and includes hydro energy, consistent with the respective CCPI indicator. As global distribution of Renewables (especially solar and wind) only started in the 2000s, the pathways in this category start in 2010. All countries have an equal goal: 100% Renewables in 2050, each starting from its 2010 value.

For Energy Use the Primary Energy Supply per capita is shown. All pathways for this category start at country’s 1990 values and meet at global average of 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.
For 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, a decrease in emissions by reducing the (growth in) energy use is as crucial as deploying renewable (or other low-carbon) technologies. The IPCC carried out a scenario comparison using a large number of integrated assessment models. From the scenarios available, we observe that the total amount of global energy use in 2050 has to be roughly the same level or a bit higher than it is today, with a margin of uncertainty. At the same time population will grow slightly between today and 2050. We therefore pragmatically chose the well-below-2° compatible benchmark to be “same energy use per capita in 2050 as the current global average”, which is 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.