November 2008 saw introduction of the Climate Change Bill in England. In legal terms this kind of climate legislation is more powerful than current Dutch climate policy, as it obliges successive governments to draw up policy plans based on the recommendations of an independent organisation (in England the Committee on Climate Change). In this way greater political scope is created for implementing (sometimes unpopular) measures to address climate change. These are the conclusions of a recent CE study carried out for Milieudefensie, the Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth International.
In other countries, too, there are ‘positive’ examples of climate legislation to be found. In Germany, for example, the law on feed-in tariffs has given a major impulse to renewably generated electricity. In the Netherlands a feed-in subsidy is used that is paid for out of the national budget, without the ‘polluter pays’ principle being applied. In Germany, moreover, grid operators are obliged to buy renewable energy as a priority. Since introduction in 2000, the share of renewables in the German electricity mix has doubled.
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