The Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) is keen for municipalities to play a more active role in effective climate policy and commissioned CE Delft to underpin this ambition from three angles: potential reductions (what is attainable?), cost effective-ness (is it affordable?) and the role of local authorities. Five sectors were examined in this way: the built environment, business, transport, renewable energy and the munici-pal organisation itself.
The study shows that local authorities have an influence on a substantial fraction of national emissions: around 60 Mt CO2 of a total of 200 Mt. In several sectors they have direct powers to do so (own organisation, business), while in most other cases they can act mainly in a facilitating capacity (ensuring, for example, that agreement is reached with housing corporations on energy savings in the current housing stock). In addition, local authorities have a key role to play in innovative projects (new buildings) and as a ‘front desk’ for business and citizens.
The project also considered the issue of ‘adaptation’: preparing for the consequences of climate change. This is very much tied up with spatial planning and thus with the statutory responsibilities of local authorities. In this area a great deal still needs to be learned.
The results have been used in the formal Climate Agreement that VNG President Wim Deetman signed with Environment Minister Jacqueline Cramer on 17 November 2007. The report can be taken by Individual municipalities as a reference point for elaborating their own effective local climate policy.