On June 5th Dutch environment minister Jacqueline Cramer was presented with the final report of Green4sure, a plan to halve the Netherlands’ carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. This comprehensive and ambitious plan has been elaborated by CE Delft at the request of six of the country’s major trades unions and environmental NGOs. At the heart of the plan is introduction of a system of emission allowances for all energy consumers, either individually (industry, electrical power generation and aviation, to be brought under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme) or collectively (the built environment and transport). To promote acceptance of these ‘climate budgets’, the required efforts and thus the costs have been differentiated according to a three-tier system: a 40% reduction for sectors under the EU ETS, -60% for the built environment and -35% for transport. The allowances for all three systems would be auctioned rather than issued. This core policy would be backed up by a variety of flanking policies, including efficiency standards for vehicles, buildings (new and existing) and appliances.
Given the evident need for urgent action and the fact that climate budgets will take a number of years to implement, Green4sure includes an array of temporary policies. One of these is an interim Power Generation Act setting a cap of 375 g/kWh on the carbon emissions of new generating plant. How this is to be achieved is up to the generator.
The effects of the plan have been quantitatively assessed, and the targeted 50% reduction in carbon emissions can indeed be achieved, with an attendant 2.1% improvement in energy efficiency. In 2030 the overall costs will be over 4 billion euro, but these will be offset by major benefits totalling around 3 billion a year. There will be slight growth of employment. For the average household, the increase in costs will rise to around 600 euro over 25 years, but over the same period national income will have grown by 50%. ‘Frugal’ consumers and users will be better off under Green4sure, while their ‘wasteful’ counterparts will face higher costs.