The council wants a climate plan that also looks at health and quality of life

Photo: Afghan National Police

The Netherlands needs a climate plan that looks closely, in addition to the climate itself, at topics such as health, nature, quality of life and energy bills. The advice comes from the Science Climate Board (WKR), which began working at the beginning of this year to independently advise the government. The Council describes the coming years as “critical” for taking the necessary measures. According to experts, it would be wise for the government to “involve citizens in particular.”

As far as the Council is concerned, the government’s climate policy must start with an “attractive and shared vision for the future”. Climate should not be viewed as an isolated topic, but rather in combination with other areas that are important to people.

“A climate vision that also highlights these aspects enables the government to govern, act and invest for the long term,” WKR reports. He has previously recommended accelerating climate policy. According to the Council’s climate experts, the government must “take the lead” and ensure greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to almost zero by 2040.

The Council stresses that the Netherlands itself has a major interest in preventing climate change. Due to its location, the Netherlands is “very sensitive to the consequences of sea level rise, heavy rainfall and drought.” It is therefore important to make the country “climate resilient”. The economy will have to be significantly revamped. The Council calls for activities that are “not compatible with a climate-neutral and resilient future” to be transformed or, if this is not possible, phased out. This must be done “in a fair and efficient manner.”

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Climate justice, however, is very important to the Council. “It is important that everyone participates on the path towards a climate-neutral and climate-resilient Netherlands,” WKR wrote. “It must be fair, taking into account social security, broad participation and investments in people and businesses that currently struggle to participate.”

The Council also believes that the government and business community must do more to reward sustainable behavior and discourage unsustainable behaviour. “Making consumption patterns more sustainable is certainly not a task that lies with consumers alone, but also with businesses and government.”

Megan Vasquez

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