Report: Dutch govt missing climate targets, must act faster

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The sun tries to break through the clouds over Central Station and the harbor in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch government must urgently take more action to rein in emissions of greenhouse gases, an independent advisory body said Thursday, warning that climate targets set by the government are currently “out of sight.”

The report by the Council of State on the government’s climate policies was published just days before the start of a U.N. climate summit in Glasgow that is seen by many scientists and activists as a final opportunity to make carbon-cutting commitments that could keep global warming within manageable limits.

The Council of State’s annual look on Dutch climate policy had a blunt message for the country’s caretaker government.

“The nature and scale of the climate crisis make immediate action necessary,” it said. “The climate crisis is not something for the future, but is already in full swing.”

A separate report analyzing Dutch climate legislation also said the government is set to miss its own target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 49% in 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The Climate and Energy Outlook 2021, drawn up by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, based its prediction on current policies to tackle emissions and others that have been proposed.

“Dutch greenhouse gas emissions are expected to decrease by between 38% and 48% in 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This means that the government’s emission reduction target of 49% by 2030 is not yet in view,” the outlook said.

The government said the predictions had not taken into account a 7 billion euro ($8.1 billion) investment in more measures to cut emissions that was announced last month. But it conceded that its 2030 target “most likely won’t be achieved” and said agreed that extra measures are necessary to meet its own and European Union emission-cutting targets.

The Dutch branch of Greenpeace blamed the country’s continuing use of coal-fired power stations, its large airports and the number of livestock on farms for the nation’s failure to meet emissions targets.

“We are totally unsurprised that the Cabinet is not hitting its own climate targets,” tweeted Greenpeace climate and energy expert Dewi Zloch. “Year after year, the climate policy doesn’t get a pass mark” in the Environmental Assessment Agency report.

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