Dutch Party for the Animals submits a Climate Crisis Law
At the end of October, the Dutch Party for the Animals submitted a “Climate Law 1.5” proposal. With this new and stricter Climate Law, the party wants to force the government to actually treat the climate crisis as a crisis, and to pursue climate policies that focus on limiting global warming to 1.5°C at most. “This is the most direct translation of the Paris Agreement“, says Lammert van Raan, Member of Parliament of the Dutch Party for the Animals and initiator of the law. “The Netherlands has to accelerate and do much more than is happening with the current climate policies. We are dealing with a crisis that needs a true crisis response”, adds party leader Esther Ouwehand.
“Our house is on fire”, as Greta Thunberg phrased it. And governments worldwide should do everything in their power to extinguish that fire. That is why the Dutch Party for the Animals wants to make sure the government is legally obliged to tackle the climate crisis in the necessary way. Like most other countries, the Netherlands is not yet on track to meet the climate goals agreed upon in the Paris Agreement.
Party leader Esther Ouwehand of the Dutch Party for the Animals: “We will break open the current law and lay down that the Netherlands has to commit to a maximum effort to prevent further global warming as soon as possible. That will no longer be a non-binding statement, as it is in the current Climate Law, but a legally binding requirement.” “This bill lays down by law that the government has to do as much as possible as fast as possible to temper temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius at the very most,“ explains Lammert van Raan, MP and initiator of the law.
Carbon neutral in 2030
The Climate Law 1.5 states that the Netherlands has to be carbon neutral in 2030. “That is ambitious, but reachable. When the need is high, we are capable of many things. And the need is high. The climate crisis is not something of the far future, we are right in the middle of it”, says Ouwehand. “Furthermore, reducing our emissions now is a lot cheaper than further procrastinating and delaying it. Scientists have calculated that a 2-degree temperature rise will cost 25,000 billion euros more than a 1.5-degree temperature rise. And that was a conservative estimate.”
Ouwehand stresses that honest climate policies will yield more than a mere financial profit. “Young people are greatly worried about their future with the current speed of the transition. We still have the chance to leave them a better world. A world with clean air, clean water, more nature, sustainable agriculture, more houses, and lower energy bills. But in order to achieve that, we have to choose for a radical shift now.” The party fights for this radical shift, both in the House of Representatives as well as on the streets, together with its sister parties from around the world, like last week during the massive climate protests in Amsterdam, Glasgow, and elsewhere in Europe.
A crisis committee and emission limits - for everybody
Amongst other things, the Climate Law 1.5 arranges for a monthly progress report and an independent scientific climate committee. The United Kingdom, Denmark and Finland already have such an advisory committee for the government. An emission budget will also be set, limiting the total amount of greenhouse gasses that the Netherlands will be allowed to emit in order to meet the 1.5 °C target. No sectors will be exempt. Ouwehand: “The current climate policies exempt aviation, international shipping, and biomass power plants. Those exemptions will be scrapped. Just like the math tricks that cause woody biomass to be marked, erroneously, as sustainable energy.”
State of emergency for the climate
Now that the negotiations of the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow have also resulted in insufficient and non-binding agreements, the importance of legal obligations on a national level has only increased. Last week, Greta Thunberg and other young climate activists from around the world called upon the United Nations to declare a state of emergency worldwide for the climate - at “Level 3”, the highest possible level, which was also used by the UN to declare a state of emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dutch Party for the Animals also calls upon the government to follow the example of various countries, cities, and the European Parliament to declare a state of emergency for the climate. To make clear that they officially recognise the extreme urgency of the climate crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that many countries are capable of taking the necessary measures to extinguish the fire of a crisis as quickly as possible. The same is necessary for the climate crisis, states the party. With their Climate Law 1.5, they hope to not only spur their own government into action, but also to inspire other countries to make sure their governments are required by law to do all that is possible and necessary as soon as possible.