Making a case for a sustainable and effective carbon dioxide removal policy in the Netherlands

Publish date: June 1, 2021

Over the past few months, Bellona Europa has been working closely with Dutch NGO Natuur & Milieu, Amsterdam-based Waste-to-Energy operator AEB and a wide range of stakeholders to foster a dialogue on carbon dioxide removal (CDR) in the Netherlands. Together, we have sent a letter to Dutch MPs in the Committee for Economic Affairs and Climate and the Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate, calling for a sustainable and effective CDR policy. 

The future of Dutch industry and climate policy will be on the table as negotiations over a new government coalition following the elections on 17 March take shape. Political parties have to align with how to tackle the Netherlands’ transition to a net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) society in 2050. The new EU objective to reduce carbon emissions by 55% rather than 40% in 2030 only increases the need to consider all possible pathways to meet this monumental challenge. In addition to more ambitious emissions reduction, we believe that countries should add carbon removal to the climate action toolbox,

As Bellona, we see an essential role for CDR to compensate for any remaining emissions in 2050 and lower the concentration of carbon accumulated in the atmosphere over time to levels needed to keep global warming at 1.5°C. The actual extent of CDR required to balance out will depend on how much we manage to reduce emissions in the next three decades. This means that while avoiding and reducing GHG emissions is the priority, this should not prevent the introduction of CDR as an addition. But this can only be successful if we differentiate between CO2 reduction and CO2 removal in our net-zero GHG policy, with different targets, definitions and boundary conditions for carbon accounting.

We have to launch this debate today to create a framework of policies to realise CDR solutions at scale. The Netherlands is particularly well-placed to take a leading role by identifying synergies with efforts to develop a European-wide CO2 transport and storage infrastructure. There is a window of opportunity to stake out a more proactive position. We call on the Dutch political establishment to start working on implementing the six steps outlined below:

1) Acknowledge the need for CDR to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

2) Introduce a target for removals additional and separate from the target for reductions.  

3) Set up clear definitions and boundary conditions for carbon accounting.

4) Start a public discussion on how best to include CDR in the Dutch climate policy.

5) Advocate at the EU level for the realisation of a distinct CDR policy.

6) Create the right market conditions and unlock the jobs potential for CDR. 

Read the letter:

Open letter to MPs on the need for a CDR policy in the Netherlands (Translated EN)

Pleidooi voor een duurzaam en doeltreffend beleid inzake CO2-verwijdering_Kamercommissie voor EZK (Original NL)

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