Dutch Court Upholds 25% Emissions Cut in 5 years Climate Change Ruling

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Dutch court of appeals has upheld a 2015 ruling which demanded that the government cut CO2 emissions by 25% in five years.

Dutch appeals court upholds landmark climate change ruling

Netherlands ordered to increase emissions cuts in historic ruling that puts ‘all world governments on notice’

A court in The Hague has upheld a historic legal order on the Dutch government to accelerate carbon emissions cuts, a day after the world’s climate scientists warned that time was running out to avoid dangerous warming.

Appeal court judges ruled that the severity and scope of the climate crisis demanded greenhouse gas reductions of at least 25% by 2020 – measured against 1990 levels – higher than the 17% drop planned by Mark Rutte’s liberal administration.

The Dutch government has not decided whether to appeal the court’s decision yet, but opposition politicians are steeling themselves for the prospect.

Stientje Van Veldhoven, an MP and spokesperson for the D66 Liberal opposition in parliament noted that the government had yielded to a comparable, if more limited, ruling ending gas extraction in part of the giant Groningen gas fields earlier this year.

“The government has never ignored a court ruling like this one before, but there has never been a ruling like this before either,” she said. “Everybody has a right to appeal.” Veldhoven has requested a parliamentary debate on Wednesday’s court ruling.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/09/dutch-appeals-court-upholds-landmark-climate-change-ruling

There is a way the Dutch could fulfil its court obligations without breaking the bank – import electricity from China.

Back in 2016 the head of China’s national electricity grid outlined a plan to use ultra-high voltage DC cables to export Chinese coal powered electricity all the way to Germany – so exporting to the Netherlands, next door to Germany, doesn’t seem much of a stretch beyond China’s existing plans.

China looks to export surplus energy to Germany

Selling power to central Asia and beyond falls into Beijing’s ‘one belt, one road’ ambitions

China’s proposed investments in long-distance, ultra-high voltage (UHV) power transmission lines will pave the way for power exports as far as Germany, the head of the national power grid said on Tuesday as he launched an initiative for cross-border power connections.

Liu Zhenya, chairman of State Grid, told reporters that wind and thermal power produced in Xinjiang could reach Germany at half the current cost of electricity there. “There are so many resources, but no market. We need to find it externally.

Read more: https://www.ft.com/content/68cdef50-f66a-11e5-803c-d27c7117d132

Although sending Chinese coal power thousands of miles to Europe would be ruinously inefficient in technical terms (potentially up to half the electricity would be lost in transmission), the electricity which made it all the way to Holland would still be cheaper than green electricity.

Sending Chinese electricity to Holland would provide Holland with affordable electricity, without China or Holland breaching their international climate commitments.

Under the terms of their Paris Agreement commitments China receives a free pass to generate as much coal power as they want until at least 2030 – so exporting electricity to Holland would not violate China’s Paris commitments.

By importing Paris Agreement sanctioned Chinese coal generated electricity, Holland would get to reduce their domestic CO2 emissions in compliance with the court order, at the cost of helping China to construct four and a half thousand miles of ultra high voltage DC transmission lines; expensive, but far less than the cost of trying to reliably generate 25% of their energy from renewables.

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72 thoughts on “Dutch Court Upholds 25% Emissions Cut in 5 years Climate Change Ruling

  1. Luckily the Dutch Government can just ignore such rulings. And often does.

    Other good news is that we are clearly reaching peak-insanity.

    At least I hope so …

  2. There is another way of meeting these requirements, simply do not generate the power in the first place. This of course means having to sit in the cold and dark from time to time. Westerners have lost their minds over this nonsense, only exposure to the full consequences of what they are advocating can bring a return to sanity.

    • Also possibly not powering their pumping stations, causing significant portions of their country to be flooded.

      This kind of legislative action by the courts is going to be the end of Western Civilization. It is essentially a hostile take over of our democratic system.

      • True, Jeff in Calgary. So I suggest the Dutch begin to implement this ruling by turning off the lights in the Courts first. This will enable all those idiotic judges to actually make a contribution as opposed to allowing ht peasants to make the first contribution. Lights in the Courts should only go on again when the country is underwater or the last Dutch person has left the joint.

    • First on the list of buildings to have their power cut should be the court that made this ridiculous ruling and the homes of those idiotic judges.

    • Outlawing internal combustion engines would probably go a long ways. Rolling blackouts should take care of the rest.

  3. Here is an interesting story from the factcheckers (LOL) from the far-left newsrag the Volkskrant (Volkische Beobachter, ahum, People’s Paper). A true ‘quality newspaper’ in the tradition of the New York Times.

    I was to lazy to translate it myself, I think the Google Translate result already tells the story.

    Please note: NL has 17.6 million people and this nonsense is a) not even possible in 5 years and b) will cost many billions of euro’s. And it is on TOP of the already planned insane measures, which will also not have any effect, will not work (can not work) and will be extremely costly.

    Oh and we are soooo green that 80% (!) of the electricity price are taxes. This is oddly enough not a great incentive for people to try to switch to electricity more.
    Well at least for normal people, companies do not pay such a surcharge… makes sense? Nope.

    And NL has one of the biggest natural gas fields in the world, but has recently decided to stop pumping gas as it seems that it is too complicated to simply compensate people who live near the extraction point and who get damage to their homes. And after that move them out of course. Or do what was planned and fill the empty spaces during extraction.

    It is really complex being a grown up.

    ——————-

    Dutch climate policy saves only 0.0003 degrees of warming – is this correct?
    Messages often spread at lightning speed, whether they are correct or not. We try in the regularly appearing section Is this correct? to separate the sense of nonsense. Today: Dutch climate policy only saves 0.0003 degrees of warming.

    Maarten Keulemans 18 October 2017, 11:30

    https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/nederlands-klimaatbeleid-scheelt-maar-0-0003-graden-opwarming-klopt-dit-wel-~b7f17a69/?utm_campaign=shared%20content

    Is it right?
    Crok himself indicates that he is basing himself on the appeal in the Urgenda case, the environmental club that enforced stricter climate targets in court. In the judgment, from April 2016, there is a strange remark: ‘A model calculation shows that the extra reduction as ordered by the court would result in 0.000045 ° C less average global warming to 2100.’

    The state wanted to prove that a little more CO2 emissions really can not do any harm, explains climate policy advisor Leo Meyer, who advised the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment in the Urgenda process. “That 0.000045 degrees is correct in itself. It was a state of defense against Urgenda’s argument that Dutch future generations would be at risk if there were no more reduction in the Netherlands. You can not really make that ‘danger’ hard; I think the state is right in that. ”

    Crok calculated on that. Urgenda wanted 8 percent extra reduction; the new cabinet wants 49 percent fewer greenhouse gases in the year 2030. ‘If you do 0.000045 degrees Celsius times six, you reach those 0.0003 degrees’, says Crok.

    Strictly speaking, these figures may be correct, Meyer admits. ‘Our country also contributes only 0.35 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.’ But what do you have of that knowledge: ‘It is of course not about combating danger specifically for the Netherlands, but about taking responsibility for a problem that we share with the whole world.’ If everyone were to reason like Crok, nothing would happen, he thinks.

    • Instead we will simply go on and continue to finance China producing more CO2 and move our production to China. Including the production on electricity, LMAO.

      Completely insane.

    • This is a typical turn to the argument. We start with, lets reduce emissions to stop warming. But its pointed out that our reductions will not affect warming.

      We then move to the argument, if everyone did as we are doing, that would affect warming.

      From which it does not follow that we should do it. The argument is now, to be cogent, going to have to be that our example will motivate everyone to reduce, so that if we do it, it will actually reduce warming by indirectly reducing their emissions.

      The difficulty with this argument is that there is no sign anyone anywhere is looking at Holland or England or the US as a model for how to conduct energy policy. On the contrary, they are looking to grow as fast as possible, which means rising emissions, and are simply refusing any attempts to make them take on quantitative reduction targets.

      • Even worse, to meet their goals, the Netherlands are considering having China produce more electricity (using coal?) and transporting it to the Netherlands (at 50% efficiency). This will actually increase global warming (if CO2 is the control knob). But I guess they argue that it must be done to lead the way, and motivate China and India to reduce their emissions.

  4. They could slaughter half the Dutch dairy herd, and three quarters of their sheep flocks. Plus take all cars off the road that cannot get down to less than 5 litres per 100 km. The Dutch are already well used to using bicycles. This should be sufficient to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 25%.

    This way they could still keep their coal fired power stations going and keep warm, and provide sufficient electricity for industry.

    • We might be a tiny country, but even so a typical distance traveled from home to work is about 30 minutes by car (without traffic jams), doing that by bike is, well … Not that many of such routes can really be traveled by bike, as the secondary road system is not so great. Say two hours? Pedalling really fast, no rests?
      Bikes are nice within the cities or for nearby countryside, not for longer distances than 20 miles or so.

      Despite being one of the most densely populated countries in the world, the NL still sports 85% green (including lands for agriculture)…

      • Commuting 30 minutes to work? That sounds downright American, and hardly enlightened or green at all. Don’t they know they should be living in dense urban housing within short walking distance of their workplace?

  5. Worth bearing in mind that the Netherlands is part of the EU, therefore the rulings of its national Court of Appeals are of little more than a rubber stamp!

  6. It’s a meaningless ruling with no penalties.
    The Dutch Government need to ignore it and build half a dozen brand new top the line coal fired power stations and remove all the subsidies from “Renewables”.
    It would also be wise to put through regulations that force Wind Farms to restore the land back to original condition in the event of decommissioned wind generators, because apparently failed Wind Energy companies are just leaving broken down generators for taxpayers to remove or allowing them to collapse into the sea.

    • I don’t believe there is much in the way of coal left in Belgium France or Holland. You need to go east to Poland, Germany and the Czech republic to find economically extractable coal

      Gas is the local energy source.

      Nuclear would be good too. Plenty of cooling water in Holland!

      • The next generation of nuclear power reactors (molten salt) are air cooled
        and can produce power cheaper than any other technology – Moltex Energy’s reactor – less than 4 cents per kWhr levelized costs. Reactors will be built in factories and sites require minimal preparation and, in fact, can be located anywhere- in cities, towns, etc. Anyone who thinks of future energy sources and isn’t enthusiastic about molten salt reactors is just plain out of it.

  7. Time the Dutch dumped the Paris Agreement. Time the UK dumped the Climate Change Act. Governments are not required to continue the stupidity of their predecessors.

  8. Some lower court is not going to dictate policy for the entire Country, overruling Parliament, Senate and the King.
    Not as long as the Royal Family is a major stockholder in Royal Dutch Shell. It just has to be bumped up to the Raad van Staate (Royal Court), where it will be crushed ‘for the good of the realm’.

    • Yeah, related but fairly far removed.
      He is (or was) my x times removed great uncle. Not entirely sure, I think he was an uncle to Boris Titulaer (of Idols fame) and that is a (great?)grandson of a nephew (or cousin) of my grandfather. Big family, in that part of Limburg. Blerick and around. My grandfather came from there.

      • Thx. Yes. I think he passed on. Not sure where he stood on AGW. I doubt he would agree with you. Btw. I am also Dutch. Originally. If you click on my name you can read my opinion on AGW.

  9. One way to get to #MAGA is for the rest of the West to cut their own throats.
    Putin understands that.

    Seems like this Dutch court is on “Team Trump” and MAGA.
    They just don’t know it.

  10. …sending Chinese coal power thousands of miles to Europe would be ruinously inefficient in technical terms (potentially up to half the electricity would be lost in transmission)…

    The reference given for this does not support the claim. The maximum loss rate mentioned is 6.6%.

    I strongly suspect that long-distance electricity transmission is inefficient, but I have seen no definitive data on the subject. What data I have seen suggests that the losses are insignificant, but the y are usually made by renewable energy enthusiasts….

    • The great circle (straight line) distance between Urumqi China and eastern Netherlands is 5770 km.
      (That great circle goes straight though Moscow BTW. But hey, let’s go with that.)
      The resistive loss at 50Hz over a big Aluminum, high diameter wire is: 3.34%/1000km.
      3.34% x 5770 km = 19.3% resistive loss on a straight-line big aluminum wire high voltage line. Call it ~20% for easy estimation.
      The Netherlands would pay for power sent, not power received.

      Netherland’s electricity consumption in 2017 was 107 billion kWh, of which 9.6% was wind power.

      Bottomline: If Netherlands could get 1/2 (way unlikely) its electricity from China, it would still lose more in the resistive transmission loss than all their wind turbine power produced.

      The real loss would be vastly higher since Russia would not allow such a direct high voltage transmission line from western China to Western Europe.

      If Netherlands imported half

      • Long distance transmission would be DC, it is more efficient and avoids the need to synchronise the grids.

        It is a stupid idea, but not quite as stupid as you suggest.

  11. Here’s an idea wouldn’t make a big difference but how about switching off the heating and air-con in all court buildings?
    They could go further and withdraw the Judges cars, I’m sure they would be happy to make small sacrifices for the environment.

  12. Here’s a one from Holland, about canal-boats and via Auntie Beeb. And even she baulks at the cost.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45783085

    £220,000 to convert one boat from diesel to electric, 10 hours to do a re-charge that lasts 2 days and even before many boats have converted, they have worked out a rota as for who can charge their boats where & when. viz: already admitted to a shortage of electricity.
    Claiming a pay-back of 12 years because the ‘electricity is cheaper than diesel’

    A real puzzle. I thought the Dutch were big consumers of animal fat (dairy and pig) and hence not so physically & mentally deranged as carbohydrate consumers. What went wrong?
    Too much gin, strong continental beer and cannabis? Maybe, or, are there too many rats in the cage?
    Started eating each other.

    • Epic. Also from Auntie Beeb but in the UK this time. For the Really Important Bit where the Really Important People live. (The South East – home of the hypocrite)
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-45799384
      Building a new road crossing for the River Thames.

      Seems like they are Really Intent on getting rid of motor cars (and the tax revenue they generate) don’t it just……

      As per in Holland, judge by the actions, not the words. Follow the money.

  13. This is an appalling precedent, that potentially puts other countries at risk.

    As the Guardian states, there was recently a similar case in New Zealand, but it was declined by the High Court essentially on the basis of the doctrine of separation of powers – ie the Court sensibly held that climate change targets were a matter for the elected legislature (and executive government) rather than justiciable issues. It was a worry that the Judge was in full sympathy with the plaintiff and would probably have interfered if he thought he could get away with it.

    Is an English version of the Netherlands judgment available? Has Marcel Crok had anything to say?

  14. The UK has a legal duty to reduce its emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.

    And no plans to do it. Not even any studies showing how it could be done.

    The political establishment seems to have voted the Climate Change Act of 2008 through without any intention of doing anything after the vote.

    To do it would require the abolition of cars, ICE vehicles in general, and moving everyone but the agricultural workforce into dense energy efficient new housing in urban areas. It would require closing down much of industry, and most of consumer goods production purchase and distribution. People would walk or bike to work, or take electric buses. The suburbs would go. TraveIt would be absolutely huge. Think 1880, but with computers.

    As to what the workforce would work at? Heaven knows. Many more would be working the land because the days of oil based farming would be over.

    Unlike the recent IPCC report, the UK establishment has always refused to say what it would take to comply with the law.

    At least in the price of carbon proposals in the latest IPCC report we can see that what is being advocated is rises in the price of energy sufficiently high to close down the auto industry, indeed most of industry as we know it today, and to put an end to air conditioning and home heating.

    The IPCC’s proposals would basically price all fossil fuel use out of the market. And because they are based on raising carbon emission costs, moving to electric cars will not be a solution, because the electricity itself will have to be zero emission, so wind or solar, very small quantities available, and at very high prices. And the costs of it infecting all consumer goods, so you’d have electric cars costing several times what they do today, being in very short supply, and costing a fortune to charge. If you think what this would do to all prices, including food, the mind boggles.

    At the moment in the UK there are people who don’t turn on the heating because of cost, don’t boil a kettle to fill a hot water bottle because of cost of electricity. Think what this would be like when electricity costs are several times what they are today, and those costs have cascaded through every good or service in the entire economy.

    And doing this globally – if you look at the numbers, the only way to get there is for global de-industrialization to be substantially implemented by 2030, and completed by 2050.

    But at least they are finally coming clean on what is being proposed. That is a great step forward. They may not be eating their own dog food, but at least they have filled the dish with it so we can all see and smell it!

    • There is no real penalty for failing to meet the targets, the govt simply has to make a statement about why. I hope to be alive to see the resulting Green Zombie Apocalypse.

  15. Ther tl;dr of it is that despite the Netherlands has a separation between Church and State, this religious group called “Urgenda” has just managed to abuse the court system to impose their beliefs on state policy.

    And nobody has the gumption to make this religious group the example for the ruinous policies they desire imposed on the nation.

  16. Judges sitting on the chair of the scientist. If it were the other way around, they would be livid.

    The judges have to be careful and remember the fate of 17th century Johan de Witt, ‘landsadvocaat’, government attorney, who was blamed for bad things that happened and lynched for it. Wiki has an item on him. When the Dutch people realise they have been hoodwinked and gajoled by the ruling patrichians to lower their standard of living on false pretenses, it will not be pretty.

  17. So the Dutch judge(s) make a judgement that a “climate crisis” exists at the present time; this climate crisis has significant “severity and scope”; and therefore in their learned opinion, “greenhouse gas emissions” (meaning CO2 only) should be reduced by 25% by 2020, supposedly to offset the current “climate crisis”.

    All of these decisions are about issues of rigorous scientific debate, with significant arguments on both sides.

    What I see is a series of bare-faced political decisions masquerading as judicial impartiality and wisdom. Pity the EU with these sorts of people in positions of high office.

    • EU is not about wisdom but about Big Government/Brother power/control. Personal Freedom is a thing of the past in this dictatorial system.

      • Yes the EU Commission wants social networks to fight “fake news”, “or else”. They talk like a mafia now.

        I’d arrest members of the Commission on the spot. They should have their bank account blocked. Transferring funds to the EU should be punished exactly like funding a terror group.

  18. Holland is the second biggest food exporter after the US in gross tonnage. They will ignore this ruling.

  19. A technical question. While the basics of long distance transmission of electricity is to have as high a voltage as possible, volts up, amps down. It is usually done by using AC, i.e. alternating current. This has the advantage that at the various points the power can be transformed down to the working voltage of 240 volts AC.

    But that cannot be done with super high voltage DC, direct currant. So how are the end users of this high voltage electricity going to reduce it down to the 240 VAC. From low voltage DC to AC is easy, the windmills do it, but the high voltage and in large amounts , thats a bit difference.

    MJE

  20. As long as they don’t build more windfarms , the W.H.O have just released a report into the dangers of the noise generated to human health .

  21. Well, I do hear stories of making rules and judgements for show and then ignoring them is very European. But you get “accord.”

  22. https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/federal-proceedings

    In 2015, 21 young people filed a climate change claim against the U.S. government in the District Court of Oregon. In the case, also known as Youth v. Trump, the young Americans claim that for decades their government has actively contributed to causing climate change and that in doing so it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.
    In 2016 the Youth survived an attempt by the government and fossil fuel industry to have the case been thrown out of court at an early stage. In a landmark opinion and order (10 November 2016) the federal district court of Oregon held that “the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society”. The Trump administration has continued to use extraordinary measures to prevent the case from being heard, thus far unsuccessfully.

    Spill over from the USA.

  23. Doesnt the Dutch government have a NOTWITHSTANDING CLAUSE IN THEIR CONSTITUTION?

    In Canada any provincial or the federal government can simply invoke that clause to ignore any court order.

  24. I like when stupid social/economic experiments like this take place a long way away from me.

    One upside will likely be like Australia, where when a once first-world power grid and standard of living starts to collapse towards third-world status, it will finally doom Progressive government.

  25. So, its O.K. for the Netherlands to export their CO2 from coal power generation to China, so long as its not done in Netherlands? IF electrical power runs short, wonder who the court will order to furnish more??

    • That’s what California effectively is doing, and will have to do more of as time goes on to meet their green mandates.

  26. Gee, I wonder who would blink first. With Russia moving to provide most of the natural gas to the EU and China moving to provide the electricity the EU could soon be totally subjugated to the whims of both. Piss off either and it could be a very cold winter.

  27. Lets see . . . the Netherlands commits economic suicide by reducing CO2 emissions inside it’s boarders while possibly rewarding a communist regime and increasing global CO2 emissions at the same time. Am I missing something here? Wow!

    • That’s SOP for the True Believers. Ship the problem off to some one else so they can feel good about themselves but still having some else at whom they can scream and picket.

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