The Role of Natural Gas in the Dutch Energy Transition:
Towards low-carbon electricity supply
The issue of climate change and its consequences is increasingly acknowledged on a global level and the idea of moving towards a low-carbon economy is increasingly becoming conventional wisdom. However, the actual implementation of emission reduction measures is a complicated process that is subject to many uncertainties and conflicting political and economic interests. Meanwhile, global CO2 emissions further increased in 2008. According to the IPCC, without serious measures, CO2 emissions will increase by 60% in the coming 25 years, which could lead to a global temperature rise of 2-4°C.
A significant and structural reduction of CO2 emissions will require a fundamental shift from the current fossil fuel-based energy supply towards a sustainable and efficient energy system. This shift is also referred to as “energy transition”.
The policy of the Dutch government regarding this transition is largely driven by cascading political processes around climate change. The issue of climate change has been addressed on different political levels in previous years. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted and it entered into force in February 2005. This Protocol sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European Union for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the period to 2020.
In December 2009, a climate conference was held in Copenhagen to discuss and agree on objectives and mechanisms beyond Kyoto. Besides intentions and national ambitions, this conference did not result in a new climate treaty with binding targets on CO2 reduction. This will have to wait until at least the next summit that is planned for December 2010 in Mexico City.
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