The new Cabinet must make greater investments in sustainability and green energy, ninety professors wrote in an open letter that was published on Monday. This will require an outlay of some €200 billion in the next few decades.

The list of ninety professors is headed by Jan Rotmans, a Professor of Transitions and Transition Management, who has advocated a green economy for some time now. He was the founder of the Urgenda organisation, which got a Dutch court of law to rule two years ago that the Dutch State must undertake greater action to drastically reduce CO2 emissions.

Lagging far behind

The Netherlands is still lagging far behind in the field of sustainable energy, the scientists warn today in an open letter to the Cabinet that is currently being formed. In their letter the researchers make twelve recommendations designed to bring about a change.

First and foremost, they request the appointment of a Minister for Energy and Climate, whom they want to be tasked with the so-called “energy transition”. The Minister’s first task would be to introduce a climate act that explicitly lays down the country’s objectives with regard to climate change.

Toll charge

The researchers feel that the point of departure must be that “the polluter must pay”. They suggest that a Swedish-style CO2 tax be introduced. The revenue from this could be used to grant people on low incomes a rebate. Furthermore, the scientists recommend the introduction of a toll charge to further reduce the level of CO2 emissions and the closure of the country’s five remaining coal-fired plants within the next three years.

Education plays a vital part in this “greening”. The scientists recommend giving the subject of sustainability a prominent place in the curriculum, so as to prepare children and adolescents for a sustainable world. They suggest that the vocational education institutions stimulate innovation by creating “regional campuses” where adolescents and company owners can conduct research on subjects such as adaptation to climate change and circular economy.

The scientists admit that the changes will place great demands on the public, the business community and the government. “But we will gain much from them too: jobs, innovations and new economic prospects.”