Read on
Agriculture in the Netherlands can meet the national 2030 climate targets, but this will require a tough package of climate measures. The government would also need to control and implement these more effectively than it is currently doing. This is shown in the report 'Policy scenarios for climate mitigation in agriculture and land use' by Wageningen University & Research.
Editorial office / Wageningen

The Netherlands is now a major greenhouse gas contributor, due to its large livestock sector and emissions from drained peat soils. In addition, the Netherlands has relatively few forests with which to offset emissions. Therefore, a combination of measures is needed to achieve the Dutch climate target: 55% less greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 compared to 1990. These include:

  • technical measures for farmers;
  • reduction of the livestock population;
  • increasing ditch water levels in peat lands;
  • planting more forests.

Four policy scenarios were calculated that would help realise the climate challenge. These show that achieving the climate goals is only feasible if the government succeeds in implementing an effective policy with a high degree of implementation, possibly supplemented by additional steering by industry and other societal actors. The researchers note that “For many of the measures, no clear steering has yet been organised that will ensure their actual implementation.”

No climate neutrality

A climate-neutral agriculture and forestry sector in 2035, as the EU previously proposed, is not feasible for the Netherlands in any of the scenarios. This could only be made possible with far-reaching measures for agriculture and land use, such as a drastic reduction of (cattle) livestock, more planting of forests and new technical measures that reduce methane emissions.

Moreover, the reduction of livestock through buy-out schemes will lead to a significant drop in agricultural production and will cost the Netherlands an estimated €5.4-8.5 billion a year due to the loss of net value added, on top of the cost of buy-outs. This will not be outweighed by the benefits due to avoided environmental damage: €1.6 billion to €2.8 billion per year.

See Wageningen University & Research’s website for more information. The full report is written in Dutch.

Image: Clara Bastian/Shutterstock